Some people are fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers. This 2014 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group.
Your team: Pittsburgh Steelers
Your 2013 record: 8-8. And no team looks more 8-8ish than when the Steelers go 8-8.
Your coach: Mike Tomlin, again. Obviously. As you know by now, Tomlin's chief football strategy is to forget that he is not a player …
Also, Chuck Noll is dead now. How could they tell? Every Steelers fan spends the offseason gratifying themselves to video of Chuck Noll not saying anything.
Your quarterback: Big Ben, again. And yes, he's still fat. He should be his own offensive line. By the end of the season, he'll bring a chair with him out onto the field. Imagine watching Russell Wilson evade six defenders to convert a third down, and then flipping the channel to see this lumbering whale attempt to do the same thing. I feel like I'm watching quarterback being played in black-and-white (his penis, obviously, would remain gray). I have no desire to see Ben Roethlisberger play football ever again.
His line still blows, by the way. If there is a way to get hurt, the members of this offensive line will find it.
What's new that sucks: Nothing. Absolutely fucking nothing. There have been more radical changes to Antiques Roadshow over the years than to this endless bore of a football team. Troy Polamalu is still playing safety. How is that possible? Isn't he dead? JESUS. One day, Troy Polamalu is gonna launch himself at a running back who is already six yards past the line of scrimmage, and he will die. There won't even be a body left. He'll just instantly decompose and all you'll see is a pile of dandruff-free hair. And Heath Miller! Heath Miller has been there for five thousand years. He was there when the glaciers formed the Allegheny River Basin. He was there when Big Ben ate his first whole box of Entenmann's donut holes. And Ike Taylor is still around to provide competent coverage but still bear the brunt of fan criticism because these people always dial in on one thing to bitch about and ride that same complaint out for decades.
On defense, Ryan Clark is gone, as is LaMarr Woodley. To make up for the loss of Emmanuel Sanders to Denver, the team brought in Darrius Heyward-Bey, who fits perfectly with Todd Haley's offensive strategy of "run ineffectively and then throw long passes that have no shot of being completed."
In other offensive matters, the team has gone from its committee of ineffective, loose-fingered running backs to a committee of idiot running backs who don't even know that driving while high is fucking illegal. If LeGarrette Blount and/or Le'Veon Bell (who was nearly killed on the field last year) get suspended by the Ginger Hammer, the Steelers will be left with something called Dri Archer (sounds like a brand of talcum powder for hunters) and a flotilla of practice-squad dreck. That's right, Pittsburgh. It's another year of pretending that you're a running team when you can't run the ball for shit.
Also, Maurkice Pouncey recovered from last season's leg injury and is now healthy enough to beat the shit out of people in nightclubs. And here I thought he was the Good Pouncey.
What has always sucked: Apart from this?
It must be law in Pittsburgh for everyone to LOOK like Big Ben. Anyway, the Steelers suck for the same reasons that they always have: the aging roster, the fact that their owner (like the Giants' owner) is treated like he's some kind of Galactic Space Council elder, and the fans. The awful, horrible, stupid fans. When I was a kid, I kinda liked the Steelers. They weren't very good but I liked their unis and I liked Louis Lipps and all that.
But I am older now, and I have grown to hate the Steelers and their fans with a fervor that borders on the schizophrenic. Mine is a LEARNED hate. I have seen these fans in bars, all sweaty and clammy and breathing heavily, with their fat fingers that look like they were drowned in chicken grease. I have watched them chant that awful chant over and over again. They NEVER shut the fuck up during games. It's like an illness. I have seen them cheer stupidly for two-yard runs because they like running the ball even when they suck at it because DURRRR RUNNING TOUGH DURRRR. When you get older, much of your hate comes from knowledge and experience, which is why really old people hate everyone. And that is why I hate the fucking Steelers and their moron fans. There's food in your beard, guys. There's ALWAYS food in your beard.
Worst of all, this is a fanbase and organization that prizes continuity like it's some kind of magical alchemic property. Year after year, the Steelers do absolutely nothing. They never sign anyone. They never draft anyone interesting. They always sit back and assume the name STEELERS will be enough to conjure up a decent defense, and the fans fall in line. They never do a fucking thing and then they pretend that doing nothing is some kind of noble virtue, a STEELER WAY that sets them apart from other NFL teams that are, you know, alive. This is the least fun team in football, and has been for a long time. Their fucking logo looks like a lobbyist's logo. I hate them. Also, this ...
What might not suck: I got nothing. This is a bad team. Maybe they can take their precious continuity and milk one more dreadful 11-win season out of it, but otherwise I would nuke this roster into orbit.
Hear it from Steelers fans!
I actually saw a guy get kicked out of the viewing for Chuck Noll because he was trying to take pictures of Noll's body.
We're the St. Louis Cardinals fans of football. Incredibly sanctimonious. More than obnoxious. Convinced the Steelers play "the right kind of football." But what does that even mean?
Mike Tomlin is the eptiome of football coach who says cliches that sound nifty when he says them in his "I'm a football coach" way but they really don't meant anything.
I'm still pissed about the mascot.
All you'll ever hear from Steelers fans is how we're the classiest franchise in sports and how the Rooney family Does It Right, which I generally agree with except for the whole not giving a fuck about rape and domestic violence committed by star players. Scrubs like Cedrick Wilson and Chris Rainey? Hit a woman, you're cut. James Harrison punching his girlfriend in an argument about whether to baptize his son (!!!)? Give him a contract extension.
And if reports are true that his offensive lineman prevented passerby from entering the Georgia bar bathroom in which Big Ben was doing his thing, that would be the first successful block anySteelers o-lineman ever threw since Roethlisberger got in the league.
The entire city is full of drunk Yinzer analyst cuntbags who think they can tell you exactly what went wrong in EVERY game, who failed who, and who should be fired. AND OH WILL THEY TELL YOU. Fuck you and fuck your conditional hero worship.
The closer Ben Roethlisberger is the crippled, the better he plays. This is a scientific fact.
Also, fuck Neil O'Donnell.
I happened to stumble across 4 free tickets to last year's Week 17 matchup with the Browns with playoff implications on the line. Having gone to college in Pennsylvania with a lot of friends still in Pittsburgh, it all sounded like a great opportunity for all to take in a few brews and experience my first home Steelers game with them.
The nearby bars were beyond packed before and after to the point you couldn't get two damn beers without some 19-year-old GED-hopeful start screaming at you through her seven teeth to move so she can deliver wings to yinzers that got there at 7am so they could actually get a table.
Oh and the game…holy shit...we get to our seats and five Ron Swanson lookalikes are already laying across them and won't budge, and there's a 68-year-old usher who's never left Allegheny county. What the chaw swallowing 24-year-old patron next to me did in the 3rd quarter was Pittsburgh in a nutshell. This redneck badly had to pee (he was actually doing that pee dance thing) but was overly concerned with losing his prime spot against the railing a quarter mile away from the field. But he's a problem solver, this one! He unzipped and just started peeing on the ground against the metal railing right there with about 50% of said piss careening down onto the fans sitting below (not that they could feel it hit them, it was already raining). Apparently this is a common enough of a thing in these parts that the middle-aged mom jeans women standing on the other side of him didn't even react. PITTSBURGH!!!
Have you ever been to a Steelers Bar? No joke, they never have windows, because seriously, put these fucking pigs in a mudhole with the game on where they belong. Not to mention...this bunch of rednecks will drink warm piss as long as it's served in a pitcher for $5. Got a wing special? Great, they'll take 3 orders of bright orange buffalo wings with shots of bleu cheese. You can always tell a a Steelers fan in a crowd because they'll have some combination of black and yellow on, smell like fried food, and be fucked up before the 1st quarter is over.
Additionally, no one, NO ONE talks as much during a game as a Steelers fan. Never in my life have I heard more tales of a team's past exploits while a game is on. As if, somehow, Terry Bradshaw throwing a touchdown 400 fucking years ago will have an impact on the play at hand.
We're spoiled on a Toddlers and Tiaras level. If I have to hear another "fan" complain about how anything less than a playoff berth is a disappointment I'm going to lose it. And when that inevitably happens, everyone will point the finger at Tomlin, even though its probably Dick LeBeau's fault, because LeBeau could shit in the mouth of a Steelers fan and they'd just beg for another serving.
Steelers fans are just so, so awful. When they wrap you in a terrible towel as a newborn in a Pittsburgh hospital, they surgically remove your sense of humor about football.
Dan Rooney is a billionaire and he drives a Buick that he gets for free from some car dealership that puts its name all over Heinz Field. I've seen it. He also wears suspenders. He also lives in the house that he grew up in still (WAY TO GO, SLOW CLAP). He also looks like he should have spiders crawling all over his face. And the ambassador thing is a joke. The Rooneys never donate shit around Pittsburgh unless it's to Duquesne University or to St. Vincent College (home of Steelers camp/place that Peter King jizzes all over every summer that's really nothing but a half rate institution with classes taught by monks - a school that admits all the idiots that couldn't get in to IUP-probably #6,000 on US News' top colleges ranking but #20 in the "most chaste" subcategory).
Many Pittsburghers make the annual trek to watch camp "up" St. Vincent, because they're poor and it's free. That's quite an accomplishment to drive 50 miles on the highway when your shitty Taurus is falling apart. Best fans in the NFL.
Franco Harris. Franco Harris is known as "Free Meal Franco" because he'd show up to the opening of a birthday present provided there would be a meat and 2 veg served.
If I hear "the standard is the standard," I'm going to have an aneurysm.
Any anecdote about the idiocy and backwoods nature of the average Steelers fan is entirely too lenient and kind. This is a fanbase that over the past 5 or so years advocated that Charlie Batch start over Roethlisberger after a bad game because Batch is a "Picksburgh Kid!"
I grew up in Pittsburgh and moved to Philadelphia for college. It's staggering, but Steelers fans are even more annoying and volatile outside of a city that still prides itself on its 20th Century soot output. I went to a bar in Center City Philadelphia this year where Steelers fans overran the place and started to threaten any Eagles fan who wanted the bar to turn on their game in their friggin city. The defense is run by a man who's been clinically dead for three years, and an offense run by someone who manages to look more like a douchebag than Ben Roethlisberger. As a Steelers fan, I try to avoid any association with Steelers fans, I never wear any gear on Sundays in the fall. The connection with a fanbase that treats a sandwich smothered in fries and semen flavored coleslaw as the height of cuisine is one of my ultimate shames.
Steeler fans will tell you the reason their fans are spread out across the country is because there are no jobs in Pittsburgh, which forced people to move. This is bullshit. I went to college in Pittsburgh and lived there for 5 years - yinzers do NOT leave Pittsburgh. They can't get jobs in Pittsburgh because they are unemployable assholes.
Take the spittle that comes out of Daffy Duck's maw and filter it through a mustache that's encrusted with Primanti's stink, mix in the piney scent of IC Light Mango, and have it propelled by a guy sporting a Taz "Property of Steelers: 42" shirt and you've got your average male fan. For the women; bleached blonde perm, neck tattoo, holding a Winston in the same hand as a carseat that hasn't be up to spec since 1973 while the baby coughs.
Talking non-Steelers football topics with other Steelers fans feels like explaining what color is to a blind person. Its fucking frustrating.
Also there's an insanely large percentage of people here in Pittsburgh (79%) who sincerely believe without the slightest fucking sense of doubt that the top three QBs currently in the league are Big Ben, Brady, and Eli goddamn Manning because they have the most SB wins.
The other 21% think we should trade Big Ben for one of the top Corners and start Bruce Gradkowski because he's from around here.
Back in 2007, I had two tickets to see the Steelers play the Jets at old Giants Stadium. It was November and it was already cold. The Jets were terrible, being coached by Mangini and QBed by Kellen "I remember him" Clemens. So Jets fans stayed home and it may as well have been a home game for Pittsburgh as Steeler Nation showed up in force. I've been to a lot of sporting events and no fan base I've ever encountered has been as bad these black and yellow clad morons.
A few rows away from my seats was a guy who was probably in mid-fifties decked out in a Steelers ski cap, scarf and a Roethlisberger jersey, because of course. His beard was stained from chewing tobacco and he was drunk before the kickoff. After every bad play the Jets ran or every good play the Steelers ran, tobacco beard felt the need to stand up and scream "Stupid fag fuckin Jets." And he was cheered on by every no-necked loser in a yellow hard hat.
At halftime, my friend and I went to find coffee and use the bathroom. Along the concourse the NJ State Police had at least six members of Steeler Nation on their knees in flex cuffs getting busting for drunk and disorderlies or fighting.
Fuck the Steelers, fuck the Steeler Way, and fuck Roethlisberger. Fuck them all with the stiff, cumstained Terrible Towel that Peter King jerks off into.
Our center, who we just gave a huge contract to, is one of only two people in the NFL that is still friends with Aaron Hernandez and thinks it's an injustice that he's in prison awaiting trial for murdering three people. Oh, and he may have beaten up a guy in a bar for being gay.
Fuck Todd Haley with an IC Light enema.
My father and I were at sports bar in Charlotte a few years back watching the Steelers. When out of nowhere a Steelers fan decides that it would be funny to start chucking ice at the Browns fans at the bar. The Steelers and Browns weren't even playing each other that Sunday. A full scale bar fight ensued.
I once was at a Michigan State / Pitt game at Heinz Field where I saw a female Steelers fan physically attack a guy wearing a Brian Westbrook Eagles jersey. This fine female specimen of drunken fanhood started off with "How can you disrespect OUR stadium wearing that fucking jersey" and then segued into jumping on his back and attempting to claw at his eyes.
Here are the general categories of Steelers fans and, yes, there is overlap:
A. The not-so-latent racists who hated Tomlin from Day One.
B. The braindead drones who would support a corpse if it wore a Steelers hat. They're the people still insisting Tomlin is an elite coach when they're not complaining about losing Emmanuel "Dropsy" Sanders and Ziggy "Another 1st Round Bust" Hood.
C. Drunken city trash.
D. Drunken hillbillies. No matter which direction you go when you leave Pittsburgh, within an hour, you're essentially in West Virginia.
E. Drunken suburban knobs who get off on telling people they live in Monroeville.
F. Non-Pittsburghers who've adopted the team.
G. People who know a certain type of football and die a little more inside with each game where three running backs rush for a combined total of 47 yards and the defense gives up 38 points.
H. Putmigrators who left 5, or 10, or 20, or 30, or 40 years ago for economic reasons. Or their kids. Or their grandchildren.
Our fans all look like fat versions of the Beastie Boys in that music video for "Sabotage". And somehow they all hit the same clearance rack at Foot Locker in 1995.
You can't escape these people. A couple of years ago my wife & I went with my family to the Jersey Shore for the week. It was early summer, the middle of baseball season and football training camp was weeks from opening. It was nice. No ugly yellow and black as far as the eye can see. Steelers-free paradise, right? We were driving through Ocean City when we saw people on the balcony of their hotel having a few beers. To my amazement, one of them raises up his beer and begins crooning: "HERRRRREEEEE WE GO STEEEEEEELERS, HERRRRRREEEE WE GO!"
Seriously? Is this the mating call of the Yinzer?
They are continually praised as having a great front office that "does things the right way" and "builds through the draft" yet the drafts from 2008, 2009, and 2010 yielded a grand total of three players still on the current roster.
This fanbase prides itself on rooting for an organization that "does things the right way". For whatever reason, this bar of morality applies only to Ben Roethlisberger. The fans blame him for everything that goes wrong with the season despite the fact that we would be 5-11 every year (we do get to play the Browns twice) without him. He's the only one who still gets his past brought up; all our other players apparently get their records expunged within a week (as long as they're good enough not to get cut). We love everyone else - James Harrison is a self-admitted woman beater and he's a fucking folk hero around here.
Find anyone with some derivative of the word "steelers" in their twitter handle and I guarantee that you find an asshole.
I'm surprised Maurkice Pouncey didn't hurt himself in the nightclub brawl, since he hurts himself doing damn near anything else.
Steelers fans are the worst form of human being I have ever personally encountered. Whatever stereotypical vision you have of Pittsburgh fans, I guarantee you they are less knowledgeable and more obnoxious in real life. Their tiny Stegosaurus brains are capable of three things: slurring "Here We Go,Steelers" between expulsions of shitty beer vomit; remembering one of the two Neil O'Donnell-Larry Brown interceptions from Super Bowl XXX (but not both); and hating Mike Tomlin.
All you really need to know about them is who they blamed for the Steelers not making the playoffs last year. Not the fact that they embarrassingly lost to horrible teams in Tennessee, Oakland, Miami and Minnesota. Not the fact that you went 0-4 in the first month. Not the fact that the offense was horribly inconsistent. Not the fact that the secondary was as useless as the Maginot Line. Not even Tomlin. They blamed it on the refs... in a game the Steelers didn't even fucking play in. The 2013 Steelers sucked and you're a fucking idiot if you think they "deserved" to make the playoffs. But the Yinzers don't care. They're all too content with furiously masturbating to looped footage of the Immaculate Reception while replaying "Renegade" by Styx for the umptrillionth time.
Because "Steeler Nation" deserts their own stadium when the team is mediocre, not just bad. Just look at the game against the Lions last year. They'll even throw this "sellout streak" and season ticket waiting list at you as some sort of "Football Mecca" narrative but it's one of the biggest fairweather fan cities in the country.
Because the media still hypes up Sean Spence like he's the next coming of Greg Lloyd even though he's never played a down in the NFL and is coming off two straight season ending injuries.
Because I'm sure they'll go on the road against a couple horrendous opponents this year and still find a way to lose or barely squeak out a win. Just like every year.
1. The storied team from the 70s was quite possibly the most steroid assisted team in American sports history. We pretend this was not the case. Prior to the 70s the team was a pathetic joke, we also pretend this was not the case.
2. One of our best players, Maurkice Pouncey, is hurt all the time and I mean all the fucking time. He missed the Super Bowl against the Packers and didn't make it through a series of downs last year. Despite getting on the field only slightly more often than coach Tomlin, Pouncey is praised as an all-pro center constantly. The injuries aren't his only issue though, he racks up bonus points for inexplicably standing by Aaron Hernandez and allegedly punching out a much smaller man at a bar recently.
3. Our internal player discipline rules closely mirror those of the NFL. We have zero tolerance for recreational drugs but don't give a shit about the abuse of women. Exhibit A, Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes was banished to purgatory (AKA the Jets) shortly after being busted with weed. Exhibit B, Big Ben leaves a trail of molested women in his wake and is given a $100 million extension.
4. We gloat over our dominance of the AFC North as if it something to be proud of. In reality, the hated Ravens have had just as much success as the the Steelers since arriving in Baltimore and beating up on pathetic franchises like the Browns and Bengals is not an accomplishment.
5. We love shitting on Rays (Lewis or Rice, we're not picky!) from Baltimore for off the field issues but pretend all the incidents with Big Ben never happened. Fuck Big Ben and fuck myself for not being able to properly hate that asshole.
They are all fat and ugly waiting for Ben to "prove himself".
We had two 8-8 years in a row and people act like the whole god damn world ended. Meanwhile right across the parking lot our baseball team set a North American record for most consecutive losing seasons before 2013, but our "Stillers" can't be .500 for two consecutive years without idiots demanding we fire the coach, GM, both coordinators, and trade Ben for the right to move up draft Johnny Manziel. I can't make this up, this is based on actual calls to the local radio station.
We claim to be the best fans in football, but lo and behold you would've thought you were watching a freaking Pitt game there were so many empty seats in Heinz Field the last month of the season and we still weren't eliminated from the playoffs yet.
There are a LARGE section of racist fans who truly think our coach was hired because Dan Rooney created the "Rooney Rule" not because you know he can actually coach. That Super Bowl he won? He did it with "Caaaawher's Players". The same players who went 8-8 before Tomlin got there.
Styx performed at halftime recently and they were six of the youngest people in the stadium.
There is nowhere and no time in Pittsburgh wearing a Steeler jersey in public is not acceptable (with the exception of a Kordell Stewart jersey). I've seen them in church, fine dining establishments, places of employment (and I'm not talking Football Friday in September, think a Tuesday in June) and I challenge you to watch any professional wrestling pay-per-view from the 1990s and not find a Steeler jersey somewhere in the crowd.
The most time-honored tradition handed down from generation to generation is chanting Here We Go Steelers Here We Go as you walk down the rotunda of whatever event you may be leaving, Pirate game, Penguin game, concerts, weddings, funerals, whatever. And the Here We Go inevitably disintegrates into a Beer We Go Steelers and then some idiot starts singing Donnie Iris.
The average BAC of Gold Lot 1 before a Steelers game is .3. We're a late-arriving crowd not because of traffic but because it makes more sense to shovel canned river water (Iron City) down your throat for an extra 25 minutes than get into the game on time and actually remember it. I swear there are some fans who if they got into a game on time, would think the National Anthem was a new pre-kickoff tradition.
Also, Neil O'Donnell, straddle a dick.
Two years ago during the Super Bowl, tons of my Yinzer friends on Facebook and Twitter rooted for the Ravens (The Ravens! THE FUCKING RAVENS!) to beat the Niners, the only reason being to prevent San Francisco from tying the Steelers for most Super Bowl wins.
AFC South: Titans | Jaguars | Texans | Colts
NFC South: Falcons | Buccaneers | Panthers | Saints
AFC West: Chargers | Chiefs | Raiders | Broncos
NFC West: Rams |Cardinals | 49ers | Seahawks
AFC North: Steelers | Bengals | Browns | Ravens
Wanna be part of the Deadspin NFL previews? It's simple. Just email me and give me ample evidence of why your team sucks: personal anecdotes, encounters with fans, etc. I'll throw any good material into the post and give you proper credit. Next team up: THE BENGALS.