While Steelers offseason began frustratingly on the last afternoon of December 29th, the official NFL offseason is upon us now that the Super Bowl is complete and the confetti has been cleaned up. What’s left for Steeler Nation to do with ourselves (besides read Nice Pick Cowher on a daily basis, of course) now that football season has gone into hibernation? Here is a list of things that you can do with your free time if you don’t want to tackle that crammed garage or closet that’s in desperate need of cleaning out.
Keep an eye on free agency
The Steelers are going to be forced to participate in free agency this offseason, if only to re-sign some of their players. Steelers fans will also need to keep an eye on players like Ike Taylor, LaMarr Woodley and Troy Polamalu who are not free agents but who may be either asked for a restructure, pay cut, or released to save salary cap space. The 2014 Steelers could look very different than the team we’re used to. With that in mind, that will bring me to the next item on the list of offseason activities for fans.
Do not buy new a new jersey
Unless you’re a sucker for a good deal and don’t mind sporting a Steelers jersey for a player no longer on the roster, you might want to save your cash till you know who is going to be on the team going forward. Going into purchasing a player’s jersey takes careful consideration, if you want that jersey to last. You don’t want to be one of the guys still sporting Santonio Holmes’ #10 jerseys.
Take a trip to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
Even though Steeler Nation has some legitimate beef right now with the HOF selection committee, it’s still a pretty neat experience to see the exhibits in Canton in person. The offseason is a perfect time to go, if you don’t mind traveling to Ohio. During the spring and early summer the hall hosts football clinics and all kinds of events to take in. It’s a good way to pass the time and still soak up all the football you can get during the lonely months of the NFL offseason.
Check out “Their Life’s Work”
If you’re a fan of sports biographies you’d really enjoy “Their Life’s Work: The Brotherhood of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers” by Gary M. Pomerantz, which chronicles the 1970s Steelers teams throughout their glory days. It’s a necessary read for anyone who loves the Steelers and football in general.
Get a Steelers tattoo
You’d definitely want to shy away from getting something like the one pictured, but why not show your loyalty by forever wearing the logo of your favorite football team? It’s something to do, right? I was suckered into getting a Steelers tattoo after the Super Bowl XL victory. Note to self, if you ever declare “If the Steelers win the Super Bowl, I’m totally getting a tattoo!” out loud where people can hear, be prepared to pay up at some point in your life. The only thing bad about having this tattoo is when I lived outside of Pittsburgh and got the obnoxious comments like, “Hey, you must be a Bears fan, huh?” Everyone’s a comedian.
Plan a trip to Steelers Training Camp in Latrobe
While the dates haven’t been released yet, it’s safe to assume that the Steelers will hold their annual training camp at St Vincent’s College in Latrobe around the end of July/beginning of August. The training camp experience is completely free to fans and it’s just awesome to see. I found out the hard way that I’m awful at getting autographs, but there’s plenty to enjoy about the experience even if you leave with only three signatures on your Terrible Towel.
Count down the days
Everyone loves a good countdown. You can count down the days till the Combine, to the start of free agency, to the draft, OTAs, training camp, and finally till the 2014 season will kick off. Most likely the Steelers will be kicking off on Sunday, September 7th so mark your calendars accordingly. You can also count down to the day the NFL schedule is released and to the day that tickets go on sale. So many countdowns!
Obviously, there are things like the Winter Olympics, Penguins hockey, and Pirates baseball to fill the time as well between now and the start of Steelers season. But if football is your main addiction I hope I’ve given you a few things that might be able to fill your lonely days this Spring.