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

Restaurant Review: Poulet Bleu

Restaurant Review: Poulet Bleu

Richard DeShantz steps it up with a move from Downtown to Lawrenceville and shows Pittsburgh how to make French dining fun.
Coming Clean: Why We Aren't a Green City ... Yet

Coming Clean: Why We Aren't a Green City ... Yet

Pittsburgh is no longer a smoky city, but that doesn’t mean it has cleaned up its act. Pittsburgh's air quality still ranks among the worst in the nation. What steps are being taken to reduce Pittsburgh's ongoing dependence on fossil fuels?
Ultimate Comfort Food: The Joy of Dumplings

Ultimate Comfort Food: The Joy of Dumplings

Why our dining critic thinks dumplings might be his ultimate comfort food.
Our Seven Favorite Dumplings in Pittsburgh

Our Seven Favorite Dumplings in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, of course, is best known for the pierogi. Our love of dumplings extends beyond that, however. These seven dumplings are our favorite restaurant versions of their various styles.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Mobile Service To Connect Hungry Pitt Students to Free Food

Mobile Service To Connect Hungry Pitt Students to Free Food

PittGrub app will send folks in need to events with leftovers.

Comments

You're Going to Be Upside Down a Lot on New Kennywood Coaster

You're Going to Be Upside Down a Lot on New Kennywood Coaster

Kennywood has revealed its replacement ride for “The Log Jammer” which will be located in a new portion of the park entitled “Steelers Country.”

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Pittsburgh to Host Nation’s First Black Beer Festival

Pittsburgh to Host Nation’s First Black Beer Festival

Day Bracey and Ed Bailey of Drinking Partners Podcast and Mike Potter of Black Brew Culture online magazine will bring 12 black-owned breweries to Pittsburgh in August for Fresh Fest.

Comments

A Pop-Up Bar in Pittsburgh that Serves a Sober Alternative

A Pop-Up Bar in Pittsburgh that Serves a Sober Alternative

Empath provides the vibe and social space of a bar, as well as stepped up beverage service ... without the alcohol.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The Eight Best Frozen Treats in Pittsburgh

The Eight Best Frozen Treats in Pittsburgh

Our dining critic picks his favorite ice cream, ice pop, frozen custard, vegan delight and more.

Comments

Six Underrated Kennywood Rides You Need to Try Again

Six Underrated Kennywood Rides You Need to Try Again

Leave enough time in your next visit to Kennywood to revisit some old favorites and these underrated gems.

Comments


National Aviary's New Renovations Make it Essential Pittsburgh

National Aviary's New Renovations Make it Essential Pittsburgh

It's time to add the National Aviary to the list of local favorites you visit again and again.

Comments

Stop Using Uber and Lyft, Renting a Bike is Better

Stop Using Uber and Lyft, Renting a Bike is Better

You'll save money and have an easier time hopping between neighborhoods on a Healthy Ride bicycle.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Pirates Are Still a Long Way From a Hollywood Ending

Pirates Are Still a Long Way From a Hollywood Ending

Despite an 8-1 winning streak going into the All-Star break, the Bucs are in desperate need of a sequel, not only to win back some credibility with fans, but also to convince their owner not to sell off more pieces of the team.

Comments

Compelling World Cup Worth a Periodic Embrace

Compelling World Cup Worth a Periodic Embrace

The competition is as fierce as the fans are passionate and both can be appreciated without a firm grasp of the details.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The 400-Word Review: The Equalizer 2

The 400-Word Review: The Equalizer 2

An unnecessary sequel to the Denzel Washington action flick arrives for a quick beat-em-up fix.

Comments

The 400-Word Review: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

The 400-Word Review: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

The sequel to the 2008 ABBA musical is far from perfect, but might have enough charm to keep you on board.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Perfect Proposals that Flashed Back to First Dates

Perfect Proposals that Flashed Back to First Dates

Return to your roots before your relationship blooms into a beautiful marriage.

Comments

I Do, Now Let’s Have Some BBQ

I Do, Now Let’s Have Some BBQ

A five-course meal doesn’t fit with every wedding. These laid-back couples opted for casual — and delicious — cuisine perfect for their outdoor and barn receptions.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Wow Factor: Empty Nest Inspires Timeless Makeover

Wow Factor: Empty Nest Inspires Timeless Makeover

When her last child graduated from college, Ingrid Meenen did something she had been wanting to do for 20 years — renovate the first floor of her Upper St. Clair home.

Comments

Head to the North Hills for Two Blooming Garden Tours

Head to the North Hills for Two Blooming Garden Tours

The Wexford Garden and Pond Tour and the Southern Butler County Garden Club tour both take place this weekend.

Comments

Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags