Michael Conroy / Associated Press
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster said on Wednesday that he would stop dancing on the logos of the opposing midfield before the street games.
“For my own sake and my teammates, I’m going to stop dancing on the logos,” he told reporters.
Smith-Schuster’s The dance party before the game started to attract attention after he posted a video on TikTok showing it on the Buffalo Bills logo in Week 14.
Bills took notice immediately. Quarterback Josh Allen referred to this in his speech for the offense before leaving the tunnel – “Let them talk everything, all the f-king dance, we do the f-king’s work” – and security guard Jordan Poyer confirmed that he provided an extra boost.
“I’m not going to lie. Seeing them dancing on our logo before the game and seeing all of that, it gets you a little excited,” Poyer told reporters after a 26-15 victory over Pittsburgh. “It kind of gives you a second desire to go out and play with a little more fire.”
Smith-Schuster said he danced most of the season and did not plan to stop, which he supported by dancing on the Cincinnati Bengals logo before the week 15 showdown on Monday.
“One thing I will say to you: I will not stop being myself,” he said. “I’m going to be the JuJu I came to be: authentic. TikTok is a new platform that I use to stay in touch with my fans and grow. This is something I’ve been doing since the beginning of the season, in the middle of the season … I will not stop doing this. “
After Monday’s turn, Bengals’ safety Vonn Bell hinted that Smith-Schuster provided extra motivation.
“I saw 19,” Bell told reporters with a smile on what he saw before he hit the wide receiver. “I’m not a boastful guy, man. I just go over there and let my game talk. It just so happens that I’m just playing football, man. I’m just going over there and trying to make a game.”
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, who downplayed any motivational advantage that could be gained from dancing, explained on Tuesday that he plans to discuss the situation with his star receiver.
“I am aware of that,” he said. “And I intend to speak with JuJu. But we are professionals. I doubt that any of these antics and things of that nature are legitimate motivating factors when you enter professional stadiums. It is a matter of respect.”
Few things irritate coaches more than potential distractions, especially when a team that once looked like a title contender lost three straight games, including a surprising surprise for Bengals, who entered Monday’s game with a 2- record 10-1.
So while the Smith-Schuster dance was harmless fun before the start, it is no surprise that the dance show was interrupted for the rest of the year, while the Steelers sought to regain their champion form.
The last street game of the Pittsburgh regular season arrives at Week 17, when it visits FirstEnergy Stadium to face the Cleveland Browns (10-4) in a game that may decide the AFC North.