The Ultimate Hater's Guide to the AFC North

Because the NFL season is the most wonderful time of the year...to be a hater.

Do you feel it?

No matter where you got dressed this morning, whether it be Pittsburgh or Tempe or even Mexico City, you felt a thrilling chill in the air.

Because tonight, the National Football League returns.

After seven grueling months of trying to convince yourself that baseball is still relevant and pretending to like fútbol, America’s new national pastime is back.


If I wanted to sit around and watch guys scratch their balls for five hours, I'd just go hang out at a PennDOT construction site.

Soon, perhaps even as soon as this Sunday, you will be gnashing your teeth, hurling couch pillows, cursing every member of your fantasy football squad and obliterating your cholesterol with epic Sunday football smorgasbords.


Football season. Hell yeah.

By Sunday, the Steelers’ season may go to hell in a hand basket. But for this brief moment—during the few hours that adults can still feel like kids on Christmas Eve—we can all hold onto a little bit of hope.

Hope that Mike Wallace is the league’s next elite receiver.

Hope that Dennis Dixon will win two games with his legs and one with his brain.

Hope that Bruce Arians will run the damned football.

Hope that, despite the torrential downpour of he-said-she-said, wake-and-bake and talk radio infighting that sullied the summer, the Steelers can finally put the media frenzy to bed and settle scores where it counts: in the trenches.

Think this dude gave a damn what some talk radio guy thought of him? Enough moralizing chit-chat. Let’s play ball.

But when you’re buzzing on hopium this weekend, just don’t forget the other “h” that makes football season so sweet: Hate. The NFL is nothing without a heaping helping of red-blooded American hate. So, without further adieu, here is your 2010 Steeler Nation Guide to Hating the AFC North:


The Baltimore Ravens

Why they could be good: Quarterback Joe Flacco is not terrible. Last season, he was actually a poor man’s Ben Roethlisberger. Plus, the Ravens addressed their biggest weakness this off-season by adding two talented receivers: T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Anquan Boldin. The pair have four Pro Bowls between them and will likely add 1,000 extra yards to an offense that was already 13th in the league last season.

Why they could stink: Their secondary has been decimated with injuries. Much like Troy Polamalu for the Steelers, elite safety Ed Reed makes Baltimore's defense go, but he will start the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list.

Why you should hate their guts:
Our old friend T.J. Houshmandzadeh, formerly employed by Cincinnati, has returned to the division. And his haircut is even more preposterous than Ben’s post-Milledgeville patchouli oil disaster.

 


The Cincinnati Bengals 

Why they could be good: They probably have the best cornerback tandem in the league in Jonathan Joseph and Leon Hall (who the Steelers passed on in the 2007 Draft in favor of Lawrence Timmons). Their defense, ranked 4th in the NFL in 2009, returns all 11 starters, including the monstrous Antwan Odom, who led the league in sacks before getting hurt last season. Odom could potentially turn Max Starks into a giant weeble-wobble.

Why they could stink: Let me throw some names at you: Carson Palmer. Jason Campbell. Kyle Orton. Guess which quarterback of that bunch had the worst QB-rating last season? It was Palmer, who threw for only 3,029 yards last season, averaging a piddly 6.64 yards per passing attempt. This guy has never been the same since General Von Oelhoffen valiantly rolled over on his ankle, yet some "analysts" still revere Palmer like it's 2002. 

Why you should hate their guts:
As if Cincinnati weren’t bad enough with Chad Ochostinko as its self-appointed mayor, now his long-time buddy Terrell Owens has traded in his Ferrari for a minivan and embraced the mediocre, mind-numbing lifestyle that only a city like Cinci can provide. When people from Cincinnati take a vacation, they go to Cleveland and ogle the big gee-tars at the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

Thankfully, Ochostinko and his new BFF are bringing back the height of high-fashion: silly-ass hats.


Look out, world: T.O. got a Khol's gift card for his birthday.

 


 The Cleveland Brownies

Why they could be good: There is no fathomable reason on Earth.

Why they could stink: This is face of their head coach. His expression was not Photoshopped or edited in any way:

Why you should hate their guts: Because the people of Cleveland still seem to believe they have some sort of “rivalry” with Pittsburgh. That ship sailed whenever Art Modell sold the team to cover his bingo debts. Plus, are we really still putting up with this DAWG POUND business in the 21st century?

Humanity has evolved to the point where I can order groceries online, stream movies to my TV and have my car parallel park itself, yet there are still 55-year-old Junior Account Managers out there who paint their faces like its their very special birthday and sit through a three-hour game chewing on rawhide and Purina puppy chow.


These numbnuts are going to be in some staff meeting on Monday morning yammering on about quarterly net revenues or something.

It has been a rough off-season, so feel free to take your pent-up anger out on these annoying AFC North teams. Because somewhere in Baltimore or Cincinnati, some random blogger just posted a Photoshop of Ben Roethlisberger doing something crazy in a bathroom.

Speaking of Big Ben, even though he’s been banned from attending Sunday’s game by Commissar Goodell, I have a funny feeling he will make it inside the Heinz Field gates one way or another. 

I hear he's a master of disguises.


 

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Best of the 'Burgh 2018: Readers' Choice Poll Results

Best of the 'Burgh 2018: Readers' Choice Poll Results

Diners, food trucks, dive bars and more. Here's the most popular stuff in town.
Restaurant Review: The Twisted Frenchman is an Ambitious Endeavor

Restaurant Review: The Twisted Frenchman is an Ambitious Endeavor

Andrew Garbarino moved his fine-dining restaurant into a multimillion-dollar new home. Does it live up to its new digs?
Vietnam Vets – The Warriors No One Wanted to Thank

Vietnam Vets – The Warriors No One Wanted to Thank

When veterans returned from Vietnam, they didn't often hear the phrase “Thank you for your service.” But now, Pittsburgh veterans think people are learning to separate the war from the warrior.
Sadie's Tree: A Plea for Kindness in Memory of a Bullied Teen

Sadie's Tree: A Plea for Kindness in Memory of a Bullied Teen

In an obituary read round the world, the family of Bedford, Pa., teen Sadie Riggs called out those who had bullied her and pleaded for people to be kind to one another. A year after Sadie’s death, lessons remain to be learned from her suicide.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags


The Story Behind Those Colorful Globes Downtown

The Story Behind Those Colorful Globes Downtown

The “Cool Globes: Hot Ideas for a Cooler Planet” art exhibit intends to encourage passersby to consider the effects of climate change.

Comments

The Fight for 15 Pays Off: AHN to Raise Its Minimum Wage

The Fight for 15 Pays Off: AHN to Raise Its Minimum Wage

Allegheny Health Network is the latest employer in the region to raise its company-wide minimum wage.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
What Anthony Bourdain Meant to Me

What Anthony Bourdain Meant to Me

Reflecting on the loss of a person so many of us admired.

Comments

Northeast Kitchen Brings Northeastern Chinese Cuisine to Pittsburgh

Northeast Kitchen Brings Northeastern Chinese Cuisine to Pittsburgh

Chef You Shan Pei comes to Pittsburgh after cooking in Flushing, N.Y. restaurants for 18 years.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The Five Best Spots to Get Pittsburgh-Themed Merchandise

The Five Best Spots to Get Pittsburgh-Themed Merchandise

Looking to show off your Pittsburgh love? Get your favorite city printed on basically anything at these local shops.

Comments

7 Best Pittsburgh-Area Places You Should Try for Doughnuts

7 Best Pittsburgh-Area Places You Should Try for Doughnuts

When you're craving the real deal, these local spots consistently churn out the very best.

Comments


The Other Moving Documentary About a Curious Pittsburgher

The Other Moving Documentary About a Curious Pittsburgher

In "Will Work For Views," the video artist and musician Weird Paul is a little bit Dr. Demento and a little bit Mister Rogers.

Comments

Man, There's a Lot Going on at Zone 28

Man, There's a Lot Going on at Zone 28

The relaunched entertainment complex in Harmarville is casting a wide net, with some success.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Pirates Can Be Show Stoppers if They Follow Brault's Lead

Pirates Can Be Show Stoppers if They Follow Brault's Lead

A Broadway musical about the life and times of the Pittsburgh Pirates? The idea might not be as farfetched as you think.

Comments

Olczyk Embraces Awareness, Understanding to Fight Cancer

Olczyk Embraces Awareness, Understanding to Fight Cancer

Olczyk found out last August, in the wake of a six-hour surgery that removed 14 inches of his colon and “a tumor the size of my fist,” the severity of what he was suddenly confronting.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The 400-Word Review: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

The 400-Word Review: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

The fifth "Jurassic Park" film is fun. Empty, somewhat disappointing fun.

Comments

The 400-Word Review: Won't You Be My Neighbor?

The 400-Word Review: Won't You Be My Neighbor?

The documentary about Fred Rogers' work and philosophy inspires even more wonder about the television legend who called Pittsburgh home.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Grandmother's Wedding Accessories Timely for Today

Grandmother's Wedding Accessories Timely for Today

The matriarch of the family is the perfect place to look for a meaningful something old.

Comments

Toppers That Take the Cake

Toppers That Take the Cake

Over the traditional bride and groom standing on top of your cake? Try some of these different ideas for cake toppers.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
PPG Paints Unveils 2019 Color of the Year: Night Watch

PPG Paints Unveils 2019 Color of the Year: Night Watch

Paying homage to the restorative power of nature, this deep green shade is one to watch in the coming year. Here’s how to use it on your walls.

Comments

Five Pittsburgh-Based Etsy Shops You Need to Know About

Five Pittsburgh-Based Etsy Shops You Need to Know About

From furniture to wall art and beyond, these local makers created one-of-a-kind pieces for your home or office.

Comments

Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags