No team feeds on the hatred of its doubters more than the Pittsburgh Steelers.
It's like they know. It's like they can hear it around the country and then they somehow find a way to come back. It's like their sustenance.
As soon as the message boards fire up, as soon as the Facebookers and Tweeters start making cracks about the team and how they're going to lose, they find a way to win.
Look, I am a Browns fan. Do I like seeing the Steelers win every year while we become more and more an exercise in futility? Of course not.
But I'm not going to rag on the Steelers. Why? Because they win consistently.
And I'm also not going to rag on the Steelers because it doesn't do any good. I'm convinced it just makes them play better.
Here is a little transcript, names omitted of course, of friends of mine on Facebook as the game went on. These are taken verbatim in order from kickoff to the end of the contest:
"God do I hate the Steelers! One bad penalty call (uncatchable?) one no call (late hit on Reed) and now it's 7-0! Hate em!"
"Let's go, Ravens. I loathe the Squealers."
"Buahahahahahahaha. Redding was the only player that got the memo - play til the whistle blows."
"Pittsburgh looks like Cleveland. Pretty funny."
"Loving the Ravens game right now!"
"Go down black and yellow!"
"Steeler Nation Game over!"
"LMAO! All quiet in Steeler nation."
"here we go raven... here we go woo woo."
And then the same people after the Steelers started mounting a comeback.
"Now it's actually a game. Attention Baltimore: the other team has showed up. Steelers, I still loathe you."
"Hope they still lose."
"joe flacco is not very good."
"Interesting calls in this game."
"Great. Now I've gotta cheer for Tom Brady next week."
"Steelers got lucky again."
"I hate you Pittsburgh."
"go ravens. oh wait ..."
And there you have it. Next time you find yourself wanting to hate on the Steelers in a social network, public place or even in your own living room, please refrain. That way they just might lose.
E-mail B.J. Lisko at firstname.lastname@example.org