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Thursday, January 8, 2015

It's Taken This Many Days to Get Over the Loss

I had the opportunity to attend the Steelers / Ravens game on Saturday night.  Now that's a day in my life that I will never get back.  Not only was the trip to Pittsburgh treacherous with ice, freezing rain then excessive amounts of rain and fog, but to have a group of loosely termed "professional" athletes perform as abysmally as the Steelers did last week, the weekend fell into the category of "why did I bother."  

I have never seen a football team more ill prepared for a game than the Steelers were on Saturday.  The defense was outplayed on almost every down, especially the long third downs when the Ravens completed almost every one that they had.  The offense clearly missed  one of the NFL's leading rushers in Le' Veon Bell, but that still wouldn't have been enough.  The offensive line couldn't protect Ben Rothlisberger and Ben chose not to throw the ball down field against the league's worst secondary.  Dri Archer became the go-to guy out of the Steelers backfield, all 5'7", 135 pounds of him (and he was stopped every time).  They resorted to the lousy Steelers from earlier in the season with stupid penalties and poor decisions on special teams.  

Baltimore came to play.  They were well disciplined and exceedingly well coached.  The Steelers had apparently been reading their press clippings for the week leading up to the playoff game instead of practicing and establishing an effective game plan. Congratulations to the Ravens; they deserved this victory.  I know that I have taken the fun out of the ability of the Ravens' fans to give me a hard time, but when your team dominates my team as the Ravens did on Saturday, you deserve to hear all of the platitudes directly from me.  

Now, there was a bright spot for humanity on Saturday evening, but it may fall into the category of too much information.  A number of rows in front of me were six Ravens' fans sitting together.  From when they arrived in their seats, they started talking trash.  None of it was in fun; these guys were thug like; both mean and looking for trouble.  My guess was that they were members of some gang.  They were  pushing  and shoving  fans  in the stands  without any regard for being outnumbered a zillion to one.

Right before the half, I went to the restroom.  The lines were long, but I still waited in line.  Behind me in line was a Steelers' fan who was trashing talk about Baltimore.  Lo and behold, who comes into the restroom, but the six gang bangers and that's when the "fun" began.  They start telling everyone in the bathroom what we could do to our mothers and what acts we could all perform on them. (Use your imagination.)  It was wild and began to escalate quickly.  The pushing and shoving started between the Pittsburgh trash talker and one of the gang bangers.  

Now for the humanity bright spot.  Three Steelers' fans immediately stepped between them and told the obnoxious Steelers' fan to leave the restroom.  They said get out and go use another bathroom.  Fortunately, he did and the situation immediately de-escalated.  This situation could have been really ugly.  A couple of hundred drunk Steelers' fans and six thugs who could have been carrying weapons of any sort.  I say that because the new security wanding process to get into the game was laughable.  There was some kid with "Security" on his jacket waving a wand in front of me with my pockets filled with an iPhone, keys, change, wallet; heck I could have had a rocket launcher strapped to my back and he would have missed it.  That wand or any wand never made a sound; some high intensity NFL security that they had there.  

Anyway, it was both a night to forget (the game) and a night to remember (the very impressive de-escalation of what could have been a really bad situation).  So, now I have to wait until next year to resume my fair weather fan status, but at least next season, I have significant justification.

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