Take a deep breath Steelers Nation, we have now reached “The Void.” Player resignings, free agent departures and free agent pickups, pre draft visits, mock drafts, the draft itself, draft grades, rookie contract signings, OTAs and minicamp have run their course. Now we must survive six weeks wihout football.
- For Steelers fans born in the 80’s or after, this is how the NFL offseason used to be from January to July.
Outside of a brief oasis provided by the draft, you’d be lucky to find a dozen Steelers stories published between the end of season and the beginning of training camp. Those days are long over, and even all of us have long become accustomed to round the clock Steelers coverage day in and day out.
So what is Steelers Nation to do now a serious news drought is about to set in? Here is our 6 Option Steelers 2016 Off Season Survival Guide.
1. Take a True Steelers Sabbatical
At the end of April, Ivan Cole of Going Deep: An Introspective Steelers Site shared how personal and professional commitments had kept him from following the draft and free agency on anything but a casual basis.
As Cole himself explained:
- “But sometimes you (or at least I) have to get off the train. And you know what I learned? I really didn’t miss much if anything at all.”
Let’s state for the record. Yours truly remembers the days of spending February, March, April, May, and June scouring the Washington Post and/or listening intently to Ken Beatrice’s Sports Call for even a hint of NFL, let alone Steelers-related news. I don’t miss them.
But my friend Mr. Cole has hit on to something:
- Coverage of the NFL has become a too oversaturated.
While the league certainly encourages this, some of this is a byproduct of the 24/7 news cycle paired with hundreds of millions of terabytes of webserver space that demand “content” to fill it.
As a proprietor of a Steelers website that has no plans on going dark until training camp, I do hope to see you here between now and July. But nonetheless, sometimes taking a break can be very healthy. Consider taking one. (We’ll be here when you get back.)
2. Focus on Quality Steelers Stories
There are dozens of writers who regularly turn out quality work eve in a Steelers news doldrum. At Steel City Insider Jim Wexell has promised to keep his readers, or at least his subscribes, engaged. The website Steel City Blitz favors original content over content aggregation. The aforementioned Going Deep: An Introspective Steelers Site is a site that makes a point of not chasing headlines – you can appreciate the sort of freedom that that editorial philosophy allows a times like this.
- One should assume that over on Behind the Steel Curtain, Chris Carter will continue with his film breakdowns, which are absolute must reads.
And of course, there are over a dozen or so books on the Steelers out there that should more than keep you occupied between now and the end of July.
3. Embrace the Suck and Admit Your Powerlessness over the Disease
You admit it you’re powerless. You can’t get enough of the Steelers. You have an appetite that you must feed, quality be dammed. Perhaps you might want to see option 1 above, but barring that, you’ll continue to find plenty of “fast food type” Steelers stories from now until July.
- On Behind the Steel Curtain, Tony Defeo went as far as to categorize 10 types of stories you’ll be reading.
To be fair, most of the items that make up Defeo’s list can either become quality pieces or “fast food” depending on the writer who is penning them. But the internet has taken us to a place where churning out the football equivalent of “pulp fiction” is easier than ever before.
Hence you get stories that purport to define “The worst losses in Steelers history” yet do not include a game played before 2001, save for Super Bowl XXX. Steelers.com is one site you can expect to continue to produce orginal work during this downturn, so look to their headlines, and then look to any number of sites to mimic them. Some will do it will, adding their own value, others, not so much….
4. Go All in on the Pirates
Yes, our beloved Bucos are 33-36, on losing streak and sit 15 games out of first place. But it’s only June. And, heck, at the beginning of this decade a Pirates team that was only 3 games below .500 probably would have been cause for a ticker-tape parade on Boulevard of the Allies.
Seriously, with the Stanley Cup in hand, Steelers and Penguins fans should rally around the Pirates in the hope that Pittsburgh can build some true, 3 sport momentum heading into the fall.
5. Bask in Television’s Second Golden Age
Critics like Alan Sepinwall have said that we’re in television’s second golden age. I was raised in a house with parents who didn’t watch much TV outside of the news and the 10:00 pm dramas and inherited much of their attitude.
- But Sepinwall right.
If there’s still a lot of garbage being produced, there are also a lot of shows being made now that never would have even been pitched to studios in the 1980’s or 1990’s. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, your somewhat SOL was the there’s only one episode left following last night’s Bastard Bowl.
However, if you’re not, there’s now 6 complete seasons of 10 episodes a piece…. Sort of convenient for Steelers fans looking to fill six weeks between now and training camp. If fantasy and magic are not your cup of but you somehow missed Breaking Bad, well that’s another down to earth series that NEVER would have been made in yesteryear. Check it out.
6. Focus on the FAA
Ah this one surprised you, or at least piqued your interest enough to see what the heck it was about. The FAA is the Futbol Americano Argentino association, and they just kicked off their regular season!
The league has is six teams strong and while it doesn’t exactly feature NFL caliber players, the truth is, you’ve got to admire any group of 20 and 30 something Argentines who grew up in a culture that worships futból, who strap on full pads and go at it for the love of the game….
OF course most of you live far, too far away to taken in their games, and the video section of their website doesn’t appear to be updated…. However, yours truly will most likely take in a game or two of there’s over the next month.
In a perfect world, Steel Curtain Rising would have a series of stories to roll out to fill the void. The fact is we’ve only been able to do that once, in the form of the Chuck Noll-Bill Walsh series back in 2008. Either way, Steel Curtain Rising will do its best to provide quality Steelers reading material between now and July.