Thank goodness the Stillers got their butts kicked by the Patriots. I was worried there for a while. We Pittsburghers can't get a break. Our destiny is eternal mediocrity.
If you accept this premise, then you understand the danger of the Stillers actually heading to the Super Bowl. If the Stillers had won, Pittsburghers might think there's a light at the end of the tunnel. We need to be cold hard realists.
Interestingly and perhaps pathetically, our collective psyche is tied to the success of the Stillers. It ought to be tied to the success of the Pirates, who would serve as a more accurate metaphor for the region.
I'll give outgoing Mayor of Doomsville, Tom Murphy, this much: He took some chances. He threw a couple of Hail Marys ... the Fifth and Forbes project, the stadiums, the Lazarus deal. Two out of three were disasters, and the stadiums' impact is debatable. But at least he didn't kick a field goal on fourth-and-goal-to-go.
When did Coach Cowher become Coach Cower? Sure, he had every reason to believe the Steelers couldn't move the ball two inches, much less two yards. But down by two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, almost on the Patriots' goal line, and you kick a field goal? You don't have to be Bill The Freaking Genius Belichick to figure that one out. As numerous other know-nothing football geniuses like me have pointed out on talk radio, to make up the 11 points we would have needed another field goal AND a touchdown AND a two-point conversion ... the rough equivalent of going for it on fourth-and-two. Hellllllooooo????!!!!!!!!
Ah, that's me -- your typical whining 'Burgher, still stuck in the past. And as I say, it's a good thing we lost, because we should not get our expectations too high.
There's a new mayor a-comin', and he's going to work wonders. There'll be tons of new investment and the kids won't leave town any more and we'll appreciate what we have and there'll be racial harmony and Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson will play "Ebony and Ivory" at half time and Michael, in the new spirit of good will, won't even molest any children. I can dream, can't I?
How pathetic has this town become? Instead of legendary hockey announcer Mike Lange being able to "buy Sam a beer and get his dog one too," Lange is now buying drinks only for himself, and he's accepting charity beer from the dog. Of course that's the NHL's fault, not Pittsburgh's. But can't we start a buy-the-Langer-all-the-free-beer-he-wants fund?
If you're a newcomer, perhaps you need some handy tips to understand how to get along here. Here then is a newcomer's guide to mediocrity ... fitting in in the 'Burgh.
First, don't have any new ideas that require approval of the town's gray old wise men. You can go down to the Duquesne Club and blow them one by one, but they like only their ideas, and they don't care about yours.
Second, be grumpy. Bitch, bitch, bitch. People will immediately assume you're a native, or at least a kindred spirit.
Third, when driving, tailgate like you don't want to live forever, and maybe not even a few more minutes.
Fourth, thou shalt have no other God before the Stillers.
Fifth, drink heavily.
Sixth, and perhaps most importantly, lower your expectations. You can't be disappointed if you expect mediocrity.
That's why I'm extremely relieved that the Stillers were stopped before they went too far. Now I'm looking forward to the predictable gee-he-looked-like-a-good-quarterback-last-year-why-does-he-suck-this-year phase. And who didn't enjoy Plaxico -- inexplicably pronounced Plexico (don't you wish you could catch someone early before they start mispronouncing their own name?) -- bitching about not getting the ball enough after dropping a TD pass? And then he had the balls to add, "It's Pittsburgh, which speaks for itself. They're not going to change. I'm not going to change. Three or four balls just doesn't suit me very well." Good luck in Baltimore, Plax.
How very Pittsburgh is it that the one who's bitching the loudest played such a key role in fucking it up?