I’ve been doing this long enough to know what you guys really want to see and to talk about right now. You want to talk about how stupid, immature, and irresponsible Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is because he has chosen to continue dancing on the centerfield logos of the stadiums in which he plays this year, after having had multiple teams express negative thoughts about that activity.
After he did it against the Buffalo Bills, and safety Jordan Poyer came out after the game to say that they played with a little more fire because of that, it caused a storm of controversy, with fans insisting that Smith-Schuster must stop because he is giving the Steelers’ opponents ‘bulletin board material’—though in truth, Pittsburgh is just playing poorly, and season-long problems are coming to a head.
For his own part, the fourth-year wide receiver made it clear during that week that he was going to continue being himself, and that meant continuing to post TikTok videos for his followers showing himself dancing during pre-game warmups in the middle of the field of whatever stadium they’re playing in—which, half the time, is Heinz Field, of course.
— Josh Rowntree (@JRown32) December 21, 2020
Prior to last night’s game, Cincinnati Bengals safety Vonn Bell was asked about Smith-Schuster’s dancing, and he acknowledged that while they know they’re not in a position to talk because Pittsburgh is on the top of the totem pole and they’re on the bottom, he did see is as disrespectful and that they would just have to see what they could do about it about putting a hit on him to let him know where he stands.
Well, Bell was able to accomplish that himself, as he lit up Smith-Schuster, ironically near midfield, with a big hit on a crossing route during the first half that popped the ball loose. It was initially ruled an incompletion, but Bengals head coach Zac Taylor challenged the call, and it was reversed.
Vonn Bell rocked JuJu to force a fumble 😳
— ESPN (@espn) December 22, 2020
When Bell was asked about the play after the game and what he saw there, he said with a smirk, “I seen 19”, before giving a chuckle. “But no, we had a call that freed me up, and reading [Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s] eyes, and just said, ‘go make a play’. We was talking about it on the sideline, and it just happened”.
Vonn Bell on that hit on JuJu Smith-Schuster and seeing 19: pic.twitter.com/T0KjVyHAO9
— Santa Baby (@Ben_Baby) December 22, 2020
In other words, he didn’t hit Smith-Schuster because he was Smith-Schuster, but because Smith-Schuster was the player who had the ball and he was lined up perfectly to make the play. It’s nice for the veteran safety that it worked up in a way that would allow him to back up his words pre-game, and the anti-Smith-Schuster crusade will no doubt jump all over this, but there it is.
Will Smith-Schuster continue to do his dances? At this point, you’d have to think so, given that he did it last night. Will it actually make a difference? As was the answer in every other game in which he danced—of course not. Whether he danced before the game or not, he was still going to get hit, and he was still going to fumble. This isn’t the butterfly effect.