By Michael K. Reynolds
There are three types of Pittsburgh Steelers fans. Those who seem depressed all the time. Those who remain hopeful against all odds. And those who don’t care all that much.
It creates for some frustration among the fan base and oftentimes leads to some nasty exchanges on the comments boxes on Steelers Depot.
Can’t we all just get along? Perhaps it starts with understanding each other a little better.
The Return To Glory-Ers
This is the group of us who were “spoiled by the seventies”. We believe the Pittsburgh Steelers are the greatest team of the modern era. The best dynasty there ever was and ever will be. The reason is not because of scratchy old film reels on late-night NFL Network programs. It was because we LIVED it every weekend for years and years during the 1970’s. Every weekend the Steelers not only dominated every aspect of defense, but then they took the ball on offense and embarrassed their opponents up and down the field on the other side. Not only did they win almost all of the time—and by large margins—but they were the toughest team in the league. They seldom failed and they NEVER lost a fight. When seen through the filter of those memories it’s difficult to watch our offensive and defensives lines today have their lunch money stolen every week. We’re desperately roaming the streets hoping for our next fix of Steelers dominance. Are we hopelessly living in the past? Yes, of course. We’re pathetic. But we remain great Steelers fans.
The Never Say Diers
An 8-8 season? No problem. Next year will be better. Can’t wait until the draft. An 0-4 preseason? Don’t worry all you negative people, the Steelers are just getting warmed up. Down 40-3 in the fourth quarter? Not a concern. The Steelers can come back. The stadium has emptied of fans? Not these fans. They hang back and shed a few tears in their Terrible Towels as they think with hope and expectation for next Sunday’s game. These are great Steelers fans. Living in Dreamville, USA. But great Steelers fans.
When I lived in San Diego years back I learned quite a bit about this brand of fan. Real Chargers fans? Only if they were winning. And the surf wasn’t up. And it wasn’t too nice of a day at the bay. When the Chargers were in the playoffs you would see flags on truck antennas, lightning bolt beach bikinis, and faces painted in blue and yellow. If the home team was losing? Everybody’s at the beach. “Oh, do we have an NFL team?” We do have some of those types of Steelers fans in the mix. It’s what comprises many of the fans of the rest of the NFL. Are our folks like this great Steelers fans? No. They’re lame fans. But…they probably live more normal and stable lives and if we were smarter we would hope to aspire to be more like them some day.
Which leads to an important question. Should we lower the bar of expectations for the vaunted Steelers organization? Should we not expect it to continue as the elite team in the NFL? The planet? The universe?
Should we be an understanding fan base that knows there are 31 other teams competing for the same prize? That the other players are getting paychecks as well? That there are such things as “transitions” and time for “maturation of young players”?
Should we be patient? Understanding? Never say a stray word against our Steelers.
Or should we keep the bar high and say, “This current team stinks and needs to get better fast”?
No answers here. That’s up to you. But at least…sniff…we can now understand each other a little better.