The Pittsburgh Steelers have never truly descended into a real valley under the leadership of Mike Tomlin. They're coming off a 9-8 season in which they showed fight, which enough for some very prolific podcasters to place some high expectations on this year's club. Competing in a stacked AFC will be a tall order, though, and Kenny Pickett probably cannot do it all alone. He'll need everyone on the roster rowing in the same direction, paying attention to the little things, and becoming maniacal about a singular goal.
Thankfully the Steelers have Minkah Fitzpatrick, who took it upon himself to save the team from a potential pitfall. A player accidentally stepping on the team logo in the locker room and inviting a bad mojo. ESPN's Brook Pryor has the story of a safety hellbent on keeping that floor accent nice and pristine.
Plenty of teams have superstitions and traditions that keep them from walking on their logos. The Steelers talked about it for years, debated whether they should issue a no-contact edict to the locker room.
Minkah Fitzpatrick didn't make an announcement. Didn't write a note on the large white board that greets every player when they enter the locker room. Didn't send a message to a team group chat.
Instead, after a brief conversation between the Steelers safety and the equipment staff, an order of stanchions was placed, delivered and assembled around the freshly steam-cleaned logo before the Steelers reconvened at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex for mandatory minicamp in June.
Hard and fast rules about stepping on a logo abound in hockey, perhaps most famously in Chicago, where the Blackhawks turned Justin Bieber treading on their gorgeous symbol into a very big deal. Kyrie Irving did something similar but different when he dared step on the Celtics logo as a message to his former team. In short, these things are holy ground not to be explored. Anyone breaking the rule must be prepared to face the consequences.
Many people are pointing out that this is all very stupid as though they are the first to realize it. Sports are full of superstitions that reflect a tenuous grip on reality and this one, like most, is completely harmless. If a team like the Steelers wants to use some piece of carpet as a springboard to team-building, then more power to them.
But what if, and we're just spitballing here, they put the logo on the ceiling where no one could step on it? Everyone could still look at it up there. It wouldn't require a sacrifice, of course, so maybe it'd lose all meaning. Or whatever meaning it currently holds. And we wouldn't get cool stories like this.
Anyway, just an idea.