As I watched the Steelers battle their way to a 3rd Super Bowl in the last six years, I was finding myself in a very curious mood. The Steelers were not only taking out the Jets, but in some strange way I also saw it as a blow to the Patriots. You know, those Patriots, who trashed opponent after opponent the final half of the season, making their 2010 campaign look eerily familiar to their 2007 team. Just like 2007, they were the big bad bully who had no idea how to react after someone dared to punch them in the nose.
The "Patriot Way" was the blueprint for winning in the post season. Veteran leadership on the defensive side, and an offense that knew how to get the job done when it mattered. The "good guy" Patriots had their arch enemy: The throw it all over the field Indianapolis Colts. The Colts lived to feast on lesser teams, blowing them out routinely. As amazing as the Colts were however, when faced against the "Patriot Way" they always wilted. You see, the Patriots just knew how to pull out tough games. They were battle tested time and time again, whereas the Big Bad Colts found themselves so often taking lesser teams to the woodshed, that they never found out how to beat a team that wasn't intimidated by their gaudy passing game.
Three times in four years the Patriots hoisted the Lombardi Trophy, same great clutch QB, same great veteran leadership on defense. In January 2006, the Broncos finally solved the Patriots playoff dominance. The following year, the Big Bad Colts finally had their way with the "Patriot Way". It was about then when the Patriots kicked the "Patriot Way" to the curb.
In 2007, the New England Patriots became their arch enemy, the Indianapolis Colts. Now it was no longer about 53 men working together in the trenches for one single goal. It was about the greatness of Tom Brady, and an historic offense, and guys named Moss. They could dump their veteran leadership on the street, because they were the Patriots. It was about the brilliance of Bellichick, the gaudiness of Brady's statistics. It was about blowing the doors off of every team they faced. Our Steelers were one of many caught in their cross hairs that year. Thankfully we only suffered a 3 touchdown defeat...
Just like those big bad Colts of the early 2000's however, the Patriots when punched in the mouth, could not recover. The Patriots had lost their way...
The closest thing to the 2001-2005 Patriots will be playing at the Death Star in Arlington, Texas on February the 6th. They are the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers will be playing for their 3rd Super Bowl title in 6 years, while the Patriots will be without one for the 6th straight year. The once thought untouchable playoff force that was the New England Patriots, now has a three game playoff losing streak. The Steelers are 10-2 in their last 12. Like the Patriots of the 2000's, the Steelers have a great veteran defense, a sound philosophy, and an unbelievably clutch QB. These Steelers rarely destroy their opponents, they find ways to win. They are battle tested. Tough as steel. The Steelers are 53 men, not a Justin Beiber look alike living above the fray. As I see it, the old "Patriot Way" is the new "Steeler Way".
My message to the Front Office: Remember the Patriots. They forgot who they were, and are now wallowing in a sea of playoff frustration.