There’s been a lot of talk recently by Steelers’ players and media folks about numbers.
Can Antonio Brown reach 150 catches this season? Will the team score 30 points per game? Will Le’Veon Bell become just the third running back in history with 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in the same season? Will AB get over 2,000 yards receiving?
Admittedly, the offseason is often the time for these types of questions but at the same time I’m concerned with one number and one number only and it has nothing to do with any one individual. I’m talking about the number seven and if you aren’t sure what that refers to then leave your Steelers’ Nation membership card on the table as you exit.
It isn’t just the Steelers and the media who are bringing up the possibility of big numbers in the upcoming season. A large portion of the hyperbole falls on the shoulders of the fan base who it seems has become more enamored with stats than victories.
I will make no excuses for the fact that I’m an old school thinker in this regard. Nothing in my mind is more important than what the team does week in and week out. I’m just as excited as anyone else when Ben Roethlisberger throws for 500 yards but if it comes in a loss then it means nothing to me. If Antonio Brown racks up yet another game of five receptions and 50+ yards then that’s terrific but if it comes in a losing effort… You won’t find me celebrating.
I’m not sure where exactly our fans and media went astray from the real goal. At times it almost feels like this version of the Steelers is the reincarnation of the Dan Marino Dolphins or the Dan Fouts Chargers and that seems to make many Steelers’ fans “happy.”
You’ll recall that those teams didn’t win Super Bowl titles and right now that’s where this Steelers’ team is headed if individual glory has a pedestal higher than that of winning championships.
As I said, this is the time of year where journalists ask questions about individual goals and potential record-breaking performances but I’ve never seen that play well in Pittsburgh. I recognize that this is a different era than the one I grew up in where players truly made winning the ultimate goal. Today the money is so lucrative and so available that I find it hard to blame a player for wanting to break records and put up massive numbers each season rather than focus entirely on winning.
Still, that doesn’t mean winning and individual accolades can’t go hand-in-hand. Big numbers can equate to big wins if the priorities are in line. The goal for any Pittsburgh Steelers’ player and fan however should be earning a seventh Lombardi Trophy and nothing should come before that. Unfortunately I’m not sure everyone is on board with that these days.
Photo courtesy sportingnews.com