You’ll have to forgive me for my sour mood, but I haven’t been this angry after a Steelers loss in a very long time.
- In fact, the last time I was angry–really angry–after a Steelers loss, Pittsburgh wasn’t even playing.
I’m talking about the Ryan Succup missed field goal at the end of regulation during the Chiefs/Chargers 2013 regular season finale that, had it been made, would have put Pittsburgh into the playoffs with an 8-8 record.
If I had to think of another time I was this angry, we have to go back almost 15 years, to the moments after Tommy Maddox‘s Steelers lost in overtime to the Tennessee Titans in the divisional round of the 2002 playoffs, thanks mostly to a running into the kicker penalty on Steelers cornerback Dwayne Washington, who ran into Joe Nedney, after Nedney missed a short field goal, thus affording the kicker with the great acting skills another shot at sticking the dagger into the heart of Steeler Nation (he did).
- After the game Nedney himself even joked about his “Oscar winning performance” if memory serves.
Anyway, in-case you’ve been living under a rock, the source of my current anger is the Ben Roethlisberger to Jesse James 10-yard touchdown catch with 28 seconds left that would have clinched a bye for the Steelers, a touchdown that was ultimately overturned due to the NFL’s ridiculous idea of what a catch is.
Was it the right call?
- By the letter of the law, yes, yes it was.
- Is the catch rule a stupid one that totally insults the intelligence of anyone with two good eyes?
- Yes, yes it is.
But there’s nothing you can do about it. Fortunately, however, unlike those previous anger-inducing moments I referenced, the Steelers can actually step up and do something about this clear miscarriage of justice.
The 27-24 loss to the Patriots, Sunday night, didn’t end Pittsburgh’s season; it merely dropped the team to 11-3 and took the control of the number one seed out its hands and placed it firmly into the Patriots’ with just two games left.
But the Steelers still control their own fate with regards to the number two seed and a bye, which, while not the perfect scenario, isn’t exactly chopped liver.
And guess what?
If the Patriots lose one game, while Pittsburgh wins two, the black and gold could still get the top seed in the AFC playoffs. And wouldn’t that be delicious? You lose-out on the head-to-head tiebreaker to both the Patriots and the Jaguars, who came into Heinz Field in Week 5 and had their way in a 30-9 beat-down, but it doesn’t matter, as you some how finish ahead of both in the win/loss column.
I would relish that, because I would welcome the opportunity to see both or either team have to come crawling back to loud and crazy Heinz Field for a playoff game, which, believe me, Heinz Field in a playoff setting is so much different than it is in the regular season.
But regardless of how the playoff seeding ultimately shakes out, the Steelers will actually be in the dance, and that angry feeling I have right now? That won’t last an entire offseason, and there’s still a chance for redemption.
The Steelers 2017 story isn’t over yet, and the final chapter can still go many different ways.