Some people are fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers. This 2021 Defector NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here.
Your team: CRY, MOTHERFUCKERS. CRY.
Your 2020 record: 12-4. First in the AFC North. LET’S SEE HOW IT ENDED!
This was the most fraudulent 12-4 team in NFL history. I watched these Steelers storm out of the gate to an 11-0 start and I was like, “Well that’s just fucking great. I’m living through a pandemic. I haven’t seen the inside of a restaurant in nearly a year. My kids may never sit inside a classroom ever again. Every playground is cordoned off like a fucking murder scene. The Supreme Court is gonna overturn the election. And now THESE FUCKING GUYS are gonna go 19-0. WHO THE FUCK DIED AND MADE YOU KING, GOD? YOU BEARDED PIECE OF SHIT. FUCK YOU AND FUCK YOUR MOM.”
Well guess what? God heard me, and realized that he was being way the fuck out of line. And then he STRUCK DOWN these dead hard shitbags with the kind of righteous vengeance you expect from an elite Lord.
After that 11-0 start, Pittsburgh got their jocks handed to them at home by a WFT quarterbacked by one-legged first mate Alex Smith. They lost to the Bengals in a game where Ryan Finley passed for 89 yards and Cincinnati was able to exact tangible revenge for JuJu Smith-Schuster dancing on their hallowed logo. In fact, the Steelers had to come all the way back from 24-7 down to the Colts in Week 16 just to avoid closing out the regular season with a five-game losing streak.
And then they got fucked back to the Bubby Brister years by Cleveland. In back-to-back games. Can we see that bad snap again? Let’s.
God, it’s so good. For the entirety of this century, Steelers fans have justifiably laughed at the idea that they have a “rivalry” with the Browns. Well guess what, Pittsburgh? It’s a rivalry now. The Browns hung four touchdowns on the Steelers in the first quarter of their wild card game, let them close to within 12 points in the second half, and then let Nick Chubb drop the hammer:
Lemme tell you something, Steelers fans: NO ONE felt bad for you after that loss. No one. The whole goddamn world was rooting for Cleveland to plant you in the fucking earth, and that’s exactly what Cleveland did. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200. Go directly to Hell, where you belong.
Your coach: Mike Tomlin. This is Tomlin’s 15th season and he’s never had a losing record. Unless you’re a Steelers fan, in which case he’s gone 0-16 every year. Maybe they should hire Brian Kelly to whip these boys into shape.
Matt Canada—who did a legitimately great job cleaning up DJ Durkin’s mess at Maryland only for the Terrapins to immediately fire him—is your new offensive coordinator. Canada replaces country music legend Randy Fichtner, and will quickly find out that no offensive coordinator is ever good enough in this city. Steelers fans love to complain about their OC even more than they love to complain about Tomlin, and that’s a high bar.
Do they have a Guy on the coaching staff? Ike Hilliard is your wideout coach, and there are few Guys I like remembering more than failed Gator wideouts: Hilliard, Reidel Anthony, Chris Doering, Jacquez Green, Reche Caldwell, Jabar Gaffney. It’s its whole own genre of Guy. An absolute joy.
Your quarterback: Bryson DeChambeau’s father.
The cycle of “Ben ends the season in bitter fashion, isn’t sure if he wants to come back, but now he’s back and is totally ready to go!” begins again in earnest. I hope he dies in a snowmobiling accident.
To back up the city of Pittsburgh’s prodigal inmate, the Steelers signed WFT washout Dwayne Haskins, who is somehow less promising of an alternative than Duck Hodges was. Haskins currently has the edge over helmet-throwing practice target Mason Rudolph for the backup job. “Mason Rudolph vs. Dwayne Haskins” sounds like something that should be on the undercard of a Jake Paul fight.
What’s new that sucks: Virtually the entire offensive has turned over. Center Maurkice Pouncey retired, so now people can stop pretending he wasn’t best friends with Aaron Hernandez. David DeCastro was released into the wild after suffering chronic bone spurs in his right ankle and will likely retire because, unlike Ben Roethlisberger, he has some measure of graciousness. Tackle Alejandro Villanueva went to go respect the troops for the hated Ravens. What’s left is a line ranked 31st in the league heading into 2021. Former Charger (you’re already laughing) Trai Turner, ranked 79th at his position a season ago, was its biggest offseason addition.
Back in the day, the Steelers could make up for shoddy line play by having Roethlisberger drop back to his own end zone, execute his patented nine-second pump fake a dozen times, and then find an open Heath Miller exactly one yard past the sticks. But guess what? Fatty McFatfat isn’t young enough to pull that shit anymore. When the pass rush comes for Roethlisberger in 2021, it’s not letting him slip away.
Meanwhile, the run game is still a shambles. Former Bama stud Najee Harris was drafted in the first round to make up for the loss of James Conner and to dodge every unblocked 3-technique sure to be coming his way. Harris is both talented and personable, which means he’ll be run out of town the second he asks for a new contract. The only Harris this town finds relevant is Franco, who thinks Jerry Sandusky actually had some good ideas.
Despite being one of the worst defenses in football a year ago, the Steelers let Bud Dupree walk to the Titans and they won’t give Joe Haden a contract extension. This is because they plan on giving TJ Watt $700 million to play every defensive position AND to succeed Roethlisberger at quarterback.
What has always sucked: HERE WE GO TRASH FANS HERE WE GO!
If I have one regret in life, and only one, it’s that I couldn’t witness Steelers fans watch their Super Bowl hopes get obliterated, in person, at home, by Baker Mayfield. Would have been a perfect mask-off moment for this city and the towel eaters who call it home.
I fucking hate these fans. The Steelers bar in any American city is always that city’s worst bar. Anyone at the airport wearing Steelers garb is a mortal lock to delay your flight for two hours by refusing to adhere to the airline’s mask mandate. They all cling to Mister Rooney’s dick like it’s a security blanket, and it’s not even the ORIGINAL Mister Rooney’s dick. They blame the coach for everything but gleefully absolve their cinder block of a GM for never drafting a viable successor at QB and treating free agency the way your dad treats a push-button ignition: nothing but confusion and anger. They forgive their most unlikable players faster than the court system does.
This is what you deserve, Steelers fans. You deserve to watch your team continually rebuild around an aging, indifferent shithead of a quarterback and have it go absolutely nowhere. You deserve to have your head coach privately despise all of you. You deserve a running game that makes the ’90s Jets look efficient by comparison. You deserve a home field as well kept as fucking Grey Gardens. You deserve to live through an extended era where the Browns own your shit. You deserve all of that. Fuck you. DIE.
You still can’t beat New England when it matters.
Ratto says: Is Ben Roethlisberger 17 times more fun than Ben Roethlisberger 16 times? Now there’s a question to make your guts churn for an extra week this year. Then again, it’s the Rooney Way. You either work 25 years, retire to go do TV, or die. BEST NAME TO HEAR ON TV: Isaiahh (yeah, two H’s) Loudermilk.
What might not suck: This organization has an assembly line of kickass wideouts who draw the ire of the crowd the second they show up to a game wearing fancy cleats. I fear and respect those wideouts. I fear and respect NOTHING else here.
HEAR IT FROM STEELERS FANS!
The only thing worse than having the face of your franchise be a sexual predator is having the face of your franchise be a sexual predator who can’t play for shit anymore.
Anyone else get “I ALONE CAN FIX IT” vibes from Ben these days? He’s gonna call a bad route and get Juju killed out there.
The Steelers have won three playoff games in the past ten years. The quarterbacks Pittsburgh beat in those games: AJ McCarron, Matt Moore, and Alex Smith.
We’ve somehow convinced ourselves that Ben’s decrepit nutsack was a better option than literally any of the other QBs that were in the draft or free agency. The extended era of 4-13 seasons when the Browns, Ravens, and Bengals kick our asses for a decade is gonna be awesome.
They alienated two amazing players in Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown to keep Ben happy. He will throw 45 interceptions this year and our racist fanbase will still call for Mike Tomlin’s head.
We have a fat old QB with a grey dick who has the mobility of Chris Christie and who can’t throw more than eight yards downfield. We have nothing resembling an NFL offensive line to protect him.
Do I understand that a football team needs an offensive line and a quarterback with a functioning arm? Yes, duh, of course. Did I rabidly defend selecting Najee Harris in the first round? Also yes.
I want the Steelers to trade for Myles Garrett so he can finish what he started internally without getting suspended.
Green Bay got down on their knees to beg their NFL MVP-winning quarterback to come back for one more season. We told our old, fat, dead-armed husk of a rapist QB to take a hike, slashed his pay, gutted the entire o-line and he STILL won’t go away.
The Antwon Rose Jr. tribute was the one genuinely noble thing this team has ever done, and it took all of one game for shithead Alejandro Villanueva to take a dump on it. Fuck this team.
These Yinzer mouth breathers get more upset over the Jesse James catch not being ruled a catch in a Week 14 game of the 2018 season than the fact that Ben is washed and shit the bed at the end of last season. Mason Rudolph definitely called Myles Garrett the N-word.
Our offensive line is terrible. Our QB is a porn-addicted alcoholic who looks like he’s 49, not 39.
Pittsburgh’s a very conservative place and changes slowly. We were the last 8-track market in the country, and they still delivered milk everyday when I was a kid. The Steelers have the same problem with their roster.
I love the city of Pittsburgh, it has lots of green space and is incredibly underrated, but when I visited Columbus I realized we’re just east Ohio in the same way Philly is just west Jersey.
Part of me would love to see Roethlisberger die on the field like a wet sack of potatoes. But then they would rename the airport after him instead of Mr. Rogers.
I am so tired of the pierogi-loving racists getting on their knees for Captain Fat Fuck. I pray to whatever football god that will still listen to me that this team finally suffers a sub-500 season after putting up with early and embarrassing playoff exits for the past decade. Online and mobile sportsbooks are picking up steam across the country, so let me hit everyone with a couple of sure-fire, can’t lose, bet-the-house-on-the-Steelers-opponent betting nuggets:
1) If the Steelers travel west
2) If the opponent has a sub-500 winning percentage
3) If the opponent has a star TE
4) If the opponent can defend against the Bubble Screen, either to an RB or WR
We’ve won three playoff games from 2011 to the present. That’s all we got out the last decade of Rapey McGreypenis at QB surrounded by a laundry list of All Pros and Pro Bowlers all over the offense. It took our fabled franchise seven years to rebuild the defense, and when they finally got that straight, the offense could no longer throw a pass successfully farther than like three yards at a time.
We still get talked about as a top flight NFL franchise, despite that we actually have fewer playoff wins than the fucking Texans over said last decade. Our high watermark was dragging a bad roster to the 2016 AFC Championship game and immediately getting pantsed for a career game by Chris Hogan.
The team should have drafted Big Ben’s replacement in 2018 and that should have been Lamar Jackson.
If you have a losing record and the Steelers come to town, they’ll make you look like the Brady-era Patriots.
If they get into a third-and-long scenario, the Steelers will throw a screen. I get up to refill my soda because I know a punt and a commercial break is coming.
The new breed of Steelers fan acts with all the arrogance of a Cowboys fan with the entitlement of a Patriots fan.
About ten years ago, I was walk-of-shaming home after a cocaine and alcohol-fueled evening with a special lady friend I met at the bars. At about 4:30am along the way, I ran into Mike Tomlin. I said “good morning, Coach,” and he responded with “Good morning, son.” We haven’t won a playoff game since. I blame the blow.
For 12 weeks it looked like Ben would pull off some Elway-esque late career run. Instead he transformed into late-stage Tommy Maddox.
I’ve spent over a decade rationalizing why it’s OK to cheer for him. After he suffers a season-ending injury I’ll get to rationalize why it’s OK to cheer for Dwayne Haskins. This assumes he hasn’t been cut after a scandal involving a Hooters waitress and a 52-gallon drum of buffalo sauce.
We drafted a punter with the same physique as Chris Farley. He is currently the most promising player on the roster. I legitimately believe he will be our second highest passer by yardage and first by QBR this year.
In 2006, when I was 13 yearsold, my dad surprised me after school one day by saying we were going to the Monday Night Football game between the Steelers and Jaguars in Jacksonville. It was the first NFL game I ever saw live.
We drove about three and a half hours from South Carolina to Jacksonville that day. Rural, teenage me was excited and starstruck by the sights and sounds of… Alltel Stadium. Now, keep in mind this game was played soon after Big Ben had his appendectomy. I wasn’t prepared for the Steelers playing like they were given Ben’s anesthesia gas.
The game ended with a 9-0 Jags victory. My first NFL game saw no touchdowns scored and three field goals kicked by Josh Scobee,who would later fuck the Steelers in a different way. I haven’t forgiven them since.
IC Light is terrible.
I love my brother. Not just because he’s family, and my twin, but because he’s a smart, thoughtful, decent, helpful guy. But he’s also a Stillers fan, which means talking with him about football is a lot like having a relative who’s a QAnon follower. Here’s hoping I can convince him to forego a road trip to Heinz Field until Pennsylvania finds a way to hide vaccine doses in Primanti Brothers sandwiches.
Each offseason we get treated to round 74 of the absurd saga in which our dipshit QB goes full Favre for a few weeks while the team and city literally beg his fat ass to come back and throw more picks. Then he does, like always, and for some reason he’s treated like some kind of demigod. Joe Flacco has a better playoff winning percentage and playoff TD/INT ratio than Captain Fat Fuck, but you’ll hear Steelers fans quite seriously argue that he’s better than Tom Brady. Existence is pain.
After the smoke clears, my dumb ass develops Stockholm Syndrome and gets excited about our draft and the two special teams free agents the Rooneys are willing to sign for $32.50 because I have nothing better to do with my life. You know what? Maybe Coty Sensabaugh IS the answer at corner! Then a few randos light up camp and the preseason, the excitement builds, and the regular season rolls around. It’ll probably be the exact same movie we’ve seen since 2010. We all know how it ends but we convince ourselves it’ll be different this time because reasons.
The team pads their record with a handful of nail biter wins against awful teams. Tomlin reverts to running prevent as his base defense by Week 8 because that one time we played man coverage we allowed Jarvis Landry to score a TD on third-and-goal or something. Every single linebacker gets hurt by Week 12. Piles of locker room drama pop off and the T A K E S come rolling in because angering Yinzers equals free clicks. Then the players start calling out the takes too because they’re totally well-adjusted adults in a highly functioning locker room. A skill position player asks the team to pay them fairly and they trade him for half a container of laundry detergent and conditional 2026 seventh while converting the cap space into another burger bonus for Lord Ben.
Finally the team limps into the playoffs after going 1-4 down the stretch and finds themselves down 35-0 because Ben turned the ball over four times in the first seven minutes. The defense gives up after the second score while the staff insists on playing our DBs 40 yards off the LOS as if it’s time to protect a lead. We punt on third-and-inches from our opponent’s 35 just to be extra safe. The game ends in a 45-35 loss after Ben and JuJu score a bunch in garbage time and the Pittsburgh sports media calls it a gritty almost comeback that cements Ben’s legacy as the best to ever do it.
And sure enough, the team does the exact same thing again a year later.
The fans give themselves the reputation of being knowledgeable of the game while being no different than any other fan. The only difference is they walk around like they have a headset around their shoulders. They talk to you as if on they’re the sideline.
The standard is the standard: a vague, nonsensical phrase vomited all over press conferences, comment sections and message boards. It sounds like something someone would say if they forgot the standard.
Mike Tomlin is great. Fans still want him gone immediately and swapped out for any resumé featuring a pair of mildly aged New Balances and a mustache.
Roethlisbeger put out a docu series called Bigger than Ben, which through three episodes mentions no other team members other than Ryan Switzer.
The Steelers and our fans should be treated as the St. Louis Cardinals of the NFL because *waves arms at everything.*
Ours is the most ignorant fan base and pool of local sports media figures in America, and we have convinced ourselves that this team is Super Bowl caliber, which is not surprising considering we collectively read at a fifth grade level and consider Skoal and Sheetz a part of a balanced meal.
Our expired human meat pie of a QB will undoubtedly be shredded to bits behind the worst O-line he’s ever had, leaving either another verified racist or verified dumbfuck under center. Half the team hates Juju for having fun online, which is a pittance compared to the percentage of the fanbase who feels that way. Najee Harris is a ray of sunshine in the backfield that will undoubtedly be over-utilized and turned into pierogi filling by time his rookie contract is up (see: Connor, Bell).
On defense, TJ Watt is in a contract year, which means he will either suffer a catastrophic injury or continue to play so well that the brass won’t blink an eye to let him walk next year. Replacement level dudes, who you will never remember five years from now as “guys,” are filling in gaps left by real talent (see: Dupree, Mike Hilton). Joe Haden is aging like he’s on an M. Night Shyamalan beach. Finally, defensive coordinator Keith Butler remains woefully unprepared for any offenses employing their TEs as pass catchers, which is, at the time of this publication, every other NFL team.
Our fans still inexplicably believe in “The Steeler Way,” meaning FA’s magically improve upon signing, and everyone on the D-line would work in a steel mill for fun if only they had the opportunity.
We are a mouth-breathing MAGA amorphous blob of a fanbase who will all die due to fracking chemicals in our water, and we deserve our yinzer purgatory of a football team, as well as each other. Go Stillers.
Submissions for the Defector NFL previews are closed. Next up: Los Angeles Rams.