Cross-ing Over To Respectability - By Neal Coolong
Steelers Fever Exclusive Editorial
|Last night, I was Eliot Loudermilk. I was the guy being kicked around by Corporate America (and the Great Frank Cross). In case you don't happen to know the greatest Christmas movie of all time (Scrooged), I'll culture you.
Loudermilk (Bobcat Goldthwait) is the guy who stands up for goodness and compassion in Christmas, and only gets fired for his effort. Cross (Bill Murray) has Loudermilk fired after he mentions that Cross' satanic promo of the TV network's version of A Christmas Carol he runs is a bit offensive. Loudermilk's wife left him, a lady died after watching the commercial ("It was probably something she ate," says Cross) and Cross continues to rule his employees like a king.
In the end, Loudermilk comes back to the building with a shotgun, and in his drunken rage, looks to shoot Cross, who has since turned into a decent guy, a la Ebenezer Scrooge. Back to the point.
I had already written a column with anger and malice coursing through my veins. "There's no way Troy Polamalu is going to the Pro Bowl," I thought. Not enough big game exposure, Ed Reed over in Baltimore is the only safety people talk about, his name is too long, I had several reasons. The media, friends, co-workers, idiots in chatrooms and web postings were all Cross-ing me. No one gives Pittsburgh any respect, why should the most ego-driven honor in the NFL be any different? They were going to shun TP, and the rest of us, from the League's All-Star game simply out of disrespect to Pittsburgh.
Like Loudermilk, I held my emotions in, waiting for the right time to unleash it.
Anti-Steelers-Friend Chuck (who really didn't appreciate his name being written on a Steelers web page, forcing me to print it again) was Cross-ing me all day at work. "Polamalualualulau isn't a Pro-Bowler. Just face it," he emailed right before lunch.
I was so mad my homemade Roethlis-berger didn't sit so well in my stomach. In true Loudermilk fashion, my keyboard was my shotgun. My rage my alcohol. I came up with some analogies to explain how I really feel about Reed, and I doubt the good people at SteelersFever.com would even print it. I was firing away. Shooting at everything. I even took multiple shots at Chad Johnson (ok, it sounded crazier before I wrote it down). The column was riddled with insults; my targets with buckshot. Then, they Cross-ed me again. Instead of meeting my column with scoffing and a general demise like I had planned, I was completely taken aback. Listed as the second safety on the AFC side was none other than the Smokin' Samoan. The former bust first-round pick turned playmaker. "The Guy With the Hair," as Anti-Steelers-Friend Chuck calls him. And look at that! Center Jeff Hartings is there, too! And Hines! Joey! Big Nasty Faneca! Soon-To-Be-Defensive-Player-of-the-Year James Farrior! It wasn't just TP graduating from Loudermilk status, it was the whole team. Individual respect.
The exchange of emails with A-S-F-Chuck
NealYep, you're right. Not gonna be a Pro Bowler. They negotiated advertising with Pantene for the game, right?
ASFThat or people are just f-ing stupid.
NealNo, really, who do you think will win the game? I need to make some money. You're obviously tuned into this stuff.
ASFHe's not that good.
NealThat's not what Carson Palmer says. Or Tom Brady. Or Donovan McNabb.
ASFHe didn't play Culpepper.
NealYou're right. He'd be starting if he did.
NealThe Steelers won't beat the Vikings.
NealYa know why? Only one of those teams is playing in January.
ASFPolamalalaualaulauau sucks. So does Roethlisthistlsberger.
NealIf letters in their last names equaled wins, they'll take at least 12 in a row. Oh wait?
ASF then went off on an X-rated tirade that would put Denis Leary to shame regarding the Steelers playoff chances, Roethlisberger's ability, Porter's "Boot" and my girlfriend.
Then it hit me. We're still being Cross-ed. We're still Loudermilk. Even with a 13-1 record, an AFC-high six Pro-Bowlers, home-field advantage in what is going to be one of the toughest playoffs ever within our grasp and players who step up every week, we're still denied any chance of post-season success by any fan outside Steelers Nation.
I say so be it. Steelers Nation will be Loudermilk. This week, Baltimore is Cross. Haters are only putting shells into the chamber. And unlike the movie, Steelers Nation has good aim.