Some people are fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers. This 2018 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here.
Your team: Pittsburgh Steelers.
Your 2017 record: 13-3, but I assure you that it was unwatchable from beginning to end. This team can make any 13-3 season feel like an 8-8 season. The only thing I remember from them last season is when one of their linebackers had his spinal column severed, and for some reason I was supposed to feel GOOD that he didn’t manage to die out on the fucking field.
Actually, I do remember some other crap, like this play:
Amazing how I would have had sympathy for ANY other team had they been victimized by this reversal. A team full of nothing but cloned Richie Incognitos could have lost that game the exact same way, and I would have had more compassion. For the Steelers, I feel nothing. The best part is that, during the review, the Steelers had roughly 87 minutes to draw up another play in case the Jesse James catch was overturned. Instead, they just stared at the scoreboard the whole time and THIS is the final play they executed:
I love it when Big Ben pretends he a Serious Quarterbacking Man and then forgets to let the rest of his teammates know about his plans. DURRRRR LOOGIT ME I’M DAN MARINO DURRRR
Oh, and I also remember that this team got their asses waxed at home by Jacksonville. Twice. Not only that, the Jags beat the Steelers by playing STILLER FOOTBAW in both those games, running the ball and pounding the opposing offense into oblivion. Style points matter to the sterile carbohydrate blobs who root for the Steelers, so I’m glad they got to spend an entire offseason bitching about how Blake fucking Bortles beat them at their own game. No team, not even the Patriots, got clowned harder at the end of last season:
Imagine having your nuts repo’ed by the Jaguars, of all teams. Pittsburgh deserves ALL of this.
Your coach: Mike Tomlin. I have a question for you: Is this team EVER on the same page? Ever? Go look at the Big Ben pick again. It’s a clusterfuck. I have no idea how this team manages to make the playoffs on a consistent basis when NO ONE in Pittsburgh is ever on the same page. They employ the only military veteran in the NFL and somehow managed to strand him out on an island when they stayed back in the locker room for the anthem. The quarterback hated the offensive coordinator. The receivers hated each other. The front office hates the running back. EVERYONE hates the quarterback. They can NEVER properly execute an onside kick. I don’t know how this team even ties its fucking shoes, they’re all so busy bitching about each other. Maybe they should hold a few meetings during the season or something.
“It’s good to be in the kitchen. The kitchen’s in Pittsburgh, PA, this week in the National Football League, and at Heinz Field,” Tomlin said of his team’s showdown with New England in arguably the biggest game of the NFL season. “That’s where you want to be in the middle of December. We don’t take it for granted.”
Or not. Maybe not. Maybe they need FEWER meetings with Tomlin in order to get in sync properly. The good news is that Todd Haley and his IROC-Z were both finally run out of town, although not before Haley strolled into the Tequila Cowboy to get into what was definitely the 897th bar fight of his life. This team has Le’Veon Bell, but guess which team also ranked dead fucking last in play-action pass attempts last season? You got it. That’s why Haley is out and was replaced with this man…
Are you… are you kidding me? Randy Fichtner looks like the guy Haley got INTO the bar fight with. He looks like one of those dudes who has little gun stickers on the back of his truck instead of little family stickers. He looks like he would punch you for ranch dip. Enjoy having Big Ben’s caddie as your playcaller this season. Haley may be gone but I can promise you the Steelers will still call the exact wrong play every fourth down.
Your quarterback: DIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE
I cannot bear another season of this man. I can’t. It’s like they took everything bad about the NFL and boiled it down and then poured it into a big fat mold and THIS asshole is what popped out of it. Imagine threatening to retire 90 times and then having the unmitigated gall to complain when your team begins planning for a future without you. I hate him! I hate him so MUCH. I hate him nearly as much as all of his teammates do.
I swear when Ben Roethlisberger finally retires to a life of asking blondes at golf tournaments if they’re down to fuck the President, you will be able to hear the ensuing celebration in the Steelers’ locker room from thousands of miles away. Antonio Brown will be able to dance to Saturn when the news breaks. The anonymous leaks about what a cock he was will be glorious. Mason Rudolph could be the absolute biggest draft bust in the world and I’d rather watch him play. I mean it. I want Big Ben out of my life forever. Someone please poison his chew toy. I met Tucker Max once and he was easily the least charming human being I have ever met, but that’s only because I have yet to meet this man.
What’s new that sucks: Nothing! These are the Steelers. Thirty years from now Big Ben will still be out there grousing like a baby and drilling corners in the chest with balls.
JuJu Smith-Schuster got a new dog. Does that count as new?
Cute dog. I hope Joey Porter’s dogs don’t eat it.
What has always sucked: Part of me wishes the Patriots had won a sixth Super Bowl in February, if only because it would finally shut up these meatbags about their stupid ring count. As always, these are the most intolerable fans in football: fat, loud, spoiled, and legion. I don’t know how they reproduce given their obstructive tissue and their blood sugar levels, but they do. It is possible that Steelers fans reproduce via a form of asexual reproduction, in which you grab a handful of their protoplasm, give it a tug, and it detaches and immediately grows into a fully-formed yinzer wolfing down a French fry sandwich.
Le’Veon Bell is holding out again and his agent swears this’ll be his last season in Pittsburgh. I can pretty much guarantee that these fans will spend all of their free time away from their hospital orderly jobs to boo him every step of his way out the door. That’s how it works in Pittsburgh. The second you want fair compensation for your work, or your plays slips a bit, these glorified Ohioans call you a bum and act like you’ve done nothing for them. They ran Terry Bradshaw out of Pittsburgh, man. A Steelers fan would cut his own mother’s throat if he thought it would please the Rooney family. Fuck this whole fucked-up town and its dirty-ass team.
Your defense turns into Tampa’s defense when they need to make a key tackle. You cheated in a preseason game. Every game you play against the Bengals and Ravens is a blood-soaked abomination in the eyes of the Lord. You’ll never beat the Patriots in the postseason. Everyone hates you. Go away.
What might not suck: I have a glorious vision of Roethlisberger fracturing 12 ribs trying to read a book and Rudolph seamlessly coming in to lob deep balls to Antonio, instantly making this team 97 percent more likable.
Let’s remember a guy who sucked: Troy Edwards! Take it from a Vikings fan: Never ever ever draft a wideout named Troy.
HEAR IT FROM STEELERS FANS!
My father almost got into a fight at the home opener last year over an accidental spilled beer. He’s 70. He was the instigator.
I can’t get over my suspicion that Antonio Brown will end up as the best Steelers player never to win a Super Bowl with Pittsburgh.
Our defense gives up 45 points to Blake Bortles and the OC gets canned. The Steeler Way!
Neil O’Donnell could create world peace, and I would still know he is a goddamn worst.
Put them in a 1:00pm game against a 2-7 opponent, and they will lose in an embarrassing fashion.
We have the memory of goldfish and the tolerance of Orval Faubus.
I hope Roethlisberger takes up motorcycle riding again.
Le’veon Bell’s rap fucking sucks.
They dropped six TDs on a tough Jags D but still lost because they made Blake Fucking Bortles look like John Elway.
They never have a week without some idiot, meaningless controversy someone drummed up because they can’t put their fucking phone down, or Ben is one of his bipolar swings (he’s an asshole no matter the pole). And no one in this city can pronounce players’ first names correctly because you know exactly why.
Our coach will continue to say “the standard is the standard” after every game regardless of the outcome as well.
The defense is propped up by the ghosts of steroids past at this point.
MAGA hats should be Black and Yellow.
I cannot WAIT to watch them trot out a zone defense against the Patriots and get fucking eviscerated as if it hasn’t happened every time we’ve played this team in the last ten years.
We’re fortunate as fan base that our quarterback decided to be a heinous piece of shit back when the NFL didn’t hold players to the tenets of basic human decency.
Ben Roethlisberger looks like he’s the type of person that would park an RV in the yard of his house and live in the RV instead of the house. Ben Roethlisberger starts doing dance moves with his arms every time “Butterfly” by Crazy Town comes on at his local watering hole. Ben Roethlisberger has absolutely survived a fall from a roof at one point in his life.
In case you didn’t know, Pittsburgh is a tech hub now, so we get to add tech bros to the existing soup of inbred hill people and suburban authoritarians that comprises the fanbase. I hope a fleet of Uber self-driving cars go rogue and flatten a tailgate. Fuck Ben Roethlisberger and his gray dick with a nut-stiffened Terrible Towel, fuck off already for the love of God.
Drew (not me):
Nothing worse than a bunch half-cocked yinzers slamming Iron City beers screaming Here we go Steelers HERE WE GO!!!!.... during a fucking preseason game.
The Steelers are always good for at LEAST two bad losses every year. Last year they pulled this shit with the Bears and the Jaguars. Keep in mind that they lost two terrible games despite only losing three games all year.
I can’t wait to lose to the Browns twice this year.
Is Big Ben still slinging his ashy penis around Heinz Field this season? You betcha. Is Tom Brady still going to out gun him in week 14 with half the offensive talent? Of course he is!
I just can’t root for the team that keeps extending Roethlisberger anymore. Not exactly a show of moral fortitude given that his knees seem to be held together with tree sap and masking tape at this point, but even a smart group of ghouls would realize it’s time to cut bait rather than continuing to let Brady son him in the playoffs each year.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have won 3 playoff games since 1999 and two of them are against the Steelers, in Pittsburgh.
Antonio Brown is the only Steeler worth defending.
Heath Miller would have caught that ball. Fuck you, Jesse.
Every year our fans convince ourselves that this is the year that we beat the Patriots in the playoffs despite not having a competitive playoff game against them since 2001. Like clockwork we run a defense on the opening drive that consists of something along the lines of “leave Gronk uncovered and see if Brady doesn’t notice” and proceed to get curb stomped for 60 minutes.
Do you like your fans to have all the entitlement of Boston fans, with a slightly less annoying accent? Come to Pittsburgh! Our fans also have the added charm of comparing everything in the current era to the 1970’s because perpetually reliving your glory days isn’t annoying or sad at all.
What I HATE most of all is that it’s now “cool” to emphasize your yinzer accent via text and social media. Friends and family who have moved away love throwing “yinz” and “n’at” into their texts just because, “Durrr, me from dahntahn Pittsburgh n’at and yinz need to know I still use my Pittsburghese in sunny Florida, durrr.” Seriously, I have a former friend who lived in fucking West Virginia and he STILL emphasized that shit in his texts. Motherfucker, you weren’t even suburban Pittsburgh. Why do you want to sound like a dumbass?!
If I was going to explain laissez-faire capitalism to someone, I’d use the Steelers as an example. Here is a team that goes through three or four game cycles of bloating to impossibly high levels of excellence before the market bubble bursts—then they play some truly awful shouldn’t-be-close games against the Browns or the Bucs. The market is self-correcting.
I was at a Buffalo Wild Wings during a game two or three years ago and this guy in a Roethlisberger jersey spent the whole time yelling and swearing at the TV about how the “Refs always fuck the Steelers”. After the Steelers were called for pass interference this shithead spent an hour yelling, “That was not interference”
Maybe we could talk about Antonio Brown’s “antics.” He arrived at training same via helicopter, didja know? That sort of selfish DIVA behavior never woulda flown under Cahhhr.
I’ll digress, though, because the very worst thing about the Pittsburgh Steelers—and specifically these Pittsburgh Steelers—is that, in the not-too-distant future, this team will shamelessly leverage Ryan Shazier as a talisman of valor and perseverance and NOT as a victim or cautionary tale of the brutality and wanton violence that imbues the NFL. I can imagine, vividly, the Steelers announcing Shazier as an honorary captain. He will make his way to midfield as his highlight reel plays in the background. The crowd will go totally nuts and there will be tears aplenty. Vendors will probably even sell t-shirts and make some money, precisely none of which will be donated to anything resembling a worthwhile cause.
Will I be in that crowd cheering and sobbing, drying my tears with my commemorative t-shirt? I will. I hate that I love this team.
Our city, aside from Boston, has had the best sports run of the 21st century. The Steelers and Penguins have reached 7 championship games/series, winning 5 of them. Our teams have spent the last 18 years stuffed with superstars and are almost always in contention. We’ve had more success during this time period than most cities get in 50. Detroit and Buffalo sports would kill to be like our teams and finish with a winning record most years, let alone the titles.
So, what really sets the Yinzers apart from your generic fat, stupid, drunk sport fans is that all of this isn’t good enough.
Quick hit takes why we also suck:
- We’ve only been to the playoffs three times since that 2010 Super Bowl despite having a generational talent at QB. We were knocked out in two of them by Tim Tebow and Blake Bortles.
- As of last September, we’d lost 15 games in 7 seasons against teams with a combined record of 25-89. These losses result in getting road playoff games instead of getting a couple at home. The Patriots never do this.
- The “Renegade” pump up video which lost its magic about one second after that 2008 championship season ended, but like everything else, Yinzer’s musical taste is also about 40 years behind and they can’t get enough of it.
- My uncle had to chase off a group of Yinzers harassing a tailgate of Browns fans at Heinz Field after a Steelers win. These were middle-aged men going after a group of college kids from Cleveland, and doing so as if beating the Browns is a big win. The Browns fans did nothing hostile and were otherwise just hanging out sharing food with my uncle’s group.
- Mike Tomlin essentially decides when to go for two points and when to go for it on 4th down by rolling a 20-sided die. Going for two only improves your chances of winning if you do it nearly every touchdown. This is lost on him.
- Big Ben is a drama queen who can’t go more than a week without making thinly veiled, passive aggressive comments to the press about his retirement plans, our coaches, our draft picks, etc.
I’m your garden variety Millennial progressive who opens Twitter first thing every morning to review the latest series of horrors that have been unleashed upon our country. I often feel compelled to react online to the most outrageous or offensive events, to vent my frustrations with our political and social systems.
And yet, the only time Twitter has EVER limited my account was after the Jesse James touchdown, when I tweeted various expletives at all of the sports personalities I follow who said he didn’t catch the ball.
Perhaps my priorities are a little skewed, but then again, telling Mike Pereira to fuck off can be surprisingly liberating.
Not a single black-and-gold-bedecked person I talked to had any worries about the Jaguars, a team who had already curb-stomped the Steelers once in the season. Everybody was already looking to a rematch with the Patriots. So were the Steelers themselves, apparently. But God forbid anybody do some introspection and realize, perhaps, that this has become a song on endless loop for this organization. Nope. It’s solely Tomlin’s fault. Also Brown’s. And Bell’s, too.
Huh. I seem to see a pattern here. It might as well be fucking madlibs at this point.
It’s the fault of [NON-WHITE PLAYER/COACH]. They’re [VERB ending in -ING] our window. This year, [NON-WHITE PLAYER/COACH] is also on a short leash, and if they can’t pull it off, we have to sign [WHITE PERSON/COACH]. Then we’ll assuredly beat the [PATRIOTS] and not stumble against [RANDOM TEAM].
But hey, don’t upset any rapists by drafting someone in their position, or kneel in front of super-patriots who vote for politicians that gut VA benefits.
At least I made a killing off of all the bets I made against my friends. Bet against the Steelers in a non-pressure situation and you’ll never lose. The Rooneys aren’t the only ones who can fleece the suckers of Pittsburgh, after all.
In advance for what was, surely, going to be an epic AFC Championship between the Steelers and the Patriots, the Steelers’ Facebook page decided to troll Belichick by posting a video of the Steelers beating him in the playoffs. Unfortunately, they had to dig deep into the archives for when the Steelers beat Belichick’s Browns in 1995.
If the team doesn’t put up 35 points, and the defense doesn’t hold their opponent to less than 7 points, then everyone should be fired every week.
Also, the fan base has a weird memory about the past. Everyone loves Bill Cowher now, but during his tenure everyone wanted to run him out of town for 15 years, until he won a Super Bowl. Then, Tomlin wins a Super Bowl in 2008, but gets no credit because he did it with “Cowher’s players...”which is a ridiculous argument because every coach in the league has to use the previous regime’s players.
In an average pop-up stand outside Heinz Field, you’re hard-pressed not to find shirts with Liam Neeson saying, “If you aren’t a Steeler fan, I will find you, and I will kill you”, with the caption “If you ain’t a Steeler fan, you ain’t shit”, with a black and gold Confederate flag captioned “Redneck Steeler Fan”, and the ubiquitous “Cleveland Still Sucks”.
This is the fanbase that drove Bennet Omalu across the country, waited at the elementary school carpool line to give Tommy Maddox death threats in front of his children, and called for Mike Tomlin’s head after seasons that would’ve gotten Bill Cowher adulation for some RILL TOUGH FOOTBAW.
Almost every WYTS relies on a kind of balance between owner, players, fans, and the city itself, but for the Steelers, it’s all us. We have family owners who are neither incompetent nor overtly racist, the two most exciting players in the league, incredible investment and stability in a community that, for all its rebirth, desperately needs both, and a modern stadium in a fun neighborhood in America’s most underrated city. And we thank them for that by being drunken, bitter, racist goons who run on an on/off switch between guttural, lupine howling and a miserably Puritanical dutifulness. We tear the social contract in half the moment we see black and gold and deserve everything coming to us once Bell leaves and Brown inevitably gets injured.
We Steelers fans are the absolute worst. If the Steelers lose, Mike Tomlin should be automatically fired. It doesn’t matter how the loss occurs, he should 100% be fired. Ben threw two interceptions, one being a pick-six? Fire Tomlin! Artie Burns gives up a 90-yard touchdown when covering Mike Wallace? Fire Tomlin! Ryan Shazier nearly gets paralyzed, and the absence of their best defensive playmaker in December and January is exploited by other teams? Fire Tomlin! Now, Tomlin certainly has his faults, but Steelers fans think he’s the worst coach they’ve ever seen.
Many Steelers fans look at the Cowher era with rose-colored glasses, forgetting that the narrative for 13 seasons was how Bill couldn’t win the big one. People conveniently forget that in 2004, Cowher wanted to draft offensive tackle Shawn Andrews over Ben Roethlisberger and just keep riding the Tommy Maddox train. But Cowher looked like a Yinzer, spit when he talked, and chased refs during games, so his four AFC Championship Game losses are forgiven now that we have a black head coach.
You may have heard that our quarterback was twice accused of rape; that’s not nearly as offensive to most Yinzers as Le’Veon Bell getting high. Antonio Brown is one of the best players in the entire sport, yet fans still criticize him for being “too flashy” or having kids with too many women. He’s never been in trouble, always has his kids with him, and donated $100,000 to Children’s Hospital, but fans don’t like it when he celebrates. Some Steelers are actively choosing to not enjoy cheering for perhaps the best wide receiver since Jerry Rice. This sums the up the stupidity of much of the fanbase.
The one black guy Steelers fans did like was James Harrison. He was tough. He played “Stillers football” (i.e., attempting to decapitate other players). So you can imagine how fun it was to watch Pittsburgh lose its collective shit when Harrison was released and signed with Patriots. Harrison couldn’t beat out Bud Dupree for a starting job, but everyone acted like they released James Harrison from 2008 instead of old and slow James Harrison in 2017. His former teammates came out and said he was bad leader and had zero interest in helping the young linebacking corps—something that would usually be frowned upon by Steelers fans—but no, cutting a linebacker who can’t run was blamed on Tomlin. Fans lost their minds when Harrison wound up getting playing time in New England, not realizing that meant the Patriots defense was worse than the Steelers defense.
Beyond the racism, the fans are just generally an insufferable lot. If you try to talk about football with another Steelers fan and disagree with them about anything, watch out! You’ll hear a lot about how they played pee-wee football and clearly understand complex defensive schemes better than you do, despite them thinking the Steelers run a 4-3.
Local sports talk callers somehow always seem drunk, even at 9 a.m. on a weekday. They have a tenuous grasp of the English language at best and their IQs are certainly below 25. You hear a lot of “Durrrr, the Steelers should trade Tomlin for Mike McCarthy. He’s from here, ya know?”
I’m privileged to be a Steelers season ticket holder. The fans are naturally drunk, and somehow always sweaty. It doesn’t matter if it’s 14 degrees outside, Steelers fans are just constantly perspiring. Probably from leading a rousing chant of “HERE WE GO STEELERS HERE WE GO” which is undoubtedly the most exercise many of these people have had all year. Most of the men look the same; just imagine a fat, sweaty, drunk, pre-veeners Bill Cowher, multiply it by 60,000 and that’s the crowd at Steelers games. To most of these fans, it’s forever 1978. They walk around in Bradshaw and Lambert jerseys and talk about what a jagoff Al Davis is (they don’t realize he’s been dead for nearly a decade). You’ll hear complaints of the team needing to get back to “Stillers football;” which means running the ball on offense and mauling guys at the line of scrimmage on defense. In their minds, the Mel Blount Rule doesn’t exist and Tomlin just plays a soft defense.
Pittsburgh 0, Jacksonville 7
You know what would be funny? I thought, listening to the game on ESPN Radio as I rode down the Sunday afternoon highway. What if we forgo our traditional playoff drubbing at the hands of the Patriots, and cut straight to losing right now? At home, against the goddam Jaguars?
But that’s never going to happen.
Pittsburgh 0, Jacksonville 14
Is it? Is Big Ben going to lose his final career game to Blake Bortles in the most embarrassing possible fashion? Do I keep rooting for a meaningless comeback en route to playing Tom Brady’s doormat, or find perverse amusement in hoping for the most hilarious end to a Steelers season in recent memory?
Pittsburgh 0, Jacksonville 21
Holy shit, is this for real? Is our stale, conceited franchise about to get a much-deserved pantsing from which it will learn absolutely nothing? Are the Trump-fellating human-Stegosaur hybrids of West Pennsyltucky headed for a well-earned comeuppance they will nonetheless explain away through thinly-veiled anti-Tomlin phrenology? Is intermittently extraordinary, occasionally healthy, eternally insufferable quarterback Ben Roethlisberger finally done???
Pittsburgh 7, Jacksonville 21
Nah. There is no justice in this world, and certainly not anywhere in the vicinity of the NFL.
Pittsburgh 7, Jacksonville 28
[pure, unbridled laughter] Hell, I’m ready to go down with the ship for this.
Pittsburgh 21, Jacksonville 28
Shit. He’s not going to retire, is he. He’s going to stumble on with his barely connected ligaments repeating the same three sentences like a darkest-timeline version of Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride.
Pittsburgh 28, Jacksonville 35
God, we are stuck with this boring pud until he dies mid-overthrow from CTE, aren’t we. Roethlisberger would stand and shit on himself mid-diarrhea if you unfurled an American flag overtop of the stall door. Kordell Stewart threw an interception every time he exhaled but at least he had personality.
Pittsburgh 35, Jacksonville 42
We don’t deserve fun guys like Bell, Brown, or JuJu Smith-Schuster, the literal coolest player in the NFL. Hell, we don’t even deserve cliché-spewing footbaw automatons like Tomlin.
Pittsburgh 35, Jacksonville 45
Okay, we deserve Tomlin.
Pittsburgh 42, Jacksonville 45 FINAL
Fuck this team, fuck this fanbase, fuck Dan Rooney’s corpse, and fuck me.
Submissions for the 2018 Deadspin NFL previews are now closed. Next up: Jacksonville Jaguars.