When you’re standing on the football field, surrounded by the lights and near-rhythmic waves of a crowd of thousands, the horizon is never far away. Sure, it can feel that way; when the going is tough, the end zone may as well be some remote point that, however hard you try to close the gap, continues to remain just that. Closing those yards, and getting from one end to the other amidst the chaos brought by professional players is a battle few of us – even devout Pittsburgh Steelers fans – can truly imagine winning.
Still, on the football field, you’re really never more than 360 feet from the horizon. The boundaries are clear, and, in the moment of play, ambitions never need to extend beyond those clean cut parameters that have made up the professional footballer’s world for more than a hundred years. This is why we love football. As fans, we can shrink our world to the world of the player; we can exist within those boundaries together, and celebrate the highs and lows only if they fit within a specific number of yards and minutes.
Still, football is more than just the sum of its parts – or, more specifically, its games. Each historic team boasts an overarching narrative – a never-ending and continually evolving story to which each game and season contributes.
When it comes to team achievements, the horizon stretches far beyond even the widest ocean – and those instances of something truly awe-inspiring (something ready to make history for the players, the fans, and the team itself) are, for the most part rare. This is yet another reason why we love football; as fans, we have to be patient in order to reap the rewards of being patient, so to speak.
The good news is, 2021 looks like it could be a year of reaping those rewards, and of meeting a number of new milestones that will go down in the Steelers’ history books – and our own. Read more about them below.
1. Bookmakers’ Competition For Pittsburgh Fans’ Business Continues to Grow
As of 2019, online sports betting in Pennsylvania became a legal venture for bookies – and a number of leading online betting websites were very quick to obtain licenses to operate within the state. As one of the most popular sports in the country, football (and, of course, by extension, the Pittsburgh Steelers) no doubt represented a keen draw for the bookies, and a clear motivation for making their mark within this competitive industry – and, most importantly, attracting your business – as soon as possible.
The number of licensed Pennsylvanian sportsbooks remains somewhat limited, with around 10 strong competitors expected to be in operation by the end of the year, but this is considered a great advantage to fans. With the sports betting landscape in Pennsylvania still relatively small, the offerings will be incredibly competitive – and perfectly timed with the start of a brand new season for the steelers.
2. A Landmark 60 Sacks
As the start of camp fast-approaches for the Steelers, and the 2021 season draws close enough that we can just begin to make our preparations at home – stocking up the pantry, rearranging the living room to accommodate three times as many people (all of whom want the best view of the TV set) and double-checking the internet connection – and, of course, look ahead to what might (if we are lucky) end up coming to pass as the late summer gives way to fall.
If, on the other hand, you happen to be one of the masterminds at Behind the Steel Curtain, however, the June period represents an opportunity to run through plenty of scenarios for the Steelers – scenarios ranging from the likely, to the farfetched.
For us, one of the features that really stands out in their 30 Scenarios in 30 Days segment is the notion that 2021 may well be the year that the Steelers finally break beyond their existing record of 56 sacks (a record achieved in both the 2020, largely thanks to T.J. Watt, and 2017, largely thanks to James Harrison, seasons).
What makes them think that?
BTSC goes into more detail on this matter, but suffice to say that, provided they hit the average they managed last season, the addition of one game could well clinch the deal for the Steelers.
3. The Steelers Will Have their Sights Set on Sweeping the Cleveland Browns
What happened between the Browns and the Steelers needs no introduction – and definitely not to any of our readers. Even with a new season fast-approaching and ready to distract us from the highs and lows of the 2020 season, it’s hard for Steelers fans not to look back over their shoulders in anguish at what was, in all honesty, an embarrassing defeat in the 2020 playoffs.
This time around, it seems impossible that the Steelers will underestimate the strength the Browns can bring to the field again. The team’s offense has since been bolstered by a few new additions, their opinion of the Browns has (obviously) been humbled, and, most importantly, their offensive line has had a new mentality instilled within it.
With Adrian Klemm as the team’s new offensive line coach, it looks as though the players are preparing to show up to the field with a little more – how do we put this? – brute force than they may have shown before, and a decided unwillingness to be put in their places.
It is far easier to look ahead when the action is already situated on the pitch, and the boundaries are far more defined – and all the more so in the wake of the unanticipated trial posed by the Browns earlier this year. Still, looking ahead is what we, as sports fans, have got to do, and with the new season looming it is growing increasingly clear that there is plenty to look forward to. Yes, the offensive line will take some work, but the Steelers have already proven themselves ready and willing for change – and to take another decisive step toward that distant horizon.
What are some things yinz are looking forward to in 2021? Comment below!