When you're as big a football fan as I am (yes, I'm unbelievably into the Pittsburgh Pirates right now, but the Steelers are my first love), the offseason is just way too long. Yes, there's always plenty to talk about in March, April, May, etc., but it's just not the same as the actual season.
While I don't exactly "mark out" for training camp these days, it certainly does denote the end of the offseason, and the official start of optimism for every team's fan base. Alright, not every team, but certainly the fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
After a disappointing 8-8 season, fans are chomping at the bit to see if Pittsburgh can rebound and make it back to the postseason. And as I wrote about the other day on Behind the Steel Curtain, it wouldn't exactly be a shock if the Steelers found themselves back in the playoffs this year.
However, while I'm optimistic, I'm certainly looking toward the upcoming 2013 season with a bit of a cautious eye.
There's no denying the problems Pittsburgh has faced in recent years, and there's no hiding the very real possibility that the Super Bowl window could be closed and locked for the next few seasons, as the team struggles just to be respectable.
When a team has as many veteran departures as the Steelers have had in recent years, along with as many underwhelming recent drafts, I can certainly see a mediocre-stretch coming on the horizon.
But, to repeat, the NFL is the ultimate parity league, and you just never know how things will unfold.
Either way, we'll begin to find the answers in just two calender days.