I'm not the kind of guy who always sees a glass as half full. In fact, you wouldn't need look too far among those who know me well to find someone who would laugh out loud at the idea I'm a half-full guy at all. Some of that reaction is based on the character I play. Yes, I do some play acting, even among my friends. Inner Russ, the one people don't see much of, usually hopes for the best, but mentally prepares for the worst. Part of that preparation often surfaces as negative statements. Does that make me fun to be around? Probably not. This is particularly true when the Pittsburgh Steelers are involved.
I have friends who won't watch a Steelers game with me. I can't blame them.
Truth be told, I have calmed down a lot where the Steelers are concerned. Life is too short, especially from where I'm sitting, to get all wound up about something that has absolutely no impact on my world. I still wear my black-and-gold colors on most game days and watch the games when I can. My Sunday watering hole doesn't have Direct TV's Sunday Ticket. I'm not willing to forsake my normal Sunday routine to go sit in a crowded, noisy sports bar to see the game. So, unless the game is carried by my local CBS affiliate, which is indeed rare, I miss at least the first half of most of the Sunday early games.I might wander into a sports bar for the second half.
If they have the second Sunday game, as they do against the 49ers today, I'll miss the game entirely if it's not shown locally. I often only watch the first half of night games because, win or lose, I'm too amped up after a game to sleep. It takes me a couple of hours to wind down enough to fall asleep. If I began that process at 11:00, I don't fall asleep until 1:00 or so. I wake up at the same time no matter what, which means I get four or five hours of sleep, tops. That doesn't work for me.
Much of my growing indifference to the Steelers fate results from their colossal under performance the past three years. If a team doesn't have the personnel or the coaching talent to get it to the Super Bowl, well, as a fan, I can understand that. But a team populated with the veteran talent the Steelers have had in recent seasons to sputter and stall enough to either not make the playoffs or lose in the first round of playoffs, is disheartening. It's also inexcusable.
So, now we find ourselves in the 2019 season. Bell is gone. Brown is gone. Ben is out for the season. Does any of that matter? They were inconsistent as hell with those three guys playing. The Steelers couldn't get to the championship game with those three guys there and healthy. What now that we're in uncharted waters?
The good news for me as a Steelers fan is, I have no expectations. If the Steelers manage a .500 season, I will be surprised. Any win they get will be a gift. Christmas come early. I know very little about Mason Rudolph, Big Ben's backup. I was traveling last Sunday and missed the entire game. He may be the second coming of Big Ben. I don't know. Can Pittsburgh somehow get its running game together? I don't know. Can the defense find a path to holding the opposing offense to fewer points than the Steelers offense puts up? I don't know. But, I'm not counting on any of those things.
I have no expectations. Based on the first two games and the loss of Big Ben, I have envisioned a season where every game will be an up-hill slog. We can't even count on beating the Browns this season.
In other words, I am confident I won't be disappointed this season. Hope for the best and mentally prepare for the worst. Oh, I'm prepared.