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A Letter From the Editor: Let your guard down Steelers fans

In our own unique way, we are all guarded.

Guarded with loved ones.

Guarded with our work lives.

Guarded in every day life.

It’s natural, and absolutely appropriate to protect yourself from potential dangers, some are physical while others are merely emotional. Guarded nonetheless.

I can’t speak for other people, but there are plenty of areas in my life where I build walls of protection, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are one of them.

Crazy, right? Why would anyone need to built a proverbial wall around their feelings about a professional football team. A team they have absolutely no control over the outcome of games. For me a lot of it has to do with the nature of my job, but not just the fact I cover the Steelers in a multitude of ways, but how vocal I am about the team.

The Steelers are a large part of my life, and when the team wins, so do I. The opposite occurs when the Steelers struggle. Take last season’s 2-6 start to the season as an example. Did the slow start stop me from rocking the black-and-gold wherever I went? Absolutely not. Did it stick with me to the point where I certainly hesitate when thinking about the 2023 season? You bet it does.

During the Ben Roethlisberger era fans everywhere knew the team had a shot. No matter the opponent. No matter the make up of the roster. Didn’t matter because the Steelers had a franchise quarterback. When Roethlisberger retired the organization was sent to football purgatory. A state of limbo where nothing was certain about the future.

Stalwarts resided all along the defense in Cam Heyward, T.J. Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick, but where was the quarterback? Who was the quarterback??

Entering the 2023 season it appears the Steelers have their guy. Kenny Pickett showed the clutch gene fans grew accustomed to in the 7-2 finish to the 2022 season, and in the preseason has indications of being much more than a quarterback who can orchestrate the occasional two-minute drill.

With Pickett at the helm, the future looks bright, and that’s something Steelers fans haven’t been able to say since No. 7 hung up the cleats for good. But Pickett still has a lot to prove. Expectations are high, but one thing I’ve decided to do this season is to let my guard down. To allow myself to enjoy the games and the development of this team. In no way am I expecting perfection, there will be peaks and valleys along the way, but to allow myself to be hopeful.

Is there a chance this team lets me down? That they cut me deep?

It wouldn’t be the first time. Anyone who follows the Steelers knows plenty of pain which has been associated with the team for as long as they can remember. But the goal is to enjoy the good times more than I do linger on the bad. To see the 2023 Steelers glass as half full, and never half empty.

This is the last weekend without NFL football until February. Buckle up and prepare yourself for another 17-game marathon.

Time to put on those black-and-gold glasses and enjoy the 2023 Steelers.

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