Steelers Fans: Four Alternatives To Bridge Jumping

By Michael Reynolds

For those of you who jumped off of the London Bridge after the Vikings loss, only to climb back up, wet and ashamed after the Jets win, here is a suggestion in the…well…probable chance the Steelers suffer another setback this season.

Hey. Of course we’re ALL expecting the Steelers to rattle off 14 straight victories and to raise the Lombardi Trophy. But win, lose or draw, here are four bonafide ways you can still thoroughly enjoy the 2013 Steelers season:

Become a Card-Carrying Steelers Fan
In the 1970’s, Steelers fans claimed their position as the greatest supporters in all of sports. I was not one of them. As a boy, I joined in 1974 and adopted them as a fair-weather fan after watching their first Super Bowl win.

Sure, I plastered posters of Terry Bradshaw and Franco Harris on my walls. I practiced my Lynn Swann diving catches on our family’s leather couch and imagined myself as Jack Lambert and John Stallworth through my Pop Warner and high school days.

However; it wasn’t until the 1980’s and early 90’s when I earned my wings. Having to cheer for the likes of Mark Malone, David Woodley and Bubby Brister, while enduring a defense that was…well, offensive…was how I became a genuine Steelers fan. This only made Cowher Power and those Super Bowl victories of the 2000’s all the more sweet. Being off to such a slow start this season is a real bummer, but your true Steelers fan card can only be forged in the foundry of unwavering support during difficult times.

Enjoy the Art of Coaching
There has been plenty written about the shortcomings of the Steelers this season with legitimate complaints against front office moves (or lack thereof) and questionable coaching decisions. But now is where you can really examine the art of coaching. With their backs against the wall, and with time running out for their season (and perhaps their jobs), you can enjoy watching how the coaches make adjustments and do what it takes to hold the team together.

Never Fear. Underdog is Here.
One of the biggest offseason, pre-season and beginning-of-the-season pressures is off of the Steelers and their fans. That being, how great will the Steelers be this season? Well…at 1-4, the results speak for themselves. Even with last week’s win against Gang Green, this is a fairly leaky ship and last time I checked, Vegas wasn’t listing them as the favorite to win it all.

But how will they respond with the bar being lowered? In recent past, the Steelers have always done well as underdogs. Now with low expectations, it’s possible that you might just see them shine. Another good win, followed by another may be enough to gain them momentum and a new life for this season.

Glimpse into the Crystal Ball
How will the Steelers respond to these challenges? Will they be able to turn things around? What impact will this season have on how the “Steelers Way” is adjusted? These are all questions still in doubt, but one thing is for certain: There will be change. What that change will be for now and into the future will be influenced greatly by the outcome of this season.

Which of the veterans will survive the off-season’s Grim Reaper? Which of the young pups will become the next Big Dogs? Will this team’s offense trend toward pass or run? Will there be a fundamental shift in the defense’s commitment to the 3-4? The next few weeks will have much to determine these outcomes.

Your Alternatives?
What about you? Are you already off the bridge and water soaked? Do you have your own ideas on how best to enjoy the remainder of the 2013 season? Let’s hear them.

About the Author

Michael K. Reynolds

Longtime Pittsburgh Steelers fanatic and author of the acclaimed Heirs of
Ireland series.

  • Aric Brown

    Well done sir

  • HopalongCassidy

    Here’s how to get thru the season. Set your expectations very low. Figure in advance that the Steelers will lose each week. If they lose, you already expected it so you won’t be too disappointed. If they win, just consider it as a one time gift and be thankful.Repeat the process every week until the season is over. Then look forward to next year.

  • alevin16

    Great article! It reads as if I wrote it because I too became a fair weather fan during and after SB 9 (I was pretty young so I guess it was ok), and I had to endure the 80’s. Although I have to say the most amazing season (not to end in a SB) was the 89 season (damn you Mark Stock). I will always be a Steelers fan!

  • Rob H

    I can think of a few important things NOT to do: Don’t be like cowboy fans and lock all your stuff in the closet and claim not to care about football, only to break it back out and run your mouth non-stop when they win, it just proves you’re a front runner that was never a real fan to begin with. NEVER root for them to lose just so they get a higher draft pick, that’s what fans of perennial losing teams do, and it’s really pathetic. Understand how lucky you are to be a fan of a team that has not only won six superbowls, but has gone into the season as a contender for one for the vast majority of the last 40 years. Fans of teams like the Jets, Cardinals, Saints, Browns (I could go on and on) can only dream of having that kind of success, even the Patriots were horrible almost every year before they lucked into Tom Brady. Lastly, understand that the current NFL is set up for quick turnaraounds.

  • AndyR34

    And a “well done” to you also, Hopalong! I think this is good strategy for this year…one that I have employed many times in the past…even in the midst of games sometimes. Worked really well in the 50’s & 60’s when I was a kid and young adult.

  • CW

    Personally I never got off the Steelers fan wagon, but here’s a couple of ideas for the less stalwart…

    1968, that’s the last year the Steelers had the first overall pick in the draft, that’s longer than any franchise in the history of the NFL has ever gone without having a first overall pick. The next isn’t remotely close to the 16,800 days since the Steelers last had a first overall pick if the Steelers do end up with a 1st overall pick in 2014. Quite frankly it’s a record that the Steelers will continue to build on as it is unlikely the team will have that first overall pick in the 2014 draft.

    1972, that’s the last year the Steelers had a top five pick in the draft. Now while that’s also only 15,339 days if they happen to end up with a top five pick, that’s still significantly longer than any other team has gone without having a first overall pick in the draft. And facing facts that Steelers will likely not even have a Top Five pick by the end of the season and may very well not even have a top ten pick even if this is a terrible season overall.

    Comfort yourself with the reality that even if this is a terrible year for the Steelers, you’re a fan of a team that’s gone decades without a truly terrible one, two, or three win season.

  • NW86

    Agree on all counts!

  • Johnny Loose

    I like the idea behind this article. No matter how bad the Steelers are, they’ve given me so many great memories that I wouldn’t trade for anything!!! Other teams and their fans pale in comparison. I’ve lived in Ohio most of my life and I’m soooooooo grateful I was raised a Steeler fan and have never endured what inferior franchises and their fans have. 8-8? please…. Losing season? I’ve watched Pittsburgh play in four superbowls and win two of them in my lifetime. I’ve enjoyed watching my team WAY more than any of my Bengals/Browns fan friends. Steelers till I DIE!!!!!!!!!

  • Chad H

    Losing season still better than 365 in Afghanistan.