Steelers JuJu Smith-Schuster needs to log out of TikTok
The Pittsburgh Steelers are trying to stay afloat. JuJu Smith-Schuster isn’t doing much to help bail water.
JuJu Smith-Schuster says he’s going to keep dancing. Therein, for the Pittsburgh Steelers, lies the issue. While his pre-game logo dances by themselves can’t be blamed for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ anguishes, it’s hard to deny that his prancing stokes the flames.
If his team were winning, or even if his offense wasn’t sputtering, JuJu’s self-admitted acts of disrespect would come off as “getting in other teams’ heads.” Since losing to Washington, though, the once-formidable Steelers have been trending in the wrong direction. This, evidently, is where Smith-Schuster has become self-interested.
Any affection as it pertains to these warm-up routines has soured. At this point, it appears Smith-Schuster is more concerned with his social media following than he is with the Steelers’ playoff outlook. It’s fair to consider that, in widening the bullseye on Pittsburgh’s back, Smith-Schuster has become a distraction.
In the midst of a three-game losing streak, Pittsburgh—and its fractured offense—needs not to provide bulletin-board material. After the 27-17 defeat Monday night, it now marks the first time since 2004 that a Ben Roethlisberger-led Steelers offense has scored less than 20 points in four successive contests. It’s nearing January, and the attack that Randy Fichtner coordinates needs to get it together.
There would be less room for criticism if Smith-Schuster put up numbers. Yet, he pulled in only three footballs Monday night—his second-lowest total in 2020—for 15 yards. Most remarkably, he was pasted on a crossing pattern by Bengal safety Vonn Bell, the same player who, earlier in the week, recommended the receiver not to insult his franchise’s midfield insignia.
Later, a pass intended for JuJu was snatched out of the air by fifth-year defensive back Mackensie Alexander, who returned the interception for 21 yards. The Clemson product teased the Steelers’ offense, high-stepping as if he were Deion Sanders in his prime before scurrying out of bounds.
This wasn’t the first time Smith-Schuster’s theatrics have ignited a hotter fire under a team. During a speech caught by cameras before kickoff against Buffalo, Josh Allen alluded to the fourth-year pass-catcher and his antics. The Bills, in ownership of the AFC’s second seed nine days later, then demoralized Pittsburgh.
In dancing—and subsequently getting hit-sticked, JuJu gave the internet something to poke fun about. Bengals tailback Joe Mixon cruised around on Instagram Live, his car stereos bumping Popp Hunna’s “Adderal (Corvette Corvette)” after the Steelers’ loss, mocking JuJu. Even the NHL’s New Jersey Devils tweeted, implying the humiliation that Pittsburgh is facing.
The Steelers, now reeling after an 11-game winning streak, are under the microscope. Maybe somebody needs to let Smith-Schuster know that, right now, it’s best to be conspicuous.