[Editor’s note: Steel Curtain Rising has already shifted coverage to the Steelers 2017 off season, but author Tony Defeo pauses to offer some belated thanks to the men in Black and Gold.]
It’s been nearly a month since the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2016 quest for a Lombardi trophy went up in smoke at the hands of the Patriots in the AFC Championship game.
- During that time, the general feelings regarding the team’s accomplishments have been those of disappointment, along with bitterness and anger.
I must admit that I was quite depressed for a few days following the end of Pittsburgh’s campaign, and I even went so far as to not want to acknowledge what a great ride 2016 really was. After all, the Steelers came within two victories of a seventh Super Bowl title.
Think about that for one moment. Just two more victories, and the perception among fans would have been much, much different.
- And when you put the Steelers 2016 season into that kind of perceptive, it really does make you appreciate what a wonderful job they did.
As Steelers fans, we’re almost nauseating when it comes to our high-standards for the team, and how nothing short of a championship is acceptable in our eyes.
- If that’s the case, why celebrate any moment, any victory, any advancement in the postseason, if it doesn’t all lead to a championship?
Why not just sit on your hands the entire season and reserve your real appreciation for when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is presenting Dan Rooney with that Lombardi trophy on a grand stage following a Super Bowl victory?
Fact is, Pittsburgh gave you and I many great moments in 2016 that included 11 wins, a division title and two postseason triumphs on the way to the AFC Championship game.
The Steelers 2016 season included a nine-game winning-streak, almost 1900 yards from scrimmage by Le’Veon Bell in just 12 games, a coming-of-age defense that includes many young defenders, such as Ryan Shazier, Artie Burns, Javon Hargrave and Sean Davis. Then there was the resurgence of veterans such as Lawrence Timmons and James Harrison.
And, of course, that glorious moment on Christmas night, when Antonio Brown essentially extended the season by extending his arm over the goal line, as three Ravens tacklers were trying to prevent him from doing so in the waning seconds of the de facto AFC North title game at Heinz Field.
So, while many fans (and even some of the Steelers, themselves–including quarterback Ben Roethlisberger) have been screaming for change since that 36-17 beatdown at the hands of the Patriots, I just wanted to be one who offered my virtual hand and thanked you for a tremendous season.
- It wasn’t long ago that just winning a playoff game was a monkey that needed to be extracted from the organization’s back.
Now, three in two years?
Again, sometimes it’s good to gain a little perceptive.