A common cliche attributed to NFL fans is that “the most popular person on the team is the backup quarterback.” When it comes to fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers, only an insane few would like to see Bruce Gradkowski behind center. No, when it comes to Steeler Nation, the cliche needs modified a bit. To them, the most popular coach on the team is the ex-offensive coordinator.
When Ken Whisenhunt was here, we couldn’t wait to bring someone in who’d turn Ben Roethlisberger loose. When Bruce Arians was in charge, there was endless bitching ( from me as well) that he threw too much and they needed to get back to Stiller Football. Now Arians is gone and to read Twitter, you’d think he was the most beloved coach in Black and Gold history. Meanwhile, his successor, Todd Haley, takes most of the blame for the team’s inept performance.
Deadspin is the sporting world’s version of the National Enquirer. From a couple having sex in a JerryWorld bathroom to Bret Favre‘s penis, no story is too tawdry for them to publish. Yesterday, they received a scoop from some yinzer who evidently ran into Haley at a bar on Saturday night.
Let me start by saying I love 90% of Steeler Nation (and Pittsburgh sports fans in general). By and large, they are some of the most loyal, most passionate fans on Earth. However, there’s that 10% of yinzers who are precisely the kind of idiots that people point to when they make fun of Steeler fans.
The guy(s) who sent that story into Deadspin clearly belongs in that 10%.
These guys were at a wedding in Upper St. Clair (where else?) and afterwards decided to hit up a bar where they would run into Haley. Now this isn’t necessarily a big deal. My cousin, who’s a few years older than me, remembers seeing Jim Leyland drinking beer and smoking cigarettes back when he was manager of the Pirates (and smoking in bars was legal). I never heard bad stories about Leyland because fans were courteous enough to leave the man alone.
Alas, these morons were by their own admission hammered so they proceeded to pester Haley. The first point of “controversy” occurred when one of them asked for Haley’s autograph. Evidently, the father of one of the poster’s fiancee is a Chiefs fan(?) and was offended because Haley signed the napkin “Chiefs Suck! Go Steelers!”
First of all, the Chiefs not only fired Haley, they treated him pretty badly towards the end. I don’t blame him for being bitter. Secondly, score points with your fiancee’s father on your own time. It’s not Haley’s job to share his rooting interests. In fact, why are you even marrying a cornfed Kansas City girl in the first place?
Then these bros decided to kick it up a notch by taunting Haley using such creative trolling as, “Hey, Haley, what plays are you calling tomorrow?” Clearly we’re dealing with some CMU graduates here. When their loudmouth dickish behavior got to be too much, Boss Todd came over and allegedly told them, “stop being gay.”
Without getting all PC on here, if that’s true it’s not a very nice thing for Haley to say. One would hope we’ve evolved passed using “gay” as a slur. Then again, I’d also like to think the NFL would be above using an ethnic slur as the name for one of their teams. Guess liberalism hasn’t quite reached Roger Goodell‘s ivory tower.
If the incident had been caught on tape, Haley would probably be facing a hefty fine. As it is, we only have the word of some drunken fool. I don’t necessarily doubt he said it, however. While KissingSuzyKolber has great fun in depicting Boss Todd as the real life version of Bill Paxton’s used car salesman from True Lies, I have no problem believing Haley’s actual personality isn’t that different from the parody.
The only part of the story that does concern me is the time line. According to the poster, they arrived at the bar at 12:30 to find Haley already there. When he had enough of their idiocy forcing them to beat a hasty exit, it was 1:30 a.m. I realize not every coach has the Belichickian work ethic to be thinking about football 24-7 but I’m not sure pounding back brews until the wee hours the night before a game speaks well of your dedication.
Besides, if I was going to get a hammered, I’d wait until after watching the Steelers comical attempts at offense…