Let Us Hope There Is Luck

The Steelers might have the toughest go of it. …Worse, Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey tore ligaments in his right knee and linebacker Larry Foote ruptured his right biceps, ending their seasons.

via AFC North has dismal opening, with Ravens, Steelers, Bengals and Browns going combined 0-4 — The Washington Post.

Hopefully,” Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin said, “we’ll put those things behind us and execute at a high level, a winning level.”

The stylebook says that the adverb “hopefully,” when used to mean “let us hope,” “inflames passions.” You see, sticklers will tell you that “hopefully” means “in a hopeful way,” not “let us hope.” As in, he waited hopefully for a reprieve from the governor.

I say sticklers because those are about the only folks, myself included, who think this way. In truth, misusing hopefully is something that everyone does, and it is blessed by more than a few dictionaries and usage experts. Some of these, Bryan Garner included, advise you to avoid the word altogether. The stylebook nudges writers helpfully toward “they hope” or “with luck.”

In Mr. Tomlin’s case, it doesn’t much matter whether he meant “let us hope we’ll put those things behind us” or “let us be hopeful as we do.” The Steelers may be [expletive deleted] either way.

Mr. Pouncey, the signal-calling center who was probably the only thing holding keeping the offensive line facing the right direction, has torn ligaments. Linebacker Larry Foote, the chief signal caller on what seems to be another very stout defense, has a torn-up bicep. The Steelers also lost their kicker and a running back low on the depth chart. In short, a team with questionable prospects just became more of a long shot.

“It’s going to be tough,” the uninjured running back Isaac Redman told The Associated Press, adding the requisite platitudes: “Pouncey is the heart of our offensive line. We’ve got to have guys step up.”

One of the guys who needed to step up was Mr. Redman, by the way. He fumbled twice in Sunday’s 16-9 loss to the Titans.

Another guy who needed to step up, and didn’t, was the backup center Kelvin Beachum. He admonished himself to reporters after the game: “You’ve got to be a football player at the end of the day.”

At the beginning of the day, too.

Is there good news? Sure. Losing the first game of the season isn’t the end of the world. In the case of the A.F.C. North this season, it isn’t even cause for alarm — all four teams lost in Week 1.

The defending Super Bowl-champion Ravens were depantsed by the Broncos, 49-27; the Browns, losers of nine consecutive openers, followed the script against the Dolphins, 23-10; and the Bengals folded in typical fashion, 24-21, in Chicago.

That said: “We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Mr. Tomlin said, gamely making an entry in the sweepstakes for Understatement of the Year.

He followed up with these gems:

  • Nobody cares about our problems.” No, they don’t; when you put it that way, Mr. Tomlin, neither do I.
  • They’re glad we’ve got them. We need to understand that.” What you don’t need to do is underscore the adversarial relationships of N.F.L. teams.
  • We need to stick together and persevere.” You and your players literally have nothing better to do.

We thought about it for a long time, “Endeavor to persevere.” And when we had thought about it long enough, we declared war on the Union.

via The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976 – Quotes – IMDb.

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