Tim Benz: Picture these Steelers at Super Bowl media night
Pittsburgh has been in a football depression since the Steelers lost to Jacksonville in the AFC playoffs.
Now the rest of America should be depressed, too. Because it missed out on the moment the NFL season was building toward: the Steelers on Super Bowl media night.
Forget the actual Super Bowl. This was going to be the biggest attraction of the season!
This news generating machine called the 2017-'18 Steelers could've been on display for the country to watch with all those microphones and reporters getting a full hour of unfettered access. On top of that, the players would've entered the stadium with that tingling feeling that, on media day, you are kind of expected to say something headline worthy.
Ha! Like these Steelers would have needed the prodding.
Since we couldn't live it for real, here's how it might have went down:
“Good evening everyone, I'm Rich Eisen. Welcome to NFL Network coverage of Super Bowl Opening Night here in Minneapolis. Deion Sanders is with Le'Veon Bell.”
Sanders: “Thanks, Rich. Le'Veon, congratulations on that AFC championship game win against the Patriots in Foxborough.”
Bell: “ I appreciate that Deion. But it only happened because I got 55 touches in one game like I should've gotten in Week 5 against Jacksonville.”
Sanders: “Good point, Le'V. Hey, speaking of…”
Bell: “Hold on, Deion. I gotta send out a tweet about how we are looking past the Eagles in the Super Bowl so we can get ready for ‘Round Three' versus the Patriots in the season opener next September. OK, done. Sorry, Deion, you were saying?”
Sanders: “Were you serious about retiring if you get franchise tagged next year?”
Bell: “Next year? Deion, I'll retire during Timberlake's halftime show unless I get a long-term deal before kickoff!”
Eisen: “Great reporting, Prime Time! Now let's go to Ben Roethlisberger's podium.”
Reporter: “Ben, tell us about the 4th-and-1 double-reverse, Hail Mary, fake spike, direct snap to Antonio Brown play you guys ran on the last snap to beat the Patriots.”
Roethlisberger: “That was just something I whipped up in the huddle.”
Reporter: “How come you guys didn't run a quarterback sneak?”
Roethlisberger: “Too complicated. And what if I got earholed. Then what?”
Reporter: “What about the pick-six on the previous possession?”
Roethlisberger: “I don't know. You'll have to ask Coach Todd about that one.”
Eisen: “More Ben in a moment. But breaking news! Ian Rapoport, what do you have?”
Rapoport: “Rich, Martavis Bryant has just demanded a trade, and he made more disparaging remarks about JuJu Smith-Schuster. Meanwhile, JuJu seems unaware of the remarks. Throngs of media are watching him do something adorable on Instagram. I think it involves pedaling his new dog around the field while it sits in a sidecar of his bicycle.”
Eisen: “Thanks, Ian. Let's check in with Kay Adams. Kay, we are getting word that Al Villanueva is missing!?”
Adams: “False alarm, Rich. The rest of the Steelers told him to wait outside of the tunnel by himself just in case they decided to play the national anthem before this shindig. Then he got stuck behind this big NFL Play 60 flag. Gosh, these things get in the way all the time, don't they? Just one big misunderstanding.”
Eisen: “Thanks for clearing that up, Kay. Quickly, back to Ian Rapoport.”
Rapoport: “Rich, thanks. Since we last spoke, the NFL has given Martavis Bryant a league-record four drug tests in 36 seconds. And he has also rescinded his trade demand, claiming he's happy in the Steelers offense.”
Eisen: “Well that's good to hear, Ian. Keep us posted. OK, back onto the stadium turf where offensive coordinator Todd Haley is answering questions.”
Haley: “Yes, I know it's icy in Minnesota this time of year. I'll be careful walking out of the bars this week. Now does anyone have any football related questions? … What's that? … No. Why is Ben saying you should ask me about the pick-six?”
Eisen: “I think we all know where that is going. By the way ladies and gentlemen, sorry about the fire alarms in the background. Maurkice Pouncey, is burning a James Harrison jersey and things went too far. Up next, Michael Irvin with David DeCastro.”
Irvin: “Thanks, Rich. David have you heard about what Le'Veon Bell said tonight?”
DeCastro: “No, Michael. Like I've said, I don't do SnapFace or Twitstagram.”
Irvin: “Any reaction to Martavis Bryant's trade demand?”
DeCastro: “I'm just here to play football.”
Irvin: “There's a Vegas prop bet that says AB will throw a Gatorade cooler if he doesn't have six targets by halftime. Your opinion?”
DeCastro: “Gambling is against the rules, Michael.”
Eisen: “There you have it. David DeCastro isn't a Chief Award winner for nuthin', people. Before we break, one last update on Martavis.”
Rapoport: “More movement, Rich. Martavis' girlfriend is holding court and she says the trade demand is back on!”
Eisen: “Martavis' girlfriend has her own podium, Ian?”
Rapoport: “Of Course, Rich. Why wouldn't she?”
Eisen: “Good point. When we come back, Antonio Brown will be streaming his interview session on Facebook Live from inside the Steelers locker room. So stay with us!”
Tim Benz hosts the Steelers pregame show on WDVE and ESPN Pittsburgh. He is a regular host/contributor on KDKA-TV and 105.9 FM.