The Steelers got spanked by the Bills on Sunday to the tune of 38-3. Every facet of the game was poor, from big time passes given up, catches that should have been made and field goals blown astray by a gusty Buffalo wind. Pittsburgh are officially in a slump, and there is no light coming from the end of the tunnel. If there is any bright spot from this clusterfuck of a game, it is the connection between rookie Quarterback Kenny Pickett and future star receiver George Pickens. We’re going to be hearing “Pickett to Pickens” for a long time to come in the NFL. The former Georgia standout was used sparingly over the first 3 games of the season but has emerged recently as Pittsburgh’s top offensive weapon. To date he has 17 receptions for 250 yards – however, the revelation of these high performing first year players will do little to comfort the Steelers fandom, who are now facing the prospect of a first ever losing season in the Tomlin era.
Enduring tough losses and poor performances comes with the territory of being a fan of any team, not just in the NFL. It’s particularly tough though when it’s on a constant basis. You can live with a bad game here and there, so long as they don’t start becoming part of the team’s culture. Once losing becomes a habit, then you’re in trouble. Often in the middle of a slide of defeats, especially those that are one sided, players heads and energy levels will drop. It’s frustrating to watch, but this is when they need their fans the most. Sometimes you just have to take the L with your team.
As a football fan, you endure incredible highs along with often interminable lows. You feel the joy of every last – gasp victory and the sting of a final second defeat. Accepting that inevitably there will be losses is part of being a supporter. It’s what you signed up for the day you chose your team. And if you’re a diehard supporter, you’ll stick with your team throughout the lows. These lows could last for years (especially if you’re a Jaguars fan.) You just have to have faith in your team and pray that their circumstances improve and they reverse their fortunes. Taking the loss with their NFL team is something every football fan has experienced at a point in their life. Some more than others. Periods of success or otherwise come in cycles. Take the Patriots as an example: On either side of the Brady era, they are a very average team. (35 – 34 all time.) There is no doubt in my mind that they can become high achievers again. But it’ll take time. To build a roster and let their young QB develop. The New England faithful are acutely aware of this and will have to suck it up for a few more years.
Being a football fan can be both incredibly rewarding, and astonishingly challenging. But that’s part of why we love this game and love our teams. And why we stick with them in tough times.