View From 522: Steelers vs. Falcons

Since Gretz is a season-ticket holder, he’s going to take a look at the debauchery and insanity that takes place in the Heinz Field stands after every home game he attends.

As I mentioned on the most recent Podcast I ended up missing the first drive of the game because of a flat tire. I was driving through Wilkinsburg(!) on my way to the Pitt campus to pick up my younger brother when my tire pressure light came on. Figuring I was just low on air somewhere, I started to look for a gas station to pull in to so I could pump them back up. Before I could do that, I felt the car start to pull to the left, and when I stopped at a red light, was able to look out my window and see the front driver side tire was completely flat (It was later determined on Monday that I picked up a nail).

I’ve never actually had to change a tire before, and thanks to the help of three complete strangers on Penn Avenue (the one guy that spent the most time helping me was incredible, but I forget his name; Gus? Gary? Gerald? Something that begins with a G) we managed to get it taken care of … in about an hour and a half.  We simply couldn’t get the tire to break free no matter what we did. Kicking it, hitting it with a hammer … you name it, we tried it. The lugnuts came off rather easily, but the tire itself was fused on something awful.

Finally, after I was ready to give up and tell my brother to hop on a bus, pick up the tickets and take a friend, a third stranger showed up out of nowhere. He looked at the tire, smiled, and said “you guys are having some trouble, aren’t you?”

We were. He insisted that he could break the tire free. I told him he was more than welcome to take a crack at it, but we had been at it for probably 90 minutes and couldn’t get it to break free. He pulls a sledgehammer out, walks over to the car, looks it over, and gives the tire one solid whack right on the sweet spot … and it falls right off. Success!

He laughed and told me he worked at Pep Boys. I ended up paying all of them for their time and trouble and we arrived in our seats just as Rashard Mendenhall capped off the opening drive with a touchdown.

Other than that, it was a pretty boring night from a football/fan perspective, as is usually the case with these glorified scrimmages.

– The only thing you really want to see in a preseason game is that nobody gets hurt, and in that sense, Saturday’s game was a disappointment. Not only did Keenan Lewis injure his knee after a promising performance on defense (though, he still needs to figure out how to stay in bounds on punt coverage), Maurkice Pouncey also went down with an ankle injury. The most severe injury of them all, of course, belonged to Byron Leftwich who broke his arm while trying to scramble for a first down. He actually seemed to show some decent mobility on the play … until he broke his arm. As soon as he stood up you could see his arm seemingly hanging off of his body from the upper deck, and you knew right then and there his season was in jeopardy.

For reasons that I still can’t figure out Leftwich was booed when he entered the game. If anybody has any theories as to why that happened, I’m all ears.

– There’s really not much else to say about Antonio Brown at this point. Mike Wallace is drawing all of the attention from opposing defenses and Brown is taking advantage of it and absolutely destroying people. His first touchdown, the 77-yard catch-and-run, looked like it was going to be intercepted when it left Roethlisberger’s hand. As for what happened on his way into the end zone, well, I still have a bigger problem with him hanging off the railing in front of the stands and risking injury.

– Daniel Sepulveda jersey count: 1. Wasn’t able to snap a picture. If you see a Daniel Sepulveda jersey this season, either at the game, at a bar or on the street, and can grab a quick picture, send them in. I demand it.

– At halftime we were treated to another youth football game, this one involving kids that had to be no older than eight or nine years old. This is probably the earliest level of football that kids can play. On the final play one of the kids ended up getting booed because he shoved a kid well out of bounds. After showing a replay on the jumbotron, there were even more groans from the fans. Heinz Field: it’s a tough crowd.

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  • Anonymous

    A guy who shows up to watch Steelers at a sports bar I sometimes go to in Issaquah, WA frequently wears a Sepulveda jersey. It’s not my photo, but:

    My completely nonsensical Leftwich explanation: He’s not being booed at all, actually. It’s just that he bears a striking resemblance to Chris Fuamatu-Ma’afala, and confused fans were yelling “fooo!”

    The Pouncey injury worries me the most. Leftwich, hopefully, was never going to see the field. And even if he did, I don’t think the difference in quality between him and Dixon is that great. We’ve seen what can happen when an elite player is healthy enough to play, but is hampered by lingering injuries.

  • Rob D

    Fun read…! Cars are like sealed units now and most of us havent’ had to do much other than check the oil in years. I can’t remember when I last changed a tire..Been driving since 1975 and I would hazard a guess of 1988! They make them a tad more reliable than my original Datsun back in the day and thats a good thing. Also good to hear that the spirit of the good Samaritan hasn’t died. Lotsa good people in this world.

    I can’t imagine  why Leftwich was booed. Maybe they wanted more of Ben? Byron seems like a solid citizen type and he’s performed well despite the injuries. Who knows?

    I still can’t believe how dynamic Brown is..he’s like greased lightning. Hard to believe we were able to grab someone like him in the 6th. I think opposing D’s should be afraid. But first they should be overconfident and not cover

    Always an enjoyable read, Adam..thanks

  • Guest

    Leftwich wasn’t booed. They were showing fans on the jumbotron and some jagoff showed off his Cleveland Browns t-shirt.