As the league waits to hear what the salary cap situation will be in the 2021 NFL season, the Pittsburgh Steelers have begun to re-work contracts of current players to clear room, including Cameron Heyward. They even started talks with Ben Roethlisberger about bringing him back. But they’re still over the cap. And 20 guys set to hit the free agent market come March 17th. And they have no idea how much additional space they’ll be gaining.
So, now what?
But wait for what? Wait to see how a then-39 year old Roethlisberger will play? Wait for an upgrade on the offensive line? Wait for a fresh running back? Wait to see if Matt Canada can run the offense more efficiently?
Yes. We wait.
Is it even possible to get excited about a season when there are this many unknowns? For Steelers fans, the answer is always a resounding (and forceful) yes.
It doesn’t matter if our franchise quarterback is pushing 40 with a bionic arm. It doesn’t matter our offensive line was the human equivalent of a block of Swiss cheese last season. It doesn’t matter our run-game was invisible. It doesn’t matter we have yet to see what Canada is capable of. None of it matters – because we thrive on this. We come alive in uncertainty and under national scrutiny. No one believes in us, except us. The delusional few who have no reason to believe this team because they’ve given us every reason to doubt, we emerge from slumber induced by yet another embarrassing playoff exit and pronounce, “THIS is the Farewell Tour, THIS is the last hurrah, THIS is the season they win it all.”
But we know it. And we don’t mind it. Because this team, for all the distress they put us through, has given us a hell of a lot. From six championships to Sunday afternoon traditions to screaming at TV’s, they’ve granted us traditions and superstitions and moments spent among tens of thousands of like-minded maniacs screaming Styx songs at the top of our lungs.
Because, let’s be real – there’s a good chance Roethlisberger fails to get a third Super Bowl in what will likely be his last season in the NFL. There’s a good chance they won’t fix the offensive line, won’t find an answer to what else is plaguing the run game, won’t have the long-term hire at offensive coordinator they’re looking for.
There’s a good chance this team goes 10-7 or 11-6 and limps off quietly into the night like most of their seasons have ended as of late.
But for us, it doesn’t matter. We take good news for what it is – good news. Heyward restructured his contract to make more cap space. That’s all that matters. Roethlisberger is probably coming back. That’s all that matters. They know the issues they have to address. That’s all that matters. They replaced Randy Ficthner. All that matters.
You get the point.
The Steelers are classic heartbreakers. But we don’t care. We’ll keep coming back for more, because we know what more there can be and how much fun it is to win.
So, now what?
Now we wait.