PITTSBURGH - The sweetest moment of any NFL season came Thursday night.
That's when players walked off the field after the last preseason game, ending the sham of the games where the only reality is the ticket and concession prices.
After four preseason games, the only tangible impact on the Pittsburgh Steelers is negative, as in the number of players who sustained serious injuries while playing for nothing. The staff could have made 90 percent of the personnel decisions after one game. Todd Haley's new offense is still under wraps because nobody ever wants to show what they're really going to do when the games count.
The preseason is all risk and no reward beyond the money banked from making the games mandatory for season ticket buyers. Of course, there are those unique Edmund Nelson insights like, "You need linebackers who can play," which he dropped the other night.
The season opener is just a week away against Peyton Manning in Denver. So now the clock is running until that first magical moment when Haley and Ben Roethlisberger start yelling at each other on the sideline.
It's about time.
No rushing attempt
The Pirates' involvement in some minor brushback incidents raises this question: Doesn't anybody charge the mound anymore?
It wasn't that long ago when every other "SportsCenter" included footage of some aggrieved hitter rushing to the mound to instantly avenge a pitch he judged to be too close.
Now it never seems to happen, which means players must consider the exercise as passe as consistently hustling down the line.
What is Root Sports' fascination with showing everything but the game? The other night, Pedro Alvarez hit two home runs, and there were almost as many shots of some guy in the stands dressed up like Alvarez.
There were shots of the camera operators one night, just in case anyone thought there couldn't be anything more useless than the static views of the announcers in the booth during the game. The Pirates are playing their first meaningful late-season baseball since 1997. Let's see that instead of every kid who's making a mess of cotton candy.
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.