On Second Thought: Steelers at Washington*, Week 1

james-harrisonIvan Cole, bless his socks, totally bailed me out this week, because a number of circumstances conspired such that I finished watching the game at about 12:30 a.m. The catch is, that was 12:30 a.m., Salt Lake City time, and my body is still on Pittsburgh time. Which, according to my addled-but-still-mathematically-competent brain, translates to 2:30 Pittsburgh time. I’m not at all sure what you all would have gotten by way of a game recap had I been forced to write one myself at that point, but it probably would have looked something like this:

Studliness Index for Game 1:

  • Major Studs: Ben Roethlisberger
  • Major Studs who are way too old to be playing their position: DeAngelo Williams, James Harrison
  • Major Studs who reduced their studliness somewhat by twerking: Antonio Brown
  • Major Studs who need to get full body armor: Ryan Shazier
  • Major Studs who don’t get the credit they deserve: the offensive line

The End

And actually, some of you may wish shortly that you had quit reading when you reached “The End,” because I’m going to throw out a lot of self-indulgent random information which may not interest you in the least. I promise that beginning tomorrow the writing on this site will return to more a more analytical style, but as I write this (Tuesday morning) I am still, as I’m sure many of you are, giddy. You have been warned…

First off, you may be wondering why I am in Salt Lake. I am visiting my youngest son, Edmund, his gorgeous and precocious 2-year old Sophia, and his beautiful, sweet, and extremely pregnant (due in a few weeks) wife Cecilia. The first problem of watching the game was that Edmund doesn’t have cable and this isn’t Pittsburgh. In theory we could have gone to a sports bar to watch the game, but we had another engagement.

No problem, though, because I am the proud possessor of a subscription to NFL GamePass. So the plan was to come home, get Sophia to bed, and fire up GamePass, which we would project via Apple TV onto Edmund’s petite-screen television. (I don’t know how else to describe a wall-mounted flat-screen television which doesn’t swallow up an entire wall.)

But as Edmund pointed out, It is super annoying when all the technology which is meant to make our lives richer and easier and generally better actually makes our lives more frustrating and annoying. And so it was. First off, for whatever reason GamePass wouldn’t work when we tried to open it on his computer.

It worked, in the sense it would let me log in and showed the completed games, including the Steelers game, but not so much, in the sense of actually letting us watch said game. It kept putting up a message about how the broadcast was still in progress in our local marker and thus we could only hear the audio. Since the audio often makes you want to stab your ear with a fork, at least when it is by the national commentators, we decided to see whether alternative gadgets would work better. (We had already ascertained from Son No. 1 that the game had been over for almost a half hour.)

So we logged in on my iPad. I was once again able to log in, but clicking on the game produced precisely nothing. Not even any discouraging messages. I rebooted my faithful iPad and tried again, with the same result. Edmund said that perhaps I needed the NFL app, and after some messing about (a few “not available” messages from the iTunes Store and so on) I did indeed get the app and was able to log in. However, apparently the “no spoiler” function was not turned on, and it showed us all the scores.

At this point we were able to pull the game up in a satisfactory fashion. (Well, a satisfactory fashion, other than the point about already knowing the outcome.) GamePass even had a lovely button which, when clicked, would, in theory,  put the game on the TV. But to Edmund’s considerable annoyance, although scarcely to our surprise at this point, it didn’t work. So we watched the game on the iPad (not even the largest-sized iPad at that), propped up on Edmund’s knees.

One additional annoyance was that, to my considerable surprise and irritation, since it wasn’t this way last year, all the commercials were still very much present and accounted for. So  we would mess about with trying to move the pointer enough but not too much. It wasn’t easy to do, and generally involved several attempts, at which point we would still have to watch about half the commercials so as not to overshoot the beginning of the next series. And can someone please explain what is so special about a kickoff that it requires its own set of commercials, approximately 25 seconds after one has just watched a set of commercials, and not even necessarily different ones?

But watch we did, and I have to admit that the first quarter of the game or so was much more pleasant to watch than it would have been had we not known that the Steelers would eventually prevail in decisive fashion. There was some major discouraging play occurring for a while. But as we all know, the universe eventually righted itself, revealing Ben Roethlisberger and his Troop of Misfit Toys (and Antonio Brown) to be the juggernaut we all expected. What was revealed about the Washington team was that they were maybe smart not to give Kirk Cousins all the money he wanted at this point.

Of course, what I’m actually hoping is that what was revealed was not so much a deficiency in Cousins as an unsuspected awesomeness in the Steelers defense. However, the number of seriously low or somewhat off-target throws made by Cousins in the face of a mostly-three-man-rush makes me lean toward the “Cousins isn’t quite what he was cracked up to be” hypothesis. Of course, everyone has bad days as well. He looked better than a putatively healthy Ben Roethlisberger did in the December 2015 Ravens game. So there’s that.

A couple of final notes and I’m done. First is that you can thank Edmund and the giant storm system on Saturday for this win. The former is because he was the one who urged me to repair Stonn the Invincible, which I did just an hour or so last Saturday before I headed to the airport. Clearly Stonn has his mojo back. I’m sure it will be a vast relief to my niece to not have to destroy a piece of Steelers memobilia.

As for the storm system, I was sitting at my gate minding my own business and waiting to board when the ominous voice came over the monster, informing us that there was a storm system which began in Kentucky or so and came north at an angle all the way into Canada, and that we were going to be delayed. I had a look at my radar and indeed it was the mother of all storm systems. It wasn’t in any hurry, either, and since we weren’t going to take off for Chicago until after it passed through, it was clear I was going to miss my connecting flight. So Dr. Rollett fired up the Mini and drove out to get me. As a result of being home on Saturday night I was able to rectify a grevious omission in the effects I had packed—my black (formal) Terrible Towel. So you can thank us for this glorious win.

As noted, tomorrow we will return to more traditional programming, such as more in-depth analysis of the game, a preview of the next opponent, and looking at the rest of the AFC North and mocking the Browns. (Actually, I feel pretty sorry for the Browns at this point, as hamartia has already apparently overtaken them before they could get decently started.) Until then, enjoy the win!

*The Washington team shall remain nameless (at least by me) until its completely tone-deaf owner wakes up and realizes that he could rake in even more money from his already reeling fan base by changing the name, thus requiring everyone to purchase all-new gear. (The team can also make a ton more of money by selling off the old stuff anonymously on EBay to the sorts of people who think they might become collectible and valuable, or who are irritated by political correctness.) I have spoken.


  • When you log into gamepass after the game but before they have completely processed the ‘film’, you get the behavior you saw as they apparently try to get something online as soon as possible. Later on the edited version is available.

    While I think it is wise that Washington decided to kick the tires on the Cousins car for another year, I have a feeling that opposing offenses and defenses will feel a little inadequate, demoralized, even NCAA-like after playing the Steelers the year! (I hope.)


  • technology. can’t live with it, can’t live witho… hang on, how *did* people manage for so many years??


  • I certainly don’t know. I try to remember how I researched things back in the old days and my mind goes completely blank. Perhaps that’s just my age, though…


    • cold_old_steelers_fan

      We went through card catalog and stacks, like all the rest of the academics.


      • That’s the problem with today’s kids. They have no idea how to use the Dewey Decimal System. They don’t even know who Dewey was. Dumb millennials.


      • You’re right, that’s what I did. I even had my own complete Groves Dictionary of Music and Musicians (20 volumes, $1200 with contributor’s discount IIRC. Ironically, the contributor was not me but my scientist husband, who had written a small article about, of all things, old Spanish organs. He’s nothing if not versatile.) It took longer that way, though, and I’m not sure I could even hoist the volumes anymore. Each set probably destroyed a forest all on its own…


        • lol
          My parents would purchase the Encyclopedia Britannica every couple of years so we were up to date. Loved reading through those things.


  • I work in forestry. The young’ens don’t know how to read a map, or what one is for the most part. How can you navigate the woods if you have no cell signal. It’s hard being the old guy.


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