Monday, December 7, 2009

SteelerNATION spoiled

So yesterday the Pittsburgh Steelers lost their fourth straight game and it was at home to the lowly Oakland Raiders.  This loss drops the Steelers to 6-6 and puts their playoff hopes in jeopardy.  While it is tough to see the Steelers lose to bad teams that they should crush like Oakland, KC, Cincinnati and Chicago, nothing will ever change the fact that this team won the Super Bowl just one year ago.  Ben Roethlisberger is still an elite level quarterback. Rashard Mendenhall is justifying the first round pick the Steelers spent on him last year with his strong play.  Santonio Holmes is having a breakout season we expected.  Mike Wallace is a great 3rd receiver as a rookie and will only get better as time goes on.  The defense, although shaky at times, is still better than most defenses in the league and has the stats to back it up.  This team will remain one of the better teams in the league for years to come yet listen to the talk shows.  Read the newspaper. Read message boards.  You would've thought the Steelers lost their 16th game of the season.  All you'll find is dumb beer drinking yinzers whining about how lousy the team is, that Mike Tomlin needs to be fired and that the Steelers should tear apart the franchise and rebuild from the ground up.  Unbelievable.

The Steelers have been one of the NFL's most successful franchises over the past 17 years which includes 12 playoff appearances, 10 division championships, 7 AFC Championship appearances, 3 Super Bowl appearances and 2 Lombardi Trophies.  Some franchises don't have those kind of credentials after 40 years, let alone 17.  Unfortunately, with that success the Steelers now have a legion of fickle bandwagon fans that "bleed black and gold"... as long as they're winning.  There's nothing more frustrating than having to cheer side by side with someone that will turn their back on the team the minute things don't go their way.  Some of them will complain about the coaching and demand that "Mike Tomlin be fired immediately".  In his first two full seasons as the Steelers head coach the Steelers have won two division titles, led the league in defense and won a Super Bowl.  Yes, that's right yinzers.  Those of you that have had too many Iron City's probably don't remember the fact that the Steelers won the Super Bowl just 10 months ago.  Not 10 years, 10 months.  But that doesn't matter right?  You and all three of your remaining brain cells think that Tomlin needs to be fired, the defense (which ranks 1st against the run and 5th in total yards) needs to be rebuilt and something needs to be done with this Ben "Roethenburger" guy, all because the Steelers lost a few more games than expected this year.  

I keep hearing yinzers refer to the Steelers as a "bad" football team.  You think this team is bad?  When I first started watching football (1986) Mark Malone was their quarterback.  For a bit, I thought he was pretty good.  I mean, he completed one out of every three or four passes.  Then I saw other QB's in the league and how their passes would actually be to a receiver and not 10 feet over their heads or hit the ground 5 yards in front of them.  They lost three games very badly that year, 30-0 to Seattle, 31-7 to Minnesota and 34-0 to New England.  Funny... I don't recall anyone calling for Chuck Noll's head after that season and he hadn't won a Super Bowl in 7 years.  The reason for this is because their wasn't any bandwagoners at this time.  Just REAL Steeler fans.  They went 8-7 in '87, 5-11 in '88 and those were some pretty brutal teams.  I always roll my eyes when I hear some yinzer bashing Ben for a bad play.  Clearly, they never watched the legendary quarterback that went by the name of "Bubby".  Take the worst game you've ever seen Ben play.  Now imagine him playing like that week in, week out for three years.  When you've suffered through the Mark Malone / Bubby Brister days, a guy that occasionally throws a bad pass doesn't seem so bad.  It didn't really matter though, no offense was going to be able to keep up with the number of points the defense was giving up.  They were ranked 28th in 1988 and and 22nd in 1991.  Today, they're ranked 5th despite injures to Troy Polamalu and Aaron Smith, but you're right yinzer nation, the defense needs blown up and rebuilt because despite having the number one ranked defense in each of the last two seasons before this one, they've clearly lost it now.

SteelerNATION has been spoiled over the last 17 years and unfortunately a good number of us have forgotten how to lose.  Losing a few games, no matter who its against, is not the end of the world.  Whether or not they make the playoffs this season is irrelevant.  This core group of players has proven twice now that they are a Super Bowl caliber team and will make a lot more noise in the years to come.  If the Steelers are not a good franchise, then nobody is.  You can't win all the time.  Losing happens to everyone and all you can do is suck it up and deal with it.  If you can't, then don't watch sports because no one can win all the time.

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