NFL Conference Championships: I just wanted to tell you both good luck, we're all counting on you

Matt Sullivan

Of the four teams still alive for a chance to be crowned Super Bowl champions--the 49ers, Falcons, Patriots and Ravens--Atlanta is the only team most Steelers fans wouldn't mind seeing win the whole thing.

A season ago, when the Steelers were eliminated from the playoffs in a rather rude and crude fashion, I thought there were still a couple of teams worth rooting for in the New York Giants and New Orleans Saints. Thankfully, the Giants came through, and not only won Super Bowl XLVI, they defeated New England--always a treat.

New York was easy to root for, especially with Eli Manning leading the way. I mean, who could ever hate Eli? It's like hating a puppy. And I don't know how many of you have a big brother, but how much more bad-ass can it get for a little brother than to win the Super Bowl in Indianapolis, the place where big brother Peyton Manning became a legend?

Unfortunately, as I sit here today, the four remaining teams in the NFL playoffs offer me very little. Don't get me wrong, three of the four teams--the 49ers, Ravens and Patriots--give me plenty to root against, but there is nobody to REALLY ROOT FOR!.

In the case of Baltimore vs. New England for the AFC title, it's going to be like watching a couple of heel wrestlers battle it out. And we're not talking Chris Jericho-level heels who are so bad, they're good. We're talking Brutus the Barber Beefcake-level heels, here. They're not only bad guys, we hate'em and they stank!

And since it's a re-match of last year's AFC title game, it'll be like one of those wrestling feuds from the 80's that nobody cared about and NEVER ENDED!

I'll probably root for New England again like I did a year ago because that is how much I hate the Ravens, but each time the Patriots make it to the Super Bowl, it increases the odds of them actually winning another one. Who really wants to see that again, besides those obnoxious Boston fans and Tom Brady's wife?

In the NFC, it's the Falcons vs. the 49ers. Obviously, I don't want San Francisco to win. Not only do the 49ers have Jim Harbaugh, one half of the notorious "Handshake Brothers," they have five Super Bowl titles. The earlier they exit the dance, the better it's going to be for Steelers fans.

Pittsburgh leads the way with six Lombardi trophies. You can talk all the crap in the world, but once we wave those six rings under your nose, argument over! Ok, not really, no arguments on the Internet are ever truly over, but it's a pretty lethal left hook to connect with on occasion, especially when trolls are everywhere--like after a blow-out loss to the San Diego Chargers, for example.

If San Francisco has six rings, that left hook becomes a lot less lethal for Steelers fans. Besides, Jim Harbaugh would have a Super Bowl ring and a legacy--enough said.

That is why I'd like to take this time to address Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons (much like the way Terry Bradshaw "addressed" Ben Roethlisberger two seasons ago on Fox):

Falcons, I'm not going to lie. I don't really like you, but I don't hate you guys, either. I basically nothing you. You've been a nondescript team over the years. Don't get me wrong, you have a quality team this season, but it's not like people rush out to buy chips and dip because the Falcons are going to be on television any second--I don't even think they do that in the City of Atlanta--but you sure can make a name for yourselves by vanquishing the 49ers and the Patriots/Ravens.

And Matt Ryan, Matty Ice, you've been labeled as a quarterback who can't win the big game. Now that you have a playoff victory under your belt, you can create a real legacy for yourself by becoming a Super Bowl champion.

Just ask all the pundits. Fifteen years from now, if you don't have some jewelry on your hand, they'll question whether or not your career even existed. You don't want that, do you?

Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons: I just wanted to tell you both good luck. We're all counting on you.

I mean, can you just picture a Super Bowl involving the 49ers and Ravens? Jim Harbaugh vs. John Harbaugh? It would garner the lowest ratings in the history of the event. Who really wants that? Who could anyone root for? I don't know what would be worse: San Francisco winning a sixth title or the Ravens sending Ray Lewis off into the sunset with a second Lombardi.

I don't think I could watch. I would just hire Mechem to provide hate-by-hate on Google Hangout.

And the pressure will really be on for the Falcons if they have to face the Ravens in the Super Bowl. Think about it. Ray Lewis playing against the team representing the city that, at one time, charged him with murder?

You know what people would say if Baltimore won, right? They would say the NFL conspired to have the Ravens defeat Atlanta in the Super Bowl as some sort of symbolic gesture to Lewis on his way out the door.

Stupid, I know, but that's what SOME people would say (you know who you are), and if there's one thing I hate more than the 49ers/Ravens/Patriots, it's conspiracy theories of NFL games being fixed.

Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons: I just wanted to tell you both good luck. We're all counting on you.

One last thing. Prior to the 2011 season, I wrote this piece predicting the Steelers would defeat Atlanta in Super Bowl XLVI. Things didn't quite work out for either party, but to this day, it's probably my most precious blog post, and something I go back and read four or five times a year (I'd read it more, but it's like 4000 freakin words, and even I'm not that self-centered).

Anyway, Atlanta, maybe if your team makes it to the Super Bowl, that piece will get increased traffic as people will finally have a reason to Google "Falcons" and "Super Bowl" at the exact same time.

Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons: I just wanted to tell you both good luck. We're all counting on you.

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