For one day, at least, Steelers fans got to turn all those frowns upside down.
The recent study by two Emory University professors that described Steelers fans as the most negative in the NFL certainly would surprise no one around these parts, especially not if they have followed this season at all.
The study, which was based upon an analysis of Twitter messages following games, also found that Steelers fans were the second-most “unstable” in the league.
The deviants who root for the Oakland Raiders came in first.
Guess that makes sense.
Being “unstable” in the study basically meant that those particular fans felt “high highs” and “low lows” after their teams’ games, feeling great after wins and distraught after losses.
(As opposed to fans who feel depressed after wins and joyful after losses, apparently.)
It was high highs for Pittsburgh for most of last night, as the home team claimed a 30-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in surprisingly easy fashion.
It helped that several defensive starters (Geno Atkins, Leon Hall, Terence Newman) who were on the field for Cincinnati’s 20-10 win in mid-September did not play yesterday, with several more Bengals getting hurt last night.
But the injury-riddled Steelers certainly did not feel sorry for them, nor for old friend James Harrison (who sustained a concussion), jumping out to a 24-0 lead and basically ending this one before halftime.
It was a marvelous first quarter, one of the best in franchise history, with all three phases of the game clicking. Especially the special teams, where the Steelers excelled (Antonio Brown’s 67-yard punt return for a touchdown) and the Bengals were the Bungles (fumbled snap by the punter, fair catch mistake by their punt returner).
It was 21-0 after just 15 minutes and, during the break between quarters, a local military hero returned from overseas and surprised his family on the field as the fans chanted “USA! USA!”
Perfect first quarter, indeed.
While there have been several recent comebacks from around that margin throughout the NFL, the Steelers never had to break a sweat as Shaun Suisham’s three field goals (25, 45, 26) kept the Bengals at arm’s length the rest of the way.
Well, had Cincinnati converted that two-point attempt with 5:46 remaining in the fourth quarter … never mind, this is an all-positive column for a negative fan base.
The win kept the Steelers’ playoff hopes mathematically alive, particularly if you fully comprehend all the varied complexities of both integral calculus (in order to figure out the improbable math involved) and molecular biology (so that you know what it means to be alive.)
Yep, with wins at Green Bay next week and then in the finale against Cleveland at Heinz Field, combined with about two dozen other games breaking their way, the Steelers could still be playing in January this season.
So we’re saying there’s a chance, Steelers fans.
(Steve Treu covers the Steelers for The News.)