Don't ask me why (maybe the coffee) but Mike Wallace's most recent comments in the Miami Herald fired me up.
So that makes me scroll through the vault to compile a Memorial Day list of the most memorable Steelers games of recent memory.
Memories are good. Initially, it was going to be your standard Jingoist Steelers-Are-The-Greatest 1,000 percent subjective group of memories, but now, thanks to Mr. Wallace, there's going to be a vengeance tinge to it.
Is that fitting with the Memorial Day spirit captured so eloquently by PaVaSteeler? Probably not, but yin and yang.
These were chosen largely on the memory factor, but with overlaying messages of personal animosity, or at least, what we hope was personal animosity.
Seahawks at Steelers, Week 5, 2007
It was the first time the teams played since Super Bowl XL, and the amount of complaints from Seahawks fans over that game could fill the galaxy. Sure, they were different teams, but the Steelers had enough players remaining on the roster, it was hard not to think it was in their heads in some way.
The Steelers defense allowed 144 total yards in a shutout of the lowly Seahawks, racking up 40 minutes of possession and holding quarterback Matt Hasselbeck to 116 yards and an interception in one of the most one-sided games in the Mike Tomlin Era.
Ravens at Steelers, Week 9, 2007
The James Harrison Game. One of the most outstanding individual defensive performances in league history, it'd be nice to think Harrison announced his presence to the rest of the league by defeating the team that cut him on his own. He was a one-man batallion and a grossly overmatched Ravens team had no way to stop the man who became a Steelers legend in front of the 75th Anniversary Steelers team.
A quiet side note was Ben Roethlisberger's perfect passer rating night, completing 13-of-16 passes for 209 yards and five touchdowns, while the Steelers defense (or just Harrison) yielded a laughable two yards per play.
Steelers at Patriots, Week 13, 2008
An official helped the Steelers by calling a rare defensive holding penalty on nose tackle Casey Hampton in the third quarter, and Patriots QB Matt Cassel paid the price for the rest of the game. Immediately after the penalty, Hampton went ballistic, very uncharacteristic of the venerable linemen. Two plays later, he destroyed center Dan Koppen, recording a rare Snack Sack. It was one of five sacks in the game, as the Steelers exorcised the Foxoboro Demons, scoring 23 unanswered points in a huge road win.
The Steelers would go on to win the Super Bowl that season, oddly, through their ability to pull out close victories. That game, after the holding penalty, was as if the Steelers were playing against a junior college team.
Ravens at Steelers, AFC Championship Game, 2009
Two hotly contested games earlier in the year proved the Steelers were the more clutch of the two teams, pulling off tight victories against their budding rival. Round 3 of the epic season had to be one of the most physical games of the last three decades, with hits so fierce, even the officials had headaches afterward.
Highlighted among this was Ryan Clark's savage shot on Ravens RB Willis McGahee and Limas Sweed's hit on defensive back Corey Ivy. The Steelers sealed the win on a Troy Polamalu interception return - the team's third pick of the game.
Steelers at Titans, Week 2, 2010
With Roethlisberger suspended without a charge, and a beleaguered Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon having played in the game, the Steelers defense proved any suggestions they had a rival in terms of dominance wrong. The Steelers choked out a Titans offense - namely quarterback Vince Young - that managed just 79 yards in the first three quarters, and turned the ball over seven times in the game.
There were highlights galore, including James Harrison picking up Young with Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel attached, and slamming him on his head for one of the Steelers' four sacks in the game. It would also be Harrison's first fine in a season in which he would be fined $125,000 for multiple hits on offensive players.
Raiders at Steelers, Week 11, 2010
In what had to be one of the poorest officiated games of the last decade, the Steelers and Raiders flat-out got after each other. A game that defined "personal," both sides went after each other as if Madden and Noll were still patrolling the sidelines. The Steelers racked up 14 penalties, and Raiders DT Richard Seymour was ejected after throwing a chicken bleep shot at Roethlisberger after a touchdown.
The animosity fueled the big play defensive Steelers, who allowed just 182 yards while racking up 431 of their own in a 35-3 rout. The only downside to that game is there wasn't a fifth quarter to watch the Steelers continue to thrash the utterly hopeless Raiders team.
Jets at Steelers, AFC Championship game, 2011
The Jets had taken a tight game over Pittsburgh earlier in the season, and revenge was clearly a part of the early game plan. Ike Taylor's sack and forced fumble of Jets QB Mark Sanchez in the second quarter was returned for a touchdown by William Gay as the Steelers jumped all over the upstart Jets early.
The Jets made their way back into the game, but Roethlisberger's completion to Antonio Brown - a week after a 3rd-and-19 completion to Brown that set up the game-winning score against Baltimore, coining the nickname "Third Down Antonio Brown" - and a goal line stand in the fourth quarter put the Steelers back into the Super Bowl, avenging that earlier loss.
Patriots at Steelers, Week 8, 2011
The Steelers had been throttled by Baltimore in Week 1, and the previous season by the Patriots, and exacted revenge on a Tom Brady-led Patriots team by a measured offensive approach and a disciplined man defense. Heath Miller was unstoppable as the Steelers jumped to an early lead, and the outstanding defensive effort by the Steelers' secondary kept the Patriots high-powered offense in check.
Wins over the Patriots are especially sweet, and relatively infrequent. The win came at a time the Steelers needed it, amid a brutal stretch of games where they would take on Baltimore the following week, then Cincinnati, before their bye.
Steelers at Giants, Week 9, 2012
A streaky Steelers team hadn't shown they could win on the road, but after a convincing win at Cincinnati in Week 7, and a dismantling of the Redskins in Week 8 they looked to prove they were going to be a tough out in the second half of the 2012 season.
A few calls went against the Steelers early in the game, but a poised Roethlisberger, working without Antonio Brown, made throws when they needed, and Isaac Redman and the Steelers running game took care of the rest. They all but shut out Giants quarterback Eli Manning en route to the 24-20 win.
Steelers at Ravens, Week 13, 2012
Losers of three straight against their rivals, the Steelers went to Baltimore with perhaps the lowest odds of winning in their previous four games. The Steelers played the Ravens tough in their first meeting - also without Roethlisberger - but came up with nothing offensively. They shut down Baltimore's offense but gave up a kick return touchdown in the loss.
James Harrison once again got a strip-sack on Flacco, and veteran QB Charlie Batch marched the Steelers to the improbable game-winning field goal at the end of regulation. It was the Ravens' first loss at M&T Bank Stadium in their previous 15 games.