How dumb can some fans be?
PITTSBURGH — Within 24 hours after the brutal Bengals-Steelers Monday night game, someone was producing t-shirts inspired by one of the jarring hits.
The shirts — unlicensed and unauthorized — had a drawing that showed Steelers rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster standing over Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict. The word “Karma” appeared in large letters.
Burfict was flattened by a block that sent him off the field on a cart and earned Smith-Schuster an NFL suspension for tonight’s game.
The moment depicted on the shirt is Smith-Schuster taunting Burfict. That reaction drew criticism from Mike Tomlin, an expression of regret from Smith-Schuster, and lineman David DeCastro’s best effort to steer the rookie away from Burfict.
Burfict has been public enemy No. 1 among Steelers fans for some time, a ranking he’s earned with repeated cheap shots. He’s shown a blatant disregard for the rules and basic professional respect for opponents.
But there’s still something fundamentally wrong with celebrating that kind of hit in a game that saw a Steelers player suffer a potentially life-changing injury because of aggressive contact. As Sam Wyche once admonished misbehaving Cincinnati fans, “You don’t live in Cleveland.”
No doubt the shirts will sell. Some people will probably buy them to give as Christmas gifts. Others will be delighted to find one of the shirts under their tree.
Sometimes there’s a blurry line between fandom and fan-dumb.
The Steelers have had almost a week to adjust emotionally to Ryan Shazier’s absence.
Beginning tonight, they move on the challenge of playing without one of their best defensive players.
They’ve had some injuries here and there this season, but haven’t had the devastating loss of a difference maker. Now that’s happened.
The defense, a strength for most of the season, has been compromised recently by Joe Haden’s absence with a broken leg.
The longer the season goes, the more health becomes an issue.
Beyond the understandable effect Shazier’s injury has had on the team’s psyche, now there’s the practical matter of replacing his production in the lineup.
Pat Narduzzi signed an extension to remain Pitt’s head football coach through 2024.
That’s nice, but it really doesn’t mean much. Most college coaching contracts don’t really matter.
If Narduzzi has great success, a bigger and richer school will come looking for him, armed with a check for whatever the buyout costs. If Narduzzi doesn’t have great success, Pitt will probably replace him before 2014. Seven years is a long time in college football.
Pitt signed Mike Gottfried to a unique rollover contract in April, 1988. It was described as a lifetime contract.
Pitt fired Gottfried in December, 1989 as the team was preparing to play in the John Hancock Bowl.
The Cleveland Browns fired general manager Sashi Brown last week. At the same time, they announced that head coach Hue Jackson would stay on the job, despite a 1-27 record in his two seasons with the team.
It really is the season for miracles.
Just one look
You start watching a high school state championship for no good reason. You stick with it because the snow is flying and those are always fun games to watch.
When it’s over, here’s the takeaway: Games move a lot quicker without replay reviews.
The Army-Navy game was played yesterday. Nobody sat during the national anthem.
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org