There is no doubt the Steelers thrilling 23-20 victory in Baltimore on Sunday galvanized a Steelers Nation that was reeling a bit after two straight losses--including perhaps the team's worst performance in about five years in the 20-14 loss to the Browns in Week 12.
For Pittsburgh to go into M&T Bank Stadium with Charlie Batch, the third string quarterback who may have actually had the worst performance of his career in the Cleveland loss a week earlier, and walk out with a victory--thanks in large part to Batch's finest performance as a Steeler--was the stuff of legend.
The victory not only energized Pittsburgh's players and fans, it broke a three-game losing streak to the Ravens, prevented Baltimore from clinching a playoff spot at the Steelers' expense, and most of all, added another epic chapter to arguably the greatest rivalry in the NFL.
For my money, it was the most satisfying victory by the Black and Gold since the comeback playoff win over the Ravens two seasons ago--speaking of epic chapters.
There are many who like to remind us that the sports industry is just another form of entertainment. And while I agree with that in a sense, it's certainly not the same kind of entertainment as a scripted show or movie.
However, as a huge television buff, I can certainly see the parallels between sporting events and television shows and how they can provide us with hours of entertainment and memories that last a lifetime.
And I can also appreciate the similarities between the fans of both entertainment genres.
If you think sports fans are tough on their favorite teams and demand perfection each and every game, you should see how fans treat their favorite TV shows on blogs and message boards: "I'm through with this show!".............."It's totally Jumped the Shark!"............."The writers have completely lost their minds and are totally out of ideas!"
And that's often before the first commercial break.
And if you think football fans act irrational and have crazy conspiracy theories--big shout out to PaVaSteelers for giving me one of my biggest belly laughs over the summer thanks to this reply to someone about Ryan Clark's health issues in Denver--you should hear certain people talk about their favorite TV characters as if they're real people:"I can't believe Marlena and Stefano are on the same float for the Thanksgiving Day parade! They're sworn enemies! By the way, who are Deidre Hall and Joseph Mascolo, and why are their names flashing on my TV screen?"
When it comes to our favorite team or show, all we can ask for is to be entertained on a fairly regular basis--in a show's case, it's with good storylines and character development, and in a team's case, it's with a healthy win/loss record--with a few classic moments thrown into the mix every once in a while.
Pittsburgh's victory over the Ravens on Sunday was one of those classic moments that a sports fan just dreams about.
To see the Steelers overcome so much and win in such dramatic fashion over their heated rivals was simply euphoric. And when you added in some nice little nuggets such as Batch's emotional embrace with Ben Roethlisberger following Shaun Suisham's game-winner, Tomlin and Harbaugh's somewhat contentious post-game handshake, and the curse of the Terrible Towel possibly claiming Ray Rice as its latest victim.......it was just television viewing at its finest.
It was one of those moments on par with other classic TV moments, like the first time Ross kissed Rachel, we finally found out who shot J.R. and "As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."
And if things unfold a certain way over the last month of the 2012 season, Pittsburgh and Baltimore might meet for a third time next month. Like Neal Coolong told me the other day, "You just KNOW it's going to happen."
Too bad January isn't a network sweeps month. A Steelers/Ravens postseason match-up would help CBS win in a landslide.