Steelers Week 2 Touchdown Celebration a Message to Missed Fans
PITTSBURGH -- Heinz Field was different for the Steelers' home opener in Week 2. An empty stadium, no tailgating and a lack of terrible towels left the North Shore of Pittsburgh eerie on Sunday morning.
The typical 70,000-plus fans had to stay home due to the state of Pennsylvania's guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Like much of the NFL, the Steelers opened their stadium with fake noise instead of real crowds, and the players noticed.
During a Steelers' fourth quarter drive, Ben Roethlisberger found wide receiver Diontae Johnson for a 28-yard touchdown pass. Afterwards, Johnson looked to stands and found JuJu Smith-Schuster waiting for the game ball, replicating a fan.
"I think I thought about it right before the series because we scored once already and we did another celebration," Smith-Schuster said. "We had one already in mind. The other one with Diontae [Johnson], that was planned right before. I was like, 'Whoever scores, I'm going to jump in and be a fan and you give me the ball.'"
Smith-Schuster said the touchdown was an ode to the fans. Even with pumped-in crowd noise, nothing replaced the feeling of thousands of jerseys filling the yellow seat at Heinz Field.
"We miss our fans at Heinz Field," Smith-Schuster said. "It's symbolizing that, Steelers Nation fans, we miss you."
And just for a side note; when there's not crowd noise, smack talking is a little more noticeable between players.
From the press box on Sunday, it was clear linebacker T.J. Watt would turn his head towards the direction of the Denver Broncos' sideline whenever he would celebrate. But he's not the biggest trasher talker in a Steelers uniform during game days.
"If we're talking about the person who talks the most trash, it's [Eric] Ebron," Smith-Schuster laughed. "Ebron, he's like no other. To the point where we're literally in the huddle trying to call the play and he's talking trash. But if it works for you and it helps you play better, why not."