Bill Simmons was one of the most vocal Pittsburgh Steelers supporters in sports media heading into the NFL season, even suggesting his listeners put some money on Pittsburgh to get the 1-seed in the AFC. But it was another bet that had Simmons worried on Sunday night.
Simmons got cold feet over backing the Steelers based on the potential that Las Vegas Raiders’ rookie fourth-round quarterback Aidan O’Connell could step in for starter Jimmy Garoppolo.
He posted on X pregame:
“I’m a little afraid of Aidan O’Connell. He’s actually good.”
The only problem?
O’Connell was inactive, as he has been all season.
— kyle (@knicks_tape99) September 25, 2023
O’Connell was awesome during preseason, completing nearly 70 percent of his passes with three touchdowns and zero interceptions. His 2021 and 2022 seasons at Purdue were enough to deliver winning seasons for the Boilermakers and make O’Connell a mid-round pick in the NFL Draft.
At the same time, it’s really hard to tell what Simmons was predicting here, even if O’Connell was active.
Injuries for both Garoppolo and backup Brian Hoyer? A Week Three benching for a former Super Bowl quarterback who Las Vegas went out of its way to sign this offseason? O’Connell grabbing his helmet and forcing his way onto the field?
Pittsburgh did ultimately win and hand the Raiders their second loss of the season. Garoppolo threw two picks. But O’Connell, of course, did not see the field.
Simmons has quite the imagination at times. He recently suggested the wrestler Test be brought back to the WWE, despite Test passing away from an overdose nearly 15 years ago.
From one angle, Simmons was technically proven correct in his Raiders analysis. O’Connell didn’t play, and they lost. Maybe Simmons is actually playing chess and the rest of us are playing checkers.