It seems increasingly to be the case that the Pittsburgh Steelers are becoming best remembered by their fans for all the wrong—and all the stupid—reasons. This year, it appears that the most memorable moment of the season, and for which it might be collectively remembered by those who experienced it, were the moves and comments made by JuJu Smith-Schuster that have some fans now hoping that he leaves in free agency.
Forgetting the TikTok dances, the four-year veteran most recently drew fire because he described the Steelers’ then-upcoming opponent in what was perceived as an unflattering light. Preparing to face the Cleveland Browns in the postseason, he was asked if he felt this was a different team than the one he had faced up to this point in his career.
His remark that ‘the Browns is the Browns’ ended up becoming a rallying cry for Cleveland, but in terms of whether or not it actually had any influence in how the game itself played out, not even the Browns are really saying that—after all, to do so would be to discredit themselves. And don’t count Cameron Heyward as among the believers in that theory, either.
“I don’t pay attention to words, because in the confines of the game, that gets all thrown out the window”, he said on WDVE radio yesterday. “If you have to use that for a confidence builder, you’re in the wrong game, because I feel like there’s plenty of stuff said on the field that should motivate you anyway”.
The Browns obviously wanted to win under any circumstances, and if we’re being honest, the Steelers helped them do that quite a bit with several unforced errors, including a botched snap on the first play of the game that resulted in a touchdown for Cleveland.
But the Browns played well overall, even without the help, at least offensively, though the defense would ultimately surrender a ton of yardage and 37 points. “I tip my hat to them. They did an unbelievable job”, Heyward said. “They’ve had a great season. They made it to the playoffs for the first time in a long time, and they got their first playoff win. There’s nothing more that needs to be said about it”.
Heyward was a little kid the last time the Browns won a playoff game. Now he’ll be watching them from the couch to see if they can beat the Kansas City Chiefs, which feels…let’s say unlikely. But you can’t win it if you’re not in it, and you know who’s not in it? The Steelers.