Photo via Steelers.com
By Ivan Cole
It’s Bonus Week! You get a dose of reality from Ivan to mitigate my (partially) fictitious JuJu adventures…
Some additional observations at the halfway point of the 2017 season
Are the Steelers particularly vulnerable to ‘Trap’ games? Let’s examine the underlying assumption here.
In thinking this, we are essentially declaring that certain opponents cannot possibly win a contest against Pittsburgh unless the Steelers screw up and underperform. It must be and can only be that the Steelers play down to the level of their opponent, rather than the opponent, though objectively weaker, is capable of elevating their efforts to be competitive with an otherwise superior group.
Tuesday was supposed to be my first day at training camp. In fact, I got about a mile from my house in the Mean Green Momma-mobile before I thought to myself, "Wait, aren't the players usually off on Tuesday?" I pulled over, checked the schedule, and the answer was yes, they were.
So yesterday I repacked my cooler bag with St. Vincent's-approved beverages (water, in this case), grabbed my binoculars and a hat and various other necessities, including, for once, a yellow pad and pen, and headed out again. I was rewarded with a beautiful day in Latrobe. It was just the way Mike Tomlin likes it—sunny and hot. Fortunately I got there early enough to snag a seat in the shade, but it was still plenty warm.
As I sat and waited for practice to begin, which it wouldn't for another 45 minutes or so, I observed my fellow thrill-seekers. On my left was a family who had driven up from Atlanta. They were at St. Vincent's primarily because their son, who looked to be eight or so, is a rabid Steelers fan. (He inherited this from his grandfather, a Pittsburgh ex-pat.) His mother said that on the Friday before the Super Bowl the kids at his school were encouraged to wear their jerseys. Apparently the teachers forgot to specify which kind, because the son proudly rocked his Antonio Brown jersey amidst the sea of red. Read more
by Ivan Cole
Usually, my writing is directed to Steeler Nation as a whole, but there is at least one way that the community can be partitioned. There are Pittsburgh fans, and then there are Steelers fans. The common denominator for these two groups is the allegiance and devotion to the Steelers.
Pittsburgh fans are most commonly natives, emigres and expats who are committed to the totality of the Pittsburgh sports culture. Beyond the football team, Steelers fans may be more eclectic, with loyalties that reflect the diversity of their backgrounds. It is a principle desire of a sports fan to realize a championship experience. Indeed, one of the key reasons for the existence of such a robust base of Steelers fans who are not tethered to geographic loyalty. This is based upon the past satisfaction of that desire, (Pittsburgh fans will stick with the team regardless of performance) and a reasonable expectation that it will be fulfilled again. Read more
I really ought to be breathlessly writing about OTAs and how JuJu S-S is playing in the slot (big surprise) and how Senquez Golson is playing in the slot on the other side of the ball (also not much of a surprise, unless you consider it to be a surprise he’s on the field at all.) Or any of a number of things which probably don’t mean very much at this point, because it’s football in shorts.
And while football in shorts is better than no football, there’s still a lot of sorting out to happen before we even find out who takes the field at St. Vincent’s. So instead I’m going to write about something else. Read more
Things are getting a bit tense in Antonio’s world. The six o’clock news had a short segment yesterday evening showing some clips from rehearsal and asking some questions.
One of the questions—does he take the judges’ criticisms personally—was answered in the negative, with AB indicating that as long as Sharna is happy with what he’s doing he doesn’t worry too much about the judges.
But it sounded a bit like whistling in the dark to me, because after all it is the judges who ultimately make the decision. Steeler Nation may be turning out in force and making sure there isn’t an early exit for the couple, but in the end it is a judges’ decision. And you just know that it has to stick in AB’s craw, because he is such a fierce competitor. Whether he has been focusing his legendary work ethic on the task at hand is a question, of course, and one I can’t answer. I noted he seems to have a lot of other things going on as well, and perhaps he overestimated how quickly he could learn. Or perhaps it’s just a lot harder than he thought. Read more