Things are not going very well in Pittsburgh Steelers country right now. Nobody knows that better than the men in the locker room and on the field. Players want to win games as much as the fans in the stands and watching at home and online do, and the team obviously hasn’t been winning as much as anybody would like. But defensive lineman Cameron Heyward had a message for the fans on the latest episode of his Not Just Football podcast.
“Stay with us. I know it’s not easy, and we don’t make it easy on you, but there’s more football to happen and we appreciate you guys along the way,” he said. “We gotta go on the road, four games left, two home, two away, let’s get it rolling.”
Now that’s going to get some mixed reactions, for sure. A lot of fans are ready to move on, at least to next season, and would rather see the team lose the final four games to get a better draft pick than to have them sneak into the playoffs.
And chances are in the long run that would be better for the team, of course. But I’m never going to root for the Steelers to lose, and I suspect that there are few if any on the locker room who have any interest in losing games to get a higher draft pick.
The ‘good’ news for fans ready to move on is that there is virtually no hope of the Steelers making the playoffs. It’s very unlikely that they manage to avoid a losing season this year, either. Since 14 teams make the playoffs, they should safely be drafting in the top 20. But I wouldn’t bet on a top-10 pick at this rate.
Truth be told, outside of the game against the Baltimore Ravens still to come, their remaining schedule is against opponents who are fairly evenly matched. They’re right around the same tier as teams like the Carolina Panthers and the Las Vegas Raiders and the Cleveland Browns. Those games could be toss-ups.
But I’m interested to hear from you. What type of fan are you? This isn’t about one type of fan being better than another. Are you the type of fan who will root for and watch Steelers games no matter what, through better or worse, so long as they don’t turn into a Daniel Snyder-led crater?
Or are you the type of fan who demands success in exchange for your loyalty? If the Steelers show little promise in turning things around next year, how much less likely are you to tune into games on a weekly basis?
And as far as the rest of this season goes, who is going to be dedicatedly tuning in every game? Is watching Steelers games in and of itself something that you take joy in, regardless of what happens in the game, or do you watch contingent upon your expectation that they’re going to win and/or are pushing toward postseason success?