17
Dec
09

Can of worms, opened

"Why yes, I do sleep on an orphan-hide mattress stuffed with money and many beautiful women ... but you don't understand .... being a football player is HARD."

As I’m sure most Steelers fans have heard, Ryan Clark blasted us and the media (“us” for me, again), for being “overly critical.”

Really? Do you really want to do this, Ryan?

Well, apparently he did.

Here’s some of the highlights of his comments:

  • Clark said the unhappy fans don’t understand how much work goes into every game, and he suggested he’s no longer playing for all of them. He also said the Steelers, one of the NFL’s most popular franchises, are held to a higher standard in Pittsburgh than teams in other NFL markets.
  • “This year, increasingly, it’s made me realize that you have to play for your organization, you have to play for your teammates, you have to play for yourself, for your family, because the people on the outside don’t understand the frustration you go through,” Clark said. “They don’t understand the work you put in every day. A lot of people think we come in here and practice a couple of hours and then go out on Sunday and play this game. That’s not how it is. This becomes your life.”
  • “But the one thing I’m not going to do is be depressed. I’m not going to go home and beat my wife. You know what I mean? I’m going to get down on my knees every night and thank God for the blessings I have.”

You know, I’m a media gnome. You’ll never see my name or face in the product, but trust me, you see my work day in and day out. Here’s a clue for you, Ryan — if your work is in the public eye, expect criticism. Even we media gnomes get hit with hate mail. It’s not normally directed at us specifically —  however, the hate mail goes to our boss, who is more than happy to post it up on our Wall of Shame. Some of the letters make us laugh. Others piss us off. But you know what we do? We suck it up and move on. And trust me, we’ve used the “they don’t know what it takes” line — but hell, that excuse doesn’t even matter to our bosses. What matters is that we have a final product done on deadline, and that we did our part correctly. That’s what we’re judged on. Period.

Speaking on that first argument — that one about “fans don’t know what it takes”? Well, actually, I think we have a good idea of what it takes. You see, this is Western Pa. — we were raised on football. We were indoctrinated at a young age with the sheets, lampshades, jammies, blankets, hatred of the Browns and Bengals — in fact, everything we owned likely had a Steelers logo on it. Game time was also family time — we grew up watching the game. Into high school, we had friends, neighbors and relatives playing — we also have our college teams that we followed. So yes Ryan, we know it becomes your life … but you’ve also been groomed to do this for your ENTIRE LIFE. It’s not like you put in 8 hours at a regular job, and then go practice for 4 more after work. You study your plays, you study your schemes, you study film, you practice plays and you work hard to maintain your health.

And that’s why we expect you to know your shit. Why we expect you to be in shape and to play your hardest for 60 minutes. Why we expect you to be able to read the opposition and make adjustments accordingly. We expect it because IT’S THE ONLY THING YOU HAVE TO DO.

Let me also remind you that you are paid an ABSURD amount of money TO PLAY A GAME. If you were smart enough to hire an accountant and a financial planner, you won’t have to work a day in your life after you retire from football. But here’s something you may not know … season tickets are a “big ticket” item budget-wise for your average fan. And this doesn’t include what they spend on parking, on tailgating (and trust me, they’ll opt for the SUV solely for tailgating purposes), on buying Steelers swag. But with what they spend to watch their team play, and how much they put into supporting you and your teammates  — guess what — IT BECOMES A PART OF THEIR LIFE, TOO. That’s why they’re so hard on you, and why their expectations are so high.

Of course, having the majority of your team come back the following year after winning the Super Bowl also creates expectations. And the fact that we’ve won that championship 6 times — something no other team has done — well, that certain creates expectations, too. You know, expectations like not losing to 3 of the worst teams in the NFL, or collapsing midway through a season. That’s what happens to other teams … not ours.

Now Ryan, I’m happy you aren’t going to become depressed and beat your wife (WTF?!?). And I’m also happy to hear that you are in the last year of your contract. I’m sure the Rooneys won’t be too pleased with your rant, and more than likely, next year you’ll find yourself on a team with much lower expectations — like maybe the Browns or Chiefs or Raiders. That way, you can relax a little more, gorge yourself on bon-bons until you’re the only safety in football that looks like Butterbean, and no one will care.

That’s the funny thing … winning brings expectations. Ask the Colts. Or the Patriots. Or the Saints. Or any team that you would want to play for.

No one cares about a losing team. Ask the Pirates.

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2 Responses to “Can of worms, opened”


  1. 1 Mike
    December 17, 2009 at 9:13 am

    On a positive note, I want to say that I do support him in his plan to not beat his wife. As Mike Prisuta said this morning, “she’d probably beat him right back, down the middle for a touchdown”.

    • December 17, 2009 at 12:47 pm

      That’s awesome! ROFL!


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