Wednesday Apple Pie

Perpetual anticipation, the curse of a Pittsburgh Steeler fan. Stephen Sondheim wrote:

Perpetual anticipation is good for the soul
But it's bad for the heart.
It's very good for practicing self-control,
It's very good for morals, but bad for morale.
It's very bad.
It can lead to going quite mad.


And quite mad we are. For, in the heart of a Steeler fan is a "perpetual anticipation". During camp, we look forward to opening day. During the season, we look forward to the playoffs. During the playoffs we look forward to the Super Bowl. At season's end we look forward to the draft. After the draft we look forward to mini-camp. At mini-camp we look forward to training camp and the process is in full circle.

There are even some poor souls who are looking forward to next season and the draft of 2005. Heck some fans even anticipate the next coach of the "Black and Gold". Yes, some of us are downright certifiable.

Why do we look ahead and anticipate? Is it a constant search for that last cog in the wheel of the car driven by the Lombardi Trophy? Is it the ever-growing frustration at the nakedness of the thumb? Well, yes and yes.

This is the First Law of Steeler Fandom: Thou shalt always anticipate with demand, a cornucopia of glorious championships and blessed drafts.

Which leads me to the most important question: Are the Steelers damned from the start?

Hypothesis:

Let's say for the sake of argument that the Steelers win the Super Bowl this season. How many years does the organization have before it must win another championship?

Well, we've already proven that 23 years is too long. We've also settled the debate that simply getting to the Super Bowl is unsatisfactory. But, what about after that next Super Bowl? What happens? Do we give the team a 5-year leeway? 3 years? 1 year?

I'm venturing to guess that based on the First Law, if the team wins the Super Bowl this season and fails to win the Super Bowl next season, the fandom would call for Bill Cowher's head, place blame on Kordell Stewart, and say that Art Rooney II was just as cheap as his daddy.

The problem is that, based on that law and human nature, the state of perpetual anticipation would be not broken. It is reasonable to believe, however, that the demand would become even more concentrated and intense, leaving me with only one option for the Steeler organization: Don't dare to win.

The exponential increase of demand would be mammoth should the Steelers win the Super Bowl against not winning the Super Bowl. If Bill Cowher never wins the Super Bowl, we will curse him far less intensely over the long haul than if he fails.

Fruits of Labor (stock is rising)

  • Aaron Smith He may not be a nice guy off the field, but Smith's been dominating in practice.

Rotten Produce (stock is falling)

  • Jonathon Ruffin – He won't carry the practice pads. Hey "J", you're a kicker. Start acting like one.

Bites

  • It took just under 2 quarters of play in the Hall of Fame Game for the officiating crew to completely blunder a call while using instant replay. Jeff Triplett ruled that the on-field ruling of a fumble by Green Bay Packer Najeh Davenport should stand. While it can be said that some plays are too close to call even in instant replay, this is not one of those. I guess officials get a pre-season too.
  • Priest Holmes had an injury-free game saving the drafts of thousands of Fantasy Football team coaches. I hope Casey Hampton and Kendrell Bell were watching because Holmes' burst of speed will be 10x the amount he showed in his brief appearance.
  • It's sad to see a player of such grit like Jeff Hartings be humbled by a deteriorating body. Kind of makes me remember the great Will Wolford. They don't make linemen like these guys anymore.
  • Steeler fans watch Lee Mays. Watch him good and hard. He may just be the future replacement for Plaxico Burress.

Ready for Picking

N.Y. Giants at New England
August 7th, 8:00 pm at Gillette Stadium

ESPN is touting this game as some sort of "revenge-laden", "payback's-a-bitch" game. Not against each other, but rather the way the Giants' and Patriots' seasons ended. I'm going to watch just to listen to the announcers talk about how the Patriots missed the playoffs last year, one of the sweetest redemptions in recent seasons.

Pittsburgh at Detriot
August 9th, 12:30 pm at Ford Field

When you watch this game, keep muttering to yourself softly, "No injuries, no injuries, no injuries…"

Post of the Week

ChipTheSteelerFan talks about "diversity" and Detroit Lions issues. I was going to mention the issue in the "Bites" section, but good ole' Chip took some words right out of my mouth…er…fingers:

We discussed the issue here previously, but my opinion based on the article you posted is:

1. Matt Millen did violate the policy. But, I feel he should not have been fined because from my limited knowledge of the policy, his situation is not addressed. The league (Commissioner Tagliabue) should have bit the bullet and said due to this scenario, we need to further address the policy and looking into making changes.

2. Lions fans and management guilty of blaming Dan Rooney for the fine should now apologize and hammer a Detroit elected official instead.

3. The writer's claim that Rooney was a peculiar choice to head the committee due to he may need more help than anyone when it comes to hiring minorities, shows the writer did not do his/her homework prior to writing that statement.

4. The writer fails to define "top position" when stating "Under Mr. Millen, the Lions have 12 blacks in top positions". Then does not define executive when claiming "Mr. Rooney's Steelers, according to their 2002 media guide, have no black executives at all". What is the difference between an executive position and a top position? The writer did not tell us if the Lions have any minorities in any of their executive positions.

5. Does the writer honestly think that if Ford pulled their advertising that the NFL would not be able to find someone else to fill the vacancy? Isn't that a conflict of interest having an owner as the biggest advertiser? If the NFL felt they could afford to let Modell move the Browns to Baltimore, they can afford to live without the Ford Motor Co. fans. Besides, if push comes to shove, they can move the Lions to LA, which is definitely a bigger market than the 350,000 Ford employees.

6. I don't see Millen as a racist. I see him as a guy who hired who he thought was the best person for the job. In the process he tried to play the "game" the NFL adopted and failed. This brings me to my question for a Lion's fan. Was Sherm Lewis the Lion's OC before Mariucci was hired?

I don't agree with the NFL Diversity policy and I do not agree with affirmative action. The policy was a knee jerk reaction to shut 2 people up who had their noses where they did not belong. It seems to me, the committee tried to appease the 2 people while trying not to bring pain to the GMs/Owners. It was a simple requirement, interview 1 minority. Painless right? Wrong, they did not account for the prospective interviewees deciding not to play the game and refuse interviews. Where was Cochran and the other guy when the interviews were refused telling them to go anyway? They did their good deed and split. Kellen Winslow said it is all about getting exposure for the minority candidates. Well, isn't attending every interview opportunity they way to get the exposure?

John Biles
SteelCitySports.com


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