By Mike Longo Jr.
Kicking off the 2023 season at home was something the Steelers haven't done in several years, let alone with back-to-back home games.
The infamous home opener took on a shocking, unexpectedly unusual twist to the dismay of many. Normally, the stadium is rocking, three-quarters full en route to its usual sell-out throng during pregame warmups. It was, no surprise, just prior to kick-off was when culture shock set in.
Looking around, the normal ocean of black and gold faithful was gone, cut almost by half. Uncanny was the scene of just as many fans clad in 49ers red and white. Seems as if the Steeler faithful opted for the lore of the almighty dollar. Over half of the stadium decided to sell their tickets to the coveted "home opener'' some for as many as ten times the face value price of the ticket. Even the seats in the upper so-called nosebleed sections of Acrisure Stadium sold for as much as five times the original cost. This paved the way for the Frisco crowd to invade the North Shore, many of whom attended the Pitt versus Cincinnati college game the evening prior. Great for the local economy.
Free enterprise or the greed of the almighty dollar. What a country, this America!
Nonetheless, a view that left many long-time fans shaking their heads. If the fan base with its equal 50/50 split wasn't enough, supporters of the black and gold were talking to themselves at the game's end.
A 30-7 defeat was not what Steeler fans envisioned. Down 20-0 late in the first half on a lackluster performance by a seemingly inept offense brought out the usual cat-calls from the stands. Mainly in reference to Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada. What happened to the pre-season playbook and a wide-open offensive scheme? We replaced that with last season's old outdated inept playbook?
Forget about the 3-0 pre-season record, you can throw that out the window as the Steeler competition was far from any of the team’s actual starters. They looked good, no doubt from a team as well as an individual standpoint, however, the opponents were players with little NFL playing time and experience.
This is the regular season where the stakes are high and the bar needs to be elevated to a level of stellar play by all. Offensively, one solo touchdown in four quarters of football doesn't cut it.
Since his insertion in the starting quarterback job last season which was known as his freshman NFL year, was this the beginning of the sophomore jinx for savior Kenny Pickett? Perhaps more inept play calling from the sidelines is not the fault of the quarterback? However, execution still needs to happen by all involved.
Pickett was 31 of 46 in the passing department throwing one touchdown along with two picks.
The running game was non-existent once again. Aside from the expected outstanding play by defensive leaders, Cam Heyward, T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith, the secondary resembled a block of Swiss cheese.
A sluggish offensive output, only half of your defensive unit showing up to play equals a recipe for disaster as indicative of the final score.
Understandably it's only the first game, however, things need to change and change quickly or you can get used to more tickets being dumped to opposing fans for the almighty dollar.