I am a bit melancholy today on two fronts.
I wasted nearly two hours yesterday watching the Steelers being humiliated by the Baltimore Ravens. It was only two hours because I had to stop watching at the end of the third quarter.
I have an agreement with the Steelers: I will watch them as long as they don't waste my time. If they are playing with heart and aren't totally embarrassing themselves, I'll stick by the TV win or lose. They met neither criteria yesterday.
I have seen the Steelers hit the locker room at half time two touchdowns down, as they did yesterday, and still win the game. At half time yesterday I thought it unlikely they could come back and beat the Ravens in the second half, but stubbornly held on to some hope.
A characteristic of Steelers play is that almost no points are scored against them in the third quarter. Usually if an opponent puts more than three third-quarter points on the board, they take the game. The Ravens scored 11 points in the third quarter. There was no denying at that point that all was lost.
Fumbles and interceptions haunted Pittsburgh. It was a comedy of errors, but I wasn't laughing.
It was a terrible start by any yardstick. They were spanked pure and simple.
A Steelers buddy sent me a stat that this was the Steelers worst opening-day loss since the 35-7 shellacking delivered by the Cowboys in 1997. The Steelers went on that year to win their division and earned a spot in the AFC championship game. I am not encouraged. Not only are the Ravens in the same conference, they are in the same division.
But one game does not a season make. Next week it's Seattle at home in Pittsburgh.
Usually the Monday after Labor Day marks the first trail ride at Eatons' Ranch in Wyoming for a bunch of buddies and me. It's an annual event. This is the first time in 10 years we passed on it.
It is a week of riding, drinking and telling lies that I look forward to all year. The big photo of me at the top of the page was taken on the porch of Big Graham, the cabin I stayed in for eight of the nine years I was there.
Eatons' is a family-owned enterprise and the oldest guest ranch in the country. It's the sort of place people return to year after year.
We haven't been feeling the love the past couple of years and just needed a break.
I'm sad we missed it.