Images Courtesy of CSN
So after sitting in the rain for 2+ hours leading up to and through kickoff, I was able to take in a pretty decent game last night. It felt good to be back in the old seats, and despite the obvious lack of character at FedEx, I did feel very at home. However, before we get to the football aspects of last night, I’m going to take a few paragraphs to paint a picture of last night’s game environment for you.
According to Steinberg, the crowd was about 60-40 in favor of the home team. I would tend to agree. I did see a lot of stupid yellow towels, but they were definitely outmatched in terms of cheers when the teams were introduced. My section probably had about the same ratio, but there were certainly some interesting sights before and during the game. I did spot one dude in a DeSean Jackson Eagles Jersey with a Steelers Super Bowl Champs hat down to my left (I would have snapped a picture but it would have been a little TOO obvious). The Steeler fans were VERY antagonistic towards the Redskin fans, and the Redskin fans did not back down. There were a few fights, and a few tongue-lashings, but nothing too major. Every argument ended in the same six-fingered gesture from every Pittsburgh fan (see item #3 from yesterday). By the looks of them, it didn’t seem as though some were even capable of counting to six, so I came off mildly impressed.
Don’t get me wrong…Steeler Nation can be very dedicated and very loud, and I commend them for that. However, coming from a rabid fan base in Blacksburg, I know that there are certain ways to handle being a group of crazy fans. First of all, Pittsburghers cheered louder when the Steelers ran out for their opening drills, they drew some solid cheers and a good smattering of boos. However, they cheered at least twice as loud when the team started stretching...WHAT? They seemed to cheer for really stupid things (hence my tweet that they act like they’ve won a championship when Hines Ward bends over to tie his shoes), and don’t cheer at the right times. I cannot count how many times they added to the crowd noise when they were on OFFENSE and trying to call/run a play. If they’re going to be loud and obnoxious, at least they could channel it into disrupting the opposing team’s offense. Speaking of their intelligence, two guys in the front of my section decided they were going to fly a Steeler flag, but the first 3-4 times they put it up to wave it, they held it upside down. When a nice gentleman in a Clinton Portis jersey decided to point out their mistake, one of the gentlemen decided to jump into a towel waving clinic, yelling and cussing while gyrating his hips and twirling his cool yellow towel. Needless to say, he looked VERY intimidating and badass.
This leads me to Mrs. Quiet Steeler fan sitting in front of me. Keep in mind that I know I can be very loud, and very obnoxious when provoked, but I was not even that dialed in last night (after all, it was only preseason). I did not have a drop of alcohol in my system, nor was I cussing or using offensive language. My meanest comments during the game were “Six and Pitts don’t rhyme!!” and “Go back to Pittsburgh.” At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the middle aged woman sitting the row in front of us (and a few seats over) decided to pipe up after my “wow, you can count to six” comment. She turned around and said “Can you please SHUT UP?! I’ve had to listen to your crap all game!” After posing the fact that I wasn’t being obscene, she told me that she wanted to “enjoy the game in some peace and quiet.” Peace and quiet. At a professional football game. Right.
She then tried to say that I hadn’t said cheered for the Redskins at all and that I was rude, and I proceeded to remind her that she was an opposing fan in a different stadium, not at Heinz Field, and if she had a problem with it she should go back to Western Pennsylvania. She then admitted that she was actually from DC and then threw up a “talk to the hand” before I could retort. Misha and I spent the rest of the game cheering as loud as humanly possible in a positive way for the Redskins, and I think it made her ears bleed. Awesome.
Now outside of the circus in the stadium, there was actually a football game, and these were just a few of my observations:
- Jason Campbell was not sharp, but I’m not ready to write him off after at least two of his plays were blown up by Troy Polamalu. One of them was a breakup that only Ed Reed and Adrian Wilson could have duplicated.
- Chase Daniel has a firm grip on the number 3 spot over Colt Brennan right now, and Brennan looks almost lazy and bored in the pocket. His interception was terrible.
- Brian Orakpo is the real deal, and he looked much faster in person. He’s got a great motor and has a bright future, especially with that group in front of him playing the way they did.
- Speaking of the D-line, Haynesworth ate at least two blockers on the first series, and was VERY disruptive overall. Jeremy Jarmon also had a great motor and was consistent in giving the Steeler offensive line a handful.
- Kevin Barnes had a great pass breakup in the third corner and looked good in coverage most of the night.
- Justin Tryon is still terrible.
- Marko Mitchell has to be the clear #5 wide receiver. I haven’t seen the Redskins complete a fade pass for a touchdown since…well probably Art Monk.
- The third and long defense was terrible, just like much of last year, and our linebackers did not do a good job of dealing with Dennis Dixon’s mobility.
- DeAngelo Hall had no business drawing a flag for unnecessary roughness when he hit Heath Miller about .02 seconds after the ball passed by him. Surprise surprise, a Wahoo can’t take a hit from a Hokie, even in the NFL.
- The run game looked really solid overall, and the coaches have a tough decision to make with regards to who to keep. Dorsey and Mason both look solid.
- Nice bounce back game Fred Davis, one forced fumble and one touchdown. Guess you can’t fumble when you catch it in the endzone!
Overall I was very encouraged by the performance, and I think that they’ll continue to improve. The effort and energy levels weren’t in the same league as last week, and they really came out to play last night. The offensive starters are expected to play AT LEAST the first half next week, and could go longer. We’ll really get an idea of where they stand after Friday.
I’ll leave you all with my mini-feed posts (which were live tweets from the game) and responses from Steeler fans. It got a little out of hand to say the least.
Me: i wonder if anyone's told burghers that 'pitts' and 'six' don't rhyme
Steeler “Fan” #1: Well, apparently, nobody told you that in the dialect of American English spoken in southwestern Pennsylvania, and parts of northern West Virginia and southeastern Ohio, which is related to the older Appalachian dialects, which have, in turn, developed less than other US accents due to longer geosocial isolation, and are somewhat more related to ... Read Moreolder Scots and Irish than either group is to modern American English as far as vocabulary and intonation, the phoneme groups ``ts'' and ``ks'' are often conflated, such that ``Pittsburgh'' would be pronounced similarly to ``Pixburgh''; it is from this that ``Sixburgh'' became popular; in that dialect, they actually would be considered to rhyme. But if you wish to be culturally insensitive and politically incorrect, that is okay, too; I find that being either can often be a source of amusement.
Wow…take a breath and get a life. I’ve never EVER heard anyone from Pittsburgh legitimately say Pixburgh, and if they did, I think I’d hit them. I bet anyone that says Pixburgh would come off something like this.
Me: steelers fans act like they won the super bowl when hines ward ties his shoes
Steeler Fan #2: Uh, I'm pretty sure we did win the SB. So...you can have the preseason game.
Congratulations on not getting the joke. Oh and I’ll take our 42-31-3 all-time record against Pittsburgh.
That’s about all for the recap. Hopefully you all didn’t have to put up with as much crap as I did last night, but it was still fun to be back at FedEx nonetheless.