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Watch: How a Pittsburgh Steelers fan fight explains America

Football’s an amazing sport to watch from the comfort of your own home or bar stool. Football’s a lot less fun to watch in person because of the high risk that you’ll encounter fans like the ones at Heinz Field who started a stumbling, sloppy fight just a few rows back from the field on Sunday night. It’s moronic, pointless aggression caught on a cell phone, which makes it the perfect metaphor for America in 2018.

Here, via @katebrendel on Twitter, is the fight:

Let’s Go Steelers!! pic.twitter.com/nvsMVgNVCR

— Kate🌻 (@katebrendel) December 3, 2018

Now that’s a damn headbutt, son!

This is like an internet comment section come to life. What’s got these fools so riled up? Who cares? These gents don’t exactly look like they’re discussing, say, climate change policy or the opioid crisis, topics worthy of real full-throated passion.

It’s not clear exactly when in the game this is happening, but given the date stamp — after 11 p.m. Eastern — it would have been late in the close game, with the Chargers driving. There’s an actual play going on in the background! Which is, of course, the best time to start an idiotic flopping-fists semi-riot. (And non-Steelers fans: don’t even pretend this isn’t happening in your stands too. These guys just got caught on camera.)

You know these types of people, even if you’re not physically brawling with them: the get-in-your-face guy, the cheap-shot artist, the clamoring crowd, all that free-floating rage just looking for a target. Let’s break down our cast of characters:

Hoodie Headbutter: Just about the only person in the frame not wearing a team jersey. H.H. reps the team, son, not just one player. He also apparently favors ridiculous, premeditated (see: removing his lid) overreaction over reasoned discussion.

Not-Troy Polamalu: He brought a plastic spoon to a gunfight. Totally unprepared for the savagery that comes his way, he’s knocked to the concrete before he’s even ready. He gets back up and wades back into the fight — an achievement in foolish determination — only to take a right to the face and drop again. And then, indignity of indignities, he’s the one getting blamed for the brawl! A reminder: in-stadium fights, as in internet fights, there are no winners.

Not-Antonio Brown: Not-Polamalu’s apparent companion, her first instinct is to go right at H.H. rather than check on N-P. It’s always all about keeping the fight going.

Not-Casey Hampton, Not-Maurkice Pouncey, Not-Lawrence Timmons: The Greek chorus here, trying and largely failing to restrain H.H. Lots of volume, very little actual effect. These guys are every clown who adds a “what about” comment or injects political subtext into every single conversation. These guys may in fact be you.

Not-Melvin Gordon: The little kid in the knit Chargers cap. This is why nobody brings kids to football games anymore, and why nobody under the age of 40 spends any time on Facebook. They know enough not to get caught up in whatever messes the olds are creating.

You: Yes, you too are a character in all of this. Yes, fights have happened forever in the NFL, we know this. And sure, @katebrendel is the one holding the camera. But we’re all watching this unfold with her. It’s meaningless, pointless, stupid, unnecessary conflict, but we’re a country that runs on rage, and this is cheap high-grade fuel right here.

So you know who’s the real hero in this whole absurd mess? Look a few rows down and to the right. At the 41-second mark, you can see a cat in another Pouncey jersey with a gray hoodie underneath. He takes a look up at the fight, sees the idiocy unfolding, and turns back to what’s really important here: the game. He probably spent a lot of money for those seats, and he’s not going to let a horde of brawling dimwits spoil it for him.

That’s the role model we ought to emulate. Pretty much everyone else here is a total embarrassment. America in 2018, everybody!

They’re not fighting now, but they could be soon. (Getty)


Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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