There are many different types of fans, and we see the variety every day here as we cover the Pittsburgh Steelers. Many fans are extremely critical of their team, whether justifiably or not, which tends to vary. And the favorite talking point at the moment from this section of the fan base is the ‘fact’ that the team overlooked the Jacksonville Jaguars while mentally preparing instead for a rematch against the New England Patriots.
This seemed to be some bulletin board material to some degree for the Jaguars, or at least something to yell and boast about after the game. To argue that they actually played any harder or better than they otherwise would have is seriously dubious at best.
The Jaguars are not the only ones who seem to think that was the case though. Patriots safety Duron Harmon was asked about the whole situation recently during a radio interview, and he gave the sort of answer you would expect from a Patriots player.
“I don’t think anybody in their right mind would do that on our team, just because throughout our team we talk about how important each game is, not looking ahead, putting everything you have into one week, having a one-week season”.
It’s an easy claim to make, but I’m sure even Bill Belichick looks ahead to whom they might be playing in the future, privately. It’s not as though Mike Tomlin walks up and down the locker room and talks about prepping to play the Ravens five weeks before they actually do so.
“When you start looking ahead and start talking about you want to face this team in the AFC championship”, he went on, “not only are you not focused on that game, but you’re not showing the respect to the opponent you’re facing”.
Personally, I think the whole thing is complete and utter nonsense, and people seriously overestimate how much time out of your life it takes to answer a question during an interview. You’re already setting aside time to participate in the interview. Answering a question about a hypothetical future opponent doesn’t suddenly derail your preparation for your upcoming opponent.
But it is really surprising, even remotely, that an opposing team would love to seize upon the sort of statements or implications that had come from the Steelers about the Patriots this year and paint it as something that it isn’t? No, not at all.
Harmon said that he saw Sunday’s game as “a show of when you don’t respect the opponent all the time and give them the utmost respect and all the attention they need that week, you can let one slip”.
That is not at all what the game was. It was bad defense. It was poor communication. It was not filling rushing lanes. It was a fumble returned for a touchdown, and an interception deep in your own territory.