What exactly did the Steelers win over the Ravens at Acrisure Stadium last Sunday really mean? How will we see it in a few years when we look back?
- Will it be a turning point for the Kenny Pickett-era?
- Or will be an example of “On Any Given Sunday” at work?
Today, there’s way to know.
There is one thing we can be certain of today: Sunday’s win against the Ravens marks the point where hatred for Matt Canada reached surreal levels.
And no, this veiled “Give Matt Canada more time” plea. This is different.
Canada Hatred Reaches Surreal Level in Steelers Nation
Matt Canada comes from a long line of unpopular Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinators. Its part of the job description.
But Matt Canada stands in a class of his own. He’s charting new territory as this Twitter (or X) exchange reveals:
Sorry no dice.
I'm a #Steelers fan. I want them play well.
I hope the defense pulls off a miracle.
And I hope that today Pickett plays well, the offensive line improves and "Canada's offense clicks."
— Steel Curtain Rising (@SteelCurtainRis) October 8, 2023
Andrew Fillipponi isn’t some random fan who happens to have a large X following, he’s a credentialed member of the Pittsburgh press – at least he’s not making a pretense of journalistic integrity.
By the time the game was over, Andrew Fillipponi’s tweet drew 217,900 views, 1,333 retweets and 1840 “Likes.” You can see how my numbers stack up (Gracias Gus por collaborar con tu RT!)
So let this sink in: Going into the Ravens game fans weren’t focused on the rivalry or the AFC North lead, but hoping things would go so badly that Rooneys would be forced to break a 90-year precedent and fire a coordinator midseason.
This boggles the mind.
Joe Walton was a bad offensive coordinator. The 1989 Steelers had breathed life into a nascent Steelers Nation. In 1990 Walton’s stumbling, overly sophisticated offense sucked the oxygen out of the room.
Did I want Chuck Noll to replace him? Sure. I thought Dick Hoak would have made a great in-season replacement. I even toyed with the idea of writing Noll a letter and suggesting it (ah, to be a naïve teenager again.)
- Yet, I always rooted for Steelers to win, and for Walton’s offense to ‘click.’
Ditto Ray Sherman and Kevin Gilbride (and Bruce Arians and Randy Fitchner). But I guess that makes me old school.
From Surreal to Sublime
Let’s call a horse a horse: For most of the afternoon the performance of Matt Canada’s offense strengthened the case for his dismissal. Sure, a wily-eyed optimist could say that unit was making baby steps before exploding for the Kenny Pickett to George Pickens hook up.
- But at the end of the day this was yet another one touchdown game for the Steelers offense.
With that said, Kenny Pickett seemed to get better as the game progressed. He made tough throws to convert 2 third downs on that drive and then audibled when he say the Ravens were in zero coverage and about to bring the house. Pickett made them pay by hitting Pickens for a 42 yard TD.
Yet many Steelers fans STILL felt compelled to find fault with Matt Canada:
When you start using displays of emotion or lack of emotion as evidence of what someone is doing, you’ve fallen off the edge. If he celebrated, you’d say it was because he was trying to take credit for it. https://t.co/gvlbWLu5zs
— Neal Coolong (@NealCoolong) October 8, 2023
Excuse me? When did the measuring stick for an offensive coordinator shift?
Funny, I always thought you’d judge an offensive coordinator on total yards, Red Zone and third down performance, time of procession and, get this, whether the Steelers have more points on the board than their opponent does when the clock strikes zero.
- But apparently that’s not the case.
Apparently the best measure of an offensive coordinator is his facial expressions after a big play….
I supported the decision to bring Matt Canada back. And I’ll man up and say I was wrong. This isn’t the first time nor will it be the last. The Steelers offense has been terrible in 2023. The progress they showed late last season looks like a mirage.
But I’ll root for his offense to succeed because when it does, the Steelers succeed. And when it performs poorly I’ll criticize Canada, based on the X’s and O’x and not on his non-verbal behavior in the coaching booth.
That’s the way things should be. Shouldn’t need to be said, but I guess it does.