Pittsburgh Steelers: Losing Is Uncharted Ground

By Jeff Hartman
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers fans are spoiled. There is no way around that fact. The team that owns the most Super Bowl titles in NFL history has a fan base that proclaims that fact from the mountaintops as much as they possibly can.

However, Steelers fans haven’t had to endure many rough patches in the past 15 years. The last time the Steelers had a losing record was in 2003 when the Tommy Maddox led Steelers finished with a balmy 6-10 record. 10 years have passed since a losing season for the Steelers, and their fan base is wondering what went wrong. Well, a lot went wrong, but it’s simple in terms of the fan base:  welcome to reality.

The Steelers have been one of the most successful NFL teams since the NFL / AFL merger, and that is something that is often taken for granted. In a world where there are still NFL teams that have failed to even reach a Super Bowl, Pittsburgh has won six and played in eight. There are teams that haven’t had a winning season in 10 years, and the Steelers haven’t had a losing record in 10 years.

All of that leads to fans that can be spoiled, too quick to judge and also too quick to turn their backs on the team. When I attended the Steelers game vs. the Chicago Bears in Pittsburgh I had great seats to watch the Steelers gift wrap a 17-0 lead to the Bears. This was all in the first quarter, and I saw Steelers fans leaving the stadium. No, not going to the bathroom, and not going to get an adult beverage. They left Heinz Field.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. Fans were simply walking out on their favorite team in the first quarter. That is simply unacceptable in my book.

The fact remains that if Steelers fans are the fans that they claim to be, then they will not turn their backs on their team. I am not saying that Steelers fans can’t voice their displeasure about the team that they root for. I do that enough for the entire fan base, but what I am saying is that Steeler Nation needs to realize that this bump in the road isn’t the end of the world.

If the Steelers don’t have a magical turnaround up their sleeves, they will be ending this season with a losing record.  I can actually hear the Steelers’ bandwagon getting lighter. Think one losing season in 10 is bad? Try being a Cleveland Browns fan. Try being a Jacksonville Jaguars fan. Try being a St. Louis Rams fan.

One bad season doesn’t signify the end of the world. Remember, it could be worse and as so many Steeler fans always remind me, “we have more rings than anyone else!”  Be happy for that and stand by your favorite team through both the good and bad.

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