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Why Your Team Sucks 2022: Pittsburgh Steelers


Some people are fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers. This 2022 Defector NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here.

Your team: Pittsburgh Steelers.

You know what he did, right lady?

Your 2021 record: 9-7-1, with the “-1” part of that record coming as a tremendous surprise to their starting running back. THEY DON’T HAVE TIES IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL ANYMORE EITHER, YOU DUMB FUCK. Did you time-travel here from 1990? Get your head out of a bucket.

Speaking of empty heads, last season served as a clandestinely planned farewell tour for history’s most insufferable Hall of Fame quarterback. The head coach didn’t want him back. The GM, who waited on that QB like a goddamn chambermaid, also didn’t want him back. But the Frank Capra fanboys who own this dump wanted to give him a proper sendoff, after all of the games he won and all of the women he’s abducted into saloon restrooms over the years. So that’s why I had to live through an entire season of RE7PECTING Ben Roethlisberger, who displayed all the arm strength of Bob Dole during his little sendoff.

There was an upside to all of this, in that Big Ben presided over a Steelers season that was even more openly fraudulent than the season prior. Pittsburgh finished last season with a DVOA below that of Denver, Washington, and even Chicago. They had the worst run defense in football, giving up an even five yards per carry to the opposition. The Lions ran for 229 yards against them to secure the first non-loss of their own season. Dalvin Cook also ran for two bucks against them. Any coach could tell the world, with a straight face, that they wanted to establish the run against these Steelers, and they wouldn’t have been laughed off of your Twitter feed.

The Steelers were swept by the Bengals by an average score of 32-10. Their remarkable comeback attempt against Minnesota was foiled when their own wideout burned precious time off the clock to triumphantly signal first down. They could barely find it in them to beat a Seahawks team led by Geno Smith. They needed both Tony Corrente and a field goal at the gun to beat a Bears team that was actively trying to get its own head coach fired. They got out-clutched by the Chargers, of all teams. And the only reason they made it into the expanded playoff field was because every other middling team in the AFC choked on their own ballbags in the final week. Once the Steelers beat a shorthanded Ravens team in overtime in Week 18 to secure a forgettable seven seed, hearts all around the world soared.

“I’m just happy for Ben,” Boswell said. “We’re sending him to the playoffs. This team deserves it.”

No Chris, you really didn’t. Both the numbers and the karma say that what you really deserved was to get doubled up by Kansas City the following week in a game where Patrick Mahomes threw for over 400 yards and five touchdowns against you. And lo, that beatdown came to pass.

The Steelers haven’t won a playoff game since 2016. In their last three playoff games they’ve given up an average of 45 points. Thanks to Pittsburgh’s six titles—which their fans never mention, due to their excessive humility—you might not think of them as frauds. Starting a little over a week from now, your eyes will open a touch wider.

Your coach: Mike Tomlin, who really should have taken the USC job. My man could have fucked off to LA, bought a cushy house in Pacific Palisades, won a few national titles, and then watched from afar as Steelers fans—over the course of many, many years—finally realized that Tomlin was the best coach their team has ever had.

But Drew, Chuck Noll…

Fuck Chuck Noll. The only way Chuck Noll would succeed in today’s NFL is if he coached every game against the 2021 Steelers run defense. I do not regret this digression.

Anyway, instead of bailing for California, Tomlin stayed in Pittsburgh, which means I get to question his career choices as credibly as I question his fourth-down strategies. He also hired Teryl Austin as defensive coordinator to replace the retired Keith Butler, and he welcomed ex-Dolphins coach Brian Flores into the fold as a senior defensive assistant. This means that Steelers fans will have to direct their racism at not just one member of the coaching staff, but several. You and I both know that they have it within them to pull it off.

Your quarterback:

The leisure is 100% mine, sir.

Apparently the Steelers were the one team that didn’t get the memo this spring that the quarterbacks in the 2021 draft class were all horrific, so they took a big chance at the high school dance and drafted Kenny Pickett in the first round when they could have had him two rounds later. Pickett needed FIVE years to become a decent passer in college. He also has hands smaller than the ones you’d find in a local NICU. No matter. Pickett comes to the Steelers as the most “pro-ready” quarterbacks of all rookies, which means that his ceiling is already well defined, and lower than the one on Floor Seven-And-A-Half. My man has about as much upside as an Alex Jones presidency. But he went to Pitt, which means that fans here will, against all odds, be even more unbearable about him than they were about Ben Roethlisberger.

You might think I’m content in simply knowing that Big Ben is gone. Alas, as anyone could have guessed, that piece of shit refuses to go quietly:

“I never wanted to stay too long. I know some people might think I did. ‘You stayed last year.’ But I thought I played pretty well last year, to be honest.”

I shall never know a moment’s peace, I swear:

“I might be standing on a soapbox a little bit, but… it turned from a team-first to a me-type attitude. It was hard. It’s hard for these young guys, too. Social media. They’re treated so well in college. Now, this new NIL stuff, which is unbelievable. They’re treated so special. They’re coddled at a young age.”

I know! All those other guys in Pittsburgh are so selfish! Always wantin’ attention, refusin’ to cede the spotlight, etc. It’s not like back when Ben played! Things in those days were different, I tell you.

I don’t ask for much God, but please: kill this man. Send a dump truck. Snuff out his life so that I might be able to rip out a long stream of piss upon his grave. A stream of piss that’s gold, more gold then sun shining in the morning sky!

While Ben spends his retirement barnstorming across all 50 states in an effort to legalize rape, his planned successor will first have to beat out free-agent arrival Mitchell Trubisky for the starting job. That’s right, gang: the Steelers finally signed a free agent. Wow. A new dawn. Perhaps they should have signed a better one.

Honestly? Same.

Never gets old. Past Pickett and the Tittie Kisser, Pittsburgh still has Mason Rudolph on the roster and still insist that I take him seriously.

America’s handsiest elite quarterback now plies his trade in Cleveland.

What’s new that sucks: NEW STEELY MCBEAM!

I’m dying. Motherfucker looks like his job is to help customers find toilet seats at Home Depot. When your offseasons are as fallow as Pittsburgh’s always are, slight brand tweaks constitute a monumental overhaul. Thus, we get a switchel-brewing Steely and a home stadium renamed after what sounds like a surgical procedure to enhance penile girth.

“I think it’s actually very flattering that a company comes from the outside to want to be a part of Pittsburgh,” Cowher said during a KDKA interview.

Meanwhile, that stadium still has turf made of broken glass. Upon that broken glass, the Steelers will field pretty much the same team they fielded the year prior, minus the change at quarterback. New GM Omar Khan—who was, naturally, hired from within—made exactly one significant move in free agency when he pried a finished Myles Jack away from the Jaguars. Apparently, the Steelers still believe that linebacker is the most vital position in the sport despite the fact that linebackers, specifically the ones who aren’t exclusively pass rushers, have proven to be the running backs of defense: eminently replaceable and dangerous to overpay. But hey, at least Khan drafted Pickett, and then drafted this man in the second round.

That’s former Georgia wideout George Pickens, who definitely isn’t the kind of mercurial freakshow who’ll prove a headache to Tomlin within the first three months of being here. Pickens was, by many accounts, the most talented receiver in a draft that loaded with them. He’s also a redass who got suspended by his own college team for failing to keep his shit together, throwing haymakers in a game when Georgia was already leading by 30 points. Love that chippiness! If you play dirty, this is the organization for you. Anyway, let’s see if the Steelers keep on being a magical receiver factory without a Hall of Fame QB to keep the assembly line rolling.

Pickens was drafted ostensibly to fill the spot once occupied by Juju Smith-Schuster, who is now in Kansas City and will catch 18 touchdowns this season while his old team averages three points a game. Did Khan do anything to shore up a woeful run defense, or one of the worst O-lines in the sport, or a barren cornerback room that just lost Joe Haden? Folks, that is simply not The Steelers Way of doing things.

Stephen Tuitt retired. Minkah Fitzpatrick is already hurt after falling off his bike. At least it wasn’t a motorcycle. Najee Harris will leave the team under acrimonious circumstances in two years. There’s another Rooney nominated for the Hall of Fame, which does not need any more Rooneys. I’d rather Rooney the band get inducted instead.

What has always sucked: It hardly matters, because you whiny fatsacks are about to re-experience the excitement of the 80s Steelers. Oh yes. The Brister Steelers. The Malone Steelers. Eight to nine wins a season. A net point differential of exactly zero. That is the wilderness into which you now find yourselves entering. And you know what? You’ll still be loud and annoying anyway. I’ve met 80s Yankees fans. I know how they roll. You ain’t gonna be any different. Have fun being a better pedigreed version of the Falcons for the next 40 years.

Every wideout who went to Notre Dame turns out to be a sniveling prick.

Ratto says: Art Rooney’s attempt to marry this nonsense (“I can say is I think it brings us in a more competitive range with other stadiums around the country”) with removing the two ketchup bottles by the scoreboard will be a difficult sell in a town that has long preferred condiments to out-of-state insurance companies. Steeler fans will quickly become nostalgic for their quarterbacking icon of inertia while hating the place the team will play without him, and the added knowledge that they could end up being the worst team in the division for the first time since 1988 will probably mean the team will come crawling back to sandwich fixings as their marketing icon within a couple of years. After all, you can’t spread a $1,500 deductible on a pierogi.

What might not suck: ZOMG TJ WATT IS EVEN MORE DEDICATED THAN THE TROOPS ARE!

HEAR IT FROM STEELERS FANS!

Eric:

I moved away from Pittsburgh two years ago and it’s only made following this team more palatable.

Nathan:

I was in attendance for that fat asshole’s last game at Heinz Field. I witnessed grown fucking men tearing up as they played his tribute video on the Jumbotron. It was gross.

Ryan:

I’ve talked myself into believing Matt Canada’s new offense will be revolutionary, in part because I’m Canadian.

Robert:

Stories are at least 5:1 around here that Ben is a jerk vs. Ben is a nice guy.

Mike:

Sometime in 2007 or 2008, me and a good buddy and his girlfriend were stumbling around the south side of Pittsburgh looking for another place to get drunk. We stumbled into a club, entered into the (barely) VIP section, and Ben is there. Just a sweat-built mountain. We are starstruck, so we get the idea that we’ll buy him a drink. He gives us the glass half-raised salute of “Cool, thanks.”

Now we feel good enough to go say hello. The vibes weren’t tense or anything. No bouncers coming to kick our ass, etc. After giving the normal deference of “Oh man you’re a beast, you’re a hero,” blah blah blah, we finally summon the nerve to ask him for a picture. He slugs whatever drink we got him, turns towards us, spreads his legs, points to my friend’s girlfriend, and says, “Sure you can have a picture, but only if she sits on my lap.”

I pride myself on the fact that we all said no. Before we could even say more, he turned back around, waved us off, and told us to go fuck ourselves or some equivalent. My ears were ringing, I was so mad.

Triumph:

Because our fanbase threw a hissy fit about a food conglomerate not renewing their sponsorship deal on our stadium.

Because our fans will grandstand about “never liking Ben” even though they all had his jerseys and worshipped the ground he walked on.

Nick:

More than half of our fanbase actually believes that removing giant ketchup bottles from our stadium is the most disgraceful thing an AFC North team has done this offseason.

Mike:

All three other teams in this division have legitimate Super Bowl aspirations and top-tier quarterbacks. We haven’t won a playoff game since the Obama administration and we’re starting Mitch Trubisky.

Justin:

I wish we had won rings with Neil O’Donnell instead. 

Forster:

Good fucking riddance, Gray Dick.

Evan:

Ben’s fucking gone! Nothing anyone says can hurt me. I don’t give a shit if they go 0-17. Every game I don’t have to look at that big, dumb, potato-head douche stand there like a lump is my personal Super Bowl. Anytime I needed a pick me up this summer, all I had to do was picture Ben seeing Brady unretire, calling the Steelers, and them telling him to fuck off.

Dan:

No more absurdly exaggerated injuries. No more backward passes on 4th and 2. 

Jim:

This team is going to absolutely blow ass for years but I don’t even care. 

Ryan:

If I have to see that rapist fuck on a TV again screen I’m throwing my IC Light at it.

Jeffrey:

Let’s Remember Some Quarterbacks I Watched Big Ben Lose To In His Career:

Mike Glennon (twice)

Bryan Hoyer

Ryan Mallett

Ryan Finley

Andrew Walter

Brady Quinn

Tim Tebow (playoff game)

Blake Bortles (twice, one was a playoff game)

Kellen Clemons

Bruce Gradkowski

Terrelle Pryor

Brennan:

Our QB options are a 24-year-old rookie who had one good season in ACC, Mitch Trubisky, and Mason Rudolph. Our offensive line is held together with paper clips and bubble gum. Our receivers should be awesome but manage to drop anything that comes their way. Najee is awesome but will be injured by Week 5.

I’m predicting 10-7.

Roamin’ Helmet:

The only thing more gross than the MNF crew heaping platitudes on Ben was knowing that this pompous dickhead is going call into The Fan when the team loses more than three games in a row to talk about what he’d do differently. As if throwing the ball to the other team wasn’t his specialty for the back half of his career.

Josh:

I’ve spent numerous mornings getting unbelievably crossfaded in a 200-degree or 10-degree parking lot before walking into a game and then leaving at halftime. 

Daniel:

I received my first COVID-19 vaccination at a clinic at Heinz Field in March 2021, and I counted no fewer than 30 people wearing jerseys and/or carrying Terrible Towels. Steely McBeam handed me my blank vaccination card while I stood in line, I absolutely shit you not. It was awesome.

Neil:

This team will bumblefuck its way into playoff contention because the rest of the AFC North has more drama than four Bravo shows dumped into a blender.

The Rooneys are going to coast on their dad’s commitment to racial justice while quietly bankrolling Jan. 6 insurrectionists. 

Jeffrey:

Considering the average Yinzer hasn’t mastered a new word since their first handjob at Kennywood, renaming the stadium anything other than Iron City Field was never going to work. It’s now and forever pronounced Hans Fill.

Speaking of quarterbacks, we certainly have some!

Mitch Trubisky is this generation’s Jesse Palmer but without the good looks or honeyed charm. Mason Rudolph still collects a paycheck due to our national labor shortage. I wasn’t high on Kenny going into the draft, and it seems like no one else is based on his training camp throws.

When I lived in Lubbock in my twenties, I was starved for socialization and started talking to a middle-aged Steelers fan at a bar. He was playing Magic: The Gathering with his nephew. He wore a counterfeit Super Bowl ring as if he blocked for Terry Bradshaw in his glory days. No wedding band, of course. His nephew won and he started screaming and barking about losing at a fantasy card game. He was asked to leave the bar not soon after. I’m certain this was a weekly ritual.

Most Steelers fans live at least forty miles from a Sheetz, which is the closest thing to a museum they’ll ever take a dump in. Why does every Steeler fan sound like they have dirt on their tongue?

Pennsylvania accounts for seven Super Bowl rings. New York’s fireworks provider shouldn’t be this important. The fact that the only thing that separates us from nuclear fascism is a handful of Keystoners should prevent you from sleeping at night. We’re so fucked.

James:

This team had several years to find Ben’s replacement, and came up with A) a guy Chicago thought was better than Mahomes, B) a MAGA dickhead who has three working brain cells, and C) a feel good, baby-handed PR piece.

We deserve a losing season, IC Light sucks, and fries on sandwiches is overrated.

Nathan:

Because my MAGA cousin who does nothing but bitch about AOC and Hollywood is a Steelers fan. He lives off unemployment and fled the state to Florida due to an outstanding arrest warrant.

Because my coworkers do nothing but bitch about the libs, gas prices (they ALL drive lifted trucks that have never left asphalt) and how shitty the city is, yet they live in podunk Butler county, which leads the state per capita in number of meth labs, faded Trump flags, foreclosures, and trash dumped into native brook trout streams. All are Steelers fans.

Because I’m a piece of shit and quietly wished that we would have upgraded from one sexual deviant to another in Deshaun Watson.

Because I mocked Cleveland for signing Deshaun Watson.

Because there’s a nonzero chance Claypool and Pickens get arrested for, fuck I don’t know, trying to ride a police horse.

I’d ask for help Drew, but I know I’m way beyond saving. See you all in hell.

Submissions for the Defector NFL previews are closed. Next up: New England Patriots.





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