Overreactions from Steelers Nation: Not wanting to make the playoffs

Welcome to my weekly edition of “Overreactions from Steelers Nation” a weekly column where I poke fun at fans, reporters, and so-called experts while trying to figure out if some of these hot takes are real – or just for attention.

I had a column similar to this one a month or two ago, and I can’t believe that I’d see or hear a statement so stupid: there are actually fans out there who feel the Steelers shouldn’t try to make the playoffs.

Yes, that’s right. Fans who are so upset at losing that the only thing that might please them is… to lose more?

Why on God’s green Earth would anyone ever hold such beliefs? I’ll try and rationalize it as best I can below!

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Draft Higher

This one bugs me to no end and was a part of another earlier Overreactions rant this season: why is there this general consensus that having a higher draft pick in the NFL Draft translates to drafting a better player?

I know some talking heads planted a seed that the Steelers weren’t playing well because they don’t have a bunch of top five or top ten picks all over their roster. But can someone please explain to me why they have to?

T.J. Watt was the 30th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Pick 30. Not pick 1. Not pick 2 or even pick 10.

Pick 30.

He’s the reigning Defensive Player of the Year.

Even drafting higher as to draft higher in each round is a flop of an idea, proven by this year’s draft class of Kenny Pickett (pick 20) and George Pickens (52). Najee Harris was taken 24th and Pat Freiermuth 55th in 2021.

Alex Highsmith, who leads the team in sacks with 12.0, was pick 102 in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Likewise, Javon Hargrave, now a Pro Bowler with the Philadelphia Eagles, was taken with pick 89 by the Steelers back in 2016.

Needless to say, other teams have flopped much worse with higher picks. Nothing is guaranteed, so losing for draft position is a fruitless effort, as there’s no evidence that top collegiate prospects will translate into Hall of Fame caliber pros.

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They Won’t Win A Ring

Okay, come on Steelers. You aren’t winning the Super Bowl this year. Why even try?

Yep. I came across several gems like those, insinuating they’d rather see the Steelers miss the playoffs than get crushed in a game if they made it.

It might not be fun going to Kansas City and having to face the Chiefs offense, but the alternative is also knowing your team isn’t good enough to get into the dance: which is all you need to make a run at the Lombardi Trophy.

Can you imagine someone saying this about the Super Bowl XL team with Jerome Bettis, which entered as the sixth seed, only to win it all? Sorry “Bus”, you guys aren’t very good, so don’t bother putting in the effort…

Seriously, did anyone pay attention to the Bengals last season? They made a late run, with a mostly healthy team, all the way to the big game. And they’re far from the only team to have done so, with Tom Brady’s Buccaneers teams turning the corner from being 7-5 before their bye week to winning the whole enchilada via three road games (and somehow playing at “home” in the Super Bowl) in 2020.

All you have to do is get in. Then the real games begin. (So why wouldn’t you want that chance again?!)

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Tomlin’s Career/Record

This is the one I see a lot of “right fighters” clamor for: they cannot wait for Mike Tomlin to finally have a losing season, all so they can claim he should not longer be the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In 16 seasons with the Steelers, Tomlin has posted a 161-93-2 (.633) record. He has never had a losing season, though he’s flirted with several .500 campaigns.

Because he hasn’t had playoff success as of late – last appearing in the AFC Championship in 2016 and failing to win any postseason games since – he should be fired.

What nonsense is this exactly? I’m not sure, but a lot of folks cling to it. They claim the Tomlin had Bill Cowher’s players – which is patently false aside from a handful of them. They claim Tomlin only had “good players” or “won because of Ben Roethlisberger”, so it pains them to see any form of success which could prove their (crappy) theories to be wrong.

As a fan of the Steelers, they’d prefer to have the team’s first losing season since 2003, just so they can continue to chime in on Coach T – as if he’s going anywhere, anytime soon!

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Generally Miserable People

Finally, the only thing I can figure is that some of the “fans,” who would prefer seeing the Steelers lose, are generally miserable people.

Yes, a lot of those people live in Cleveland and root for the Browns, but I’m not talking about them. (At least not today.) I’m talking about the current culture of negativity for the sake of negativity.

I can’t open social media apps or websites without seeing something negative usually within the first minute of my experience. Whether it’s sports, entertainment, or even sports entertainment, someone, somewhere, is complaining about something.

No joke though. You hear it about sports teams. (See New York’s market.) You notice it with franchises such as Star Wars or Marvel movies and shows. And if you pay any attention to pro wrestling, well, that has its own unique set of fans who fight each other on what to be more negative about!

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These types of people can’t go anywhere without it hanging over them like a black cloud. It’s as if they must be instantly gratified to 100% of their satisfaction or demand something change on a whim. Kneejerk reactions are the norm when messages travel the globe in seconds. They must have things go their way or else.

That can be a problem when a franchise, which isn’t accustomed to major changes and/or losing, is going through both this season. It has created an entitled fanbase which judges young players before they can get a full season under their belt: or demands that staff is fired on a whim. (Usually following any loss.)

They’re impatient, and generally miserable to be around. If this sounds familiar, perhaps trimming your “friends” lists is in order – and also a Snickers, should you be one of those guilty parties.

The Steelers aren’t going anywhere except up. They aren’t used to losing seasons. They don’t change coaches often. (What has it been now, over 50 years with three total?!)

And most importantly, they’re not going to start losing now to fulfil any of these ridiculous desires noted above, anytime soon.

Thanks for reading – and Happy New Year Steelers Nation.

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