Eighteen days. In eighteen days, the Pittsburgh Steelers will begin reporting to Latrobe for training camp. The 2012 NFL season will be officially underway. It’s been too long.
I apologize for my sporadic posting schedule this summer. Actually, I’m not. When you have a ton of material to write about during the off-season, that’s usually a sign that things aren’t going well with your team. My most active off-season ever was a couple years ago when Ben Roethlisberger got into a little bit of a situation down in Georgia and I’m sure nobody ever wants to see a repeat of that fiasco.
Thankfully the only big stories to occur since the Black and Gold’s unceremonious exit from the playoffs were the exit of longtime Steelers Hines Ward and James Farrior, the hiring of Todd Haley, and Mike Wallace turning into a whiny little bitch. All things considered, a fairly tranquil off-season. My updates will continue to be a tad sporadic until training camp gets underway but once they kick things into gear, so will Total Steelers. So I thank you for your patience and I hope you’re as excited about the upcoming season as I am.
Thirty-four. While the Steelers and Pens enjoyed totally forgettable seasons, the biggest story in Pittsburgh sports has suddenly become the resurgent Pittsburgh Pirates. With a little less than half the season remaining, the Bucs are a mere 34 wins away from breaking what has become one of the most painful and embarrassing streaks in sports history. With 34 more wins, the Pirates will finally break a string of 19 consecutive losing season.
But the Battlin’ Buccos are actually setting their sights higher than ending the longest sub .500 streak in North American sports history. The team is currently a stunning 48-37 and hold first place in their division. With a top notch pitching staff led by Yankees castoff AJ Burnett and an every day line-up featuring the most exciting player in baseball, Andrew McCutchen, the Pirates might have something special going on. And I think I speak for all ‘Burghers when I say, “Why Not Now?”
Confession time: the Pirates are actually my first true sports love. I was in kindergarten when the Steel Dynasty won their fourth Super Bowl so growing up, I really had precious few chances to witness the glory of living in the City of Champions. The Steelers had a couple decent playoff runs in the 80s and the Pens had Mario Lemieux but there wasn’t any true championship buzz in the city until 1990. That was the year Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla and Andy Van Slyke led the Pirates to the first of three straight playoff berths. The 1990 NLCS was the first playoff game I ever attended live (Screw you, Jose Rijos!) and the first time I obsessed over a Pittsburgh sports team on a daily basis.
I loved the Pirates and it was really hard for me to accept what has happened to them since that fateful night in Atlanta. I know this is a Steeler blog and some of you probably couldn’t care less about the Pirates but I think most Steelers fans are Pittsburgh sports fans, period. I know I am. So while we look to Latrobe and what we hope is another glorious season for boys in Black and Gold, let’s keep one eye on the goings on over at PNC Park. The Pirates may be twenty years late to the party but that doesn’t make them any less welcome.
Let’s Go Bucs! Here We Go, Steelers!