The most excitingly stupid storyline of the 2020 season, certainly for the Pittsburgh Steelers but perhaps for the NFL as a whole, was the saga of wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster’s dancing, which he had taken to doing before games at center field.
In part because it began to coincide with the team losing games, it became a major spectacle, and the more publicity it got, the more opponents negatively reacted to his doing it on top of their logos in the middle of the field.
It got to the point where teammates and coaches would be asked about it on a weekly basis, and whether or not Smith-Schuster would be ‘talked to’ about his dancing, which he began broadcasting on social media around the middle of the season when they traveled to play the Dallas Cowboys.
At one point, head coach Mike Tomlin was asked about the dancing and whether or not he intended to discuss it with his player. He said that he was aware of it and that he did plan on talking to Smith-Schuster, but stressed that it was in no way contributing to their performances on the field.
The wide receiver was asked on The Doug Gottlieb Show about his encounters with Tomlin on the matter yesterday, and this is what he had to say when asked if his coach had ever gone up to him to talk about it.
“I kind of went up to Coach Tomlin and I told him, like, ‘hey, honestly, I know I’m not the reason we’re losing because of the dancing. It’s more so that it’s me being a distraction for other people’”, he said. “It got to a point where the media was asking my teammates, ‘hey, what do you think about JuJu’s dancing?’. I never want to be that much center of attention for the team to be asked about that instead of being asked about why we’re losing”.
The way he says it, it sounds as though Tomlin never initiated a conversation with him about the dancing. Perhaps we’ll never know whether he actually did or did not. I’m fairly certain that it doesn’t matter, and it definitely won’t if he ends up playing somewhere else next year.
Between the lines, Smith-Schuster did catch 97 passes on the season for nine touchdowns, albeit producing only 831 receiving yards. Steelers fans and haters alike, however, best remember the fumble that Cincinnati Bengals safety Vonn Bell caused in the final game prior to which he did his dance.