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You can take your Kenny Pickett hate receipts and stick them somewhere

“Don’t think for a second I (or others on here) will forget all of those people that have trashed and slandered KP8 this past season and this whole off season. That dude is a winner. And when he becomes the man next season, I have receipts #Steelers”

If you know me as a writer, then you understand that certain words and phrases irritate me: “Draft capital” is a phrase I despise. “Tell me you don’t know blah, blah, blah without telling me you don’t know blah, blah, blah” is like nails on a chalkboard for me.

“I have receipts” is also on my bleep list of things that people say thanks to groupthink and thinking they’re oh-so-cool.

What does that even mean? You’re saving the receipts. You got receipts. What are you going to do with those receipts? Anyway, these “receipts” are usually saved up and stored away by people who are aware that other people have been critical of a player or a team. I have yet to see anyone do anything with these receipts. Do they include them on their tax returns? Do they use them to toilet paper the houses of the haters?

With that in mind, you can imagine how I feel about people who save the hate receipts for Kenny Pickett, the Steelers quarterback who is preparing for his third season in that role.

Beyond the Blitz, whose tweet became the intro of this article, is one of those people with Pickett hater receipts.

I thought that was dumb when he posted it last Monday, and I told him so. This led to another Tweeter and Pickett cult member, we’ll call him Steelers Mark because that’s his unironic name, chiming in and asking me how many touchdowns I’ve thrown from my couch.

Not many less than Pickett, sadly.

That’s why so many Steelers fans have also turned into Pickett critics over his first two seasons. It’s not because we’re haters who want to see him fail. It’s because he’s failed a lot in his attempt to go from first-round pick to first-rate starting quarterback in the NFL. Heck, I’d settle for a second or third-rate starting quarterback. Had Pickett even been that through his first 25 appearances, while also showing signs–some signs, any signs–of potential to be more, I would be pretty darn optimistic about his future.

And I was after Pickett’s rookie year. Did he do much during his first season after making his professional football debut in Week 4 of the 2022 campaign? Not really, but he did lead those two game-winning drives at the end of the season. While Pickett didn’t throw many touchdowns (seven), his interceptions dropped considerably after the bye.

We feasted on the passes he completed in the final minutes against both the Raiders and Ravens in Weeks 16 and 17, respectively. You remember the game-winning drive against the Ravens, right? It was like Pickett’s coming out party. And that touchdown pass at the end, the one where he rolled to his left and found running back Najee Harris in the end zone? People don’t normally want Cris Collinsworth, NBC’s color analyst for the penultimate game of the Steelers 2022 campaign, to talk at all, but he compared Pickett’s ability to throw on the move to Patrick Mahomes’s ability to throw on the move. 


Then, we had the 2023 offseason, which included Pickett’s noticeable physical development thanks to his relentless work ethic and a continued desire to be the best quarterback he could be.

Pickett looked sharp throughout the 2023 training camp. He looked even sharper in the preseason, leading the offense to five touchdowns in as many drives.

And then the regular season started….

Anywho, Pickett only threw four interceptions during his sophomore year. Unfortunately, he also threw just six touchdowns in 12 games before his season was effectively shut down due to an ankle injury that he sustained on December 3, as well as Mason Rudolph’s shockingly good play over the final three regular-season games.

Pickett has attempted 713 passes in 25 career games and has thrown just 13 touchdowns. His touchdown percentage (1.9) is the lowest since the AFL/NFL merger in 1970.

He’s thrown more than one touchdown in a game once.

Furthermore, the tangible evidence that Pickett will improve just hasn’t been there through two seasons, save for a drive here and a pass there.

If you want to hang your hat on some passes and the fact that Pickett has orchestrated six game-winning drives, that’s fine.

But we need more.

If you want to place all of the blame on Matt Canada, Pickett’s offensive coordinator until he was mercifully relieved of his duties on November 21 of last year, that’s up to you.

But I’m not buying it.

Offensive coordinators are just that, they’re not puppet masters. Yes, some are better than others, but can a bad one be so incompetent that he’d make a quarterback look as horrible as Pickett has through two seasons?

For the record, I have no bias against Pickett. I’m actually a Pitt fan. I was happy when the Steelers drafted him in 2022. I want to see him succeed. I have no agenda, other than I want my favorite football team to do well.

I like individual players, but not so much that I lose all objectivity, and Pickett has been objectively bad through his first two years.

OK, back to Steelers Mark. We had a little back in forth on Twitter, and during our “discussion,” he said he was going to expose me as a non-ball-knowing fraud and coward when Pickett emerges as a franchise quarterback.

Wow, that is dramatic. I’m not sure what Mark means when he says he’s going to expose me. To quote the great Chandler Bing: “Are you going to show me my clothes?

Oh, please, Steelers Mark, don’t threaten me with elite-level quarterback play from Pickett. I don’t think I’ll be able to handle it. All of those touchdowns and wins? My life would be miserable. You mean to tell me Pickett will lead the Steelers on a playoff run and possibly a berth in the Super Bowl? I might be shamed into leaving the country.

OK, enough of that. Back when I was a kid, and the Steelers were trotting out one mediocre passer after the other, the fans focused most of their angst on the quarterback. Sure, it was irrational, but at least they could point to results.

Pickett would have been the most hated guy in Pittsburgh in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. But this is a different time, one that I don’t understand. Fans are still irrational, even many who hate Pickett. As for the fans who defend him at all costs?

What the heck is up with that? Why? What’s in it for you? It’s weird. I mean, how much satisfaction can you derive from blindly following a horrible player, just so you can say, “I told you so” if he finally succeeds at his craft?

Are you just in it for social media clout?

Trust me, you don’t get any brownie points for insisting that a player will one day be great, even if zero evidence points to that.

And you’re also not necessarily a hater for criticizing a player when his performance is worthy of it.

We’re all prisoners of the moment, and Kenny Pickett is a bad quarterback at this moment in time. Maybe that will change. I sure hope it does. I’ll be cheering as loudly as anyone.

As for your receipts? Why don’t you take them and stick them somewhere?


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