Karl Rosen photo, Steelers.com
by Ivan Cole
Question # 5: Heading into the 2019 season, what is fantasy and what is reality?
During a recent program that was covering the Democratic Primaries for president it was mentioned that voters of that party tended toward a desire to ‘fall in love’ with a candidate as opposed, presumably, to a more calculated decision process.
That struck me as an accurate description of many Steelers fans during the preseason. We are looking to fall in love and that impulse leads us to identify those who will be ‘camp Darlings’. And in a compensatory manner we also select scapegoats and anti- heroes who must be cast out if we are to reach the Promised Land.
Karl Rosen photo, Steelers.com
By Ivan Cole
Fully digested, this is all you will need to prepare yourself for the upcoming season. At this exciting time of the year care must be taken to inoculate ourselves against several reoccurring narratives that seduce us as the NFL regular season prepares to commence. The surprise conclusion (to this point) of the Steelers’ quarterback competition has exposed the foundation of sand upon which we base our so called ‘common wisdom’ concerning how things unfold with this game.
It is the right and privilege of fans to speculate about what is, can and should be about the game, but with the understanding that we are amateurs speculating from afar. What has been poisoning the well for years now is a media establishment whose purpose is to push that same level of questionable expertise from powerful platforms as ‘expert analysis’ or ‘Truth’.
It was with great anticipation that my lovely niece Laura and I headed for Latrobe Memorial Stadium and Friday Night Lights. I have never been to this event, and Laura has never been to any sort of football practice. (She will perhaps, like me, learn the error of her ways in later life.)
But it was not only the practice and the atmosphere I was anticipating, because we were meeting up with Greg (of the late lamented Weiner’s Circle,) Homer J., and Ivan. They arrived considerably earlier than we did and grabbed seats on the 40 yard line. It was then only a matter of catching up as we waited for the yellow school busses to arrive from St. Vincent’s. (Yes, the players are brought in yellow school busses. I don’t believe they are specially kitted out yellow school busses either. Mike Tomlin likes to keep the guys uncomfortable and humble during camp.)
I don’t have a single note on my yellow pad from Friday night, because as great as the 40 yard line seats on the 2nd row appeared to be, in fact the majority of the reps took place in the red zone, one way and another, and it was difficult to see too much. (This explains in part why I so seldom go to games. You can actually see much better on the TV, and are more comfortable besides. If this makes me a bad fan, well, I think there are an awful lot of bad fans.)
As I have noted in other posts, I’m in the Southwest. I’m about to head out to Colorado Springs to visit various of my offspring and their burgeoning families. I’m taking my aged mother with me, and unfortunately I don’t think she’ll manage to be away from her beloved cats for long. So we’ll likely head back to her home on Saturday, which is a great pity, because one of the things I love to do when visiting the Springs is to watch Steelers games at Donna’s house.
Donna is the lady pictured at left. Although a native Pittsburgher, she has lived in Colorado for some years now. My son met her when he showed up at an independent coffee house near his home to try it out. As Donna (or her daughter, I forget which) served him coffee she noted “Nice T-shirt.” Read more
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.
Via WMU Football
This year’s training camp has been quite a roller-coaster ride. The hopes of Steeler Nation rise high as we see Ben putting the ball wherever he wants, whether that is in a garbage can, the crosspiece of the goalpost, the stomach of a recalcitrant cameraman*, or to be gently cradled in Antonio Brown’s arms. Then they crash to earth as we look at the list of injured players sitting out practice—a sort of Who’s Who of our best defensive players. Not to mention the League playing Whac-a-Mole with Martavis Bryant and the Steelers, seeming moving the bar every time Bryant thinks he’s hurdled it. (I realize that was a mixed metaphor, but it’s morning, people…) 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
Fred Vuich/AP Photo
By Ivan Cole
On Christmas Day 2016, the Baltimore Ravens were eliminated from both the possibility of earning the AFC North championship and a spot in the playoffs when Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown combined for a game winning touchdown with nine seconds left to play.
In the days following the game, some Ravens fans directed their ire at head coach John Harbaugh and his staff, asserting that the group should be terminated, for, among other crimes, poor clock management. Sound familiar?
The post title is not because I feel this way. I think I made my feelings clear when he was my Round 1 pick in Momma’s Mock Draft. But not everyone likes the pick as much as I do, and those who don’t have plenty to say about it.
I suppose part of the point of being a sports fan is to be passionate about your team. But I’ve always wondered if having a passion for something automatically makes you stupid. One would certainly get that impression from some of the things you hear on sports radio (mostly, although, alas, not exclusively from the fans) and particularly in the comment sections. Read more