From Blue and Orange to Black and Gold: How Minkah Fitzpatrick Has Made A Big Impact


Jack Marcinko, Sports Editor

Three weeks into the 2019 campaign, the Pittsburgh Steelers collapsed. An embarrassing loss to the New England Patriots, with former Steelers wideout Antonio Brown watching just 24 hours after signing with the Patriots. Week 2 led to a 26-24 loss against the Seattle Seahawks after 2nd year signal caller Mason Rudolph was called upon after veteran Ben Roethlisberger left with an elbow injury that turned out to be season ending. 


The defense was performing below expectations and the offense was imploding. The front office made the decision to trade for disgruntled young safety Minkah Fitzpatrick for a 2020 second round draft choice. The defensive back out of Alabama had nine interceptions in college, with four touchdowns over three seasons. He was pivotal on a stellar Crimson Tide defense, winning two National Championships in three years. 


Fitzpatrick, among others Miami Dolphins players, voiced their displeasure with the team several times. Once after a controversial partnership with the NFL and music artist Jay-Z, who was renowned for voicing his displeasure with the league and its brass after players were allegedly blackballed after kneeling during the playing of the anthem. A preseason practice took place where new head coach, Brian Flores played nine straight songs by the rapper, creating a feeling of toxicity in the locker room. 


The breaking point for other players was after a 59-10 season opening loss to the Baltimore Ravens, in which players believed the team was tanking and multiple agents requested a trade for their players. The team dropped the next two games, in which they were outscored overall 133-16. Fitzpatrick wasn’t the only player to escape the constant loop of Pitbull’s “Welcome to Miami”, as franchise left tackle Laremy Tunsil and wide receiver Davante Parker were traded to Houston. 


Fitzpatrick brought a big boost not just with his individual talent, but with his morale. The team forced 4 turnovers in the first quarter against the 49ers, with him having 2 of them, one forcing a fumble and another being an interception. However, they were only able to turn 2 field goals from these turnovers, taking a 6-3 lead into halftime. The missed momentum from that quarter proved to be costly in the 24-20 loss. 


In his two games in the black and gold, Fitzpatrick has 6 solo tackles, 9 tackles in total, an interception, a pass defense, and a quarterback hit. He helped a stellar Steelers defensive showing under the primetime lights on Monday, holding the Cincinnati Bengals to just three points while gaining their first win on the season.