Injured Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Ryan Shazier made a surprise trip to Heinz Field for Week 15. The crowd erupted when he was on the Jumbotron.
The Pittsburgh Steelers (11-2) were about to play their biggest game of the season on late Sunday afternoon in Week 15. They were hosting the New England Patriots (10-3) in a potential AFC Championship Game showdown. The winner of this game would probably be the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs. You know who wasn’t going to miss this game? Injured Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier.
Two weeks ago, Shazier’s life was altered, as suffered a spinal injury during the Steelers’ Monday Night Football game versus the AFC North rival Cincinnati Bengals. He was unable to get up from the injury. When he reached for his lower back after the tackle, it was an unsettling movement for all football fans.
Shazier underwent spinal stabilization surgery shortly after the injury and has been placed on season-ending Injured Reserve. While he was with the Steelers in spirit last week when they beat the arch rival Baltimore Ravens, he made it up to a Heinz Field booth to catch the Patriots game. Shazier was shown on the Heinz Field Jumbotron and Steeler Nation erupted most magnificently.
You would have thought The Beatles were playing “Twist and Shout” at Shea Stadium. It was that loud at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh may have already clinched the AFC North, but the Steelers know that they will have to beat New England in the AFC playoffs to reach Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis.
Any little boost the home crowd can get on Sunday, the better. It will be all the more easier for the path to Super Bowl LII to run through Pittsburgh for the Steelers. New England has owned the Steelers for most of the Mike Tomlin era. It’ll be tough to beat the Patriots at home in Week 15 without Shazier on the field, but at least he’s there to cheer on the home team and get the home crowd fired up.