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The state of the Steelers 2013 part I: a funny thing happened on the way to the playoffs

Yes, on one level it was tragic and sad and frustrating, but it was also hilarious

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

So, what's so damn funny about how the 2013 season ended for the Steelers?

Let me tell you what my Sunday was like.

I start off at the Alley Cat, and we're tracking the three relevant games. There's little in the way of anxiety connected with the Steelers game. Brown is being brilliant. Bell is turning us all warm and gooey inside. Brett is making us feel really, really bad about this likely being his last game in the Black and Gold. Beachum was...well Beachum was playing so well that no one noticed him at all. And then Troy was running around making plays, oops, that was Jarvis Jones (its the hair). And there, Jones made another play, oops, sorry, that would be Troy. Jerricho caught ten touchdown passes, really? Timmons and Heyward are rampaging.

On the negative side, Ben throws a couple of picks, but Cleveland has no idea what to do with their good fortune, which I guess may be a contributing factor to their head coach being on the unemployment line before the day was out. They didn't even wait until Black Monday. And some of us were a little ticked that the Browns were allowed to, you know, score points in the fourth quarter.

But generally speaking it was the sort of happy, breezy kind of a beatdown that we have become accustomed to seeing when Cleveland comes to town and then helpfully exposes their juggler so that they may be put out of their misery. There are smiles all around at the end. Even the guy I complained about earlier in the season had absolutely nothing negative to say. The happiness experienced by Steelers Nation was just not because of what Pittsburgh was doing.

In Miami, Mike Wallace was discovering that there is a difference between playing on Mike Pouncey's team as opposed Maurkice Pouncey's team as the Dolphins, who had a chance to clinch a playoff spot at home against the hapless Jets, went belly up and did their part in saving Rex Ryan's job. More smiles.

Meanwhile in Cincinnati, Andy Dalton was doing everything in his power to hand the game to the Ravens. Four interceptions Andy, really? (Bill kept quoting a coach who's name I can't remember; "You can't trust a ginger quarterback"). But the Ravens are just too damn incompetent to capitalize. So, the defending Super Bowl Champs miss the playoffs (again). The Ravens are dead, and the Steelers are still alive. There's more than just smiling going on now. Ha, ha! Sucks to be Baltimore. And they're making fun of Flacco something fierce. And we can't wipe the smiles off our faces even though we know that this is all a set up for Andy Reid to screw us in the end.

This is where it really gets funny.

We all know that Reid is going to send out his JVs, augmented by some Pop Warner players here and there. We also know, so we think, that with their playoff lives flashing before their eyes, the Chargers will respond by eviscerating these replacement Chiefs in a matter of seconds. Only it doesn't happen that way.

Let me pause in the narration to point out a couple of things. I'm not watching the game. But I've got this real good feeling about what's ready to go down. I just think, historically speaking, that the San Diego is a franchise of punks. So, I'm following the game by way of Sports Illustrated play by play and the live stream on BTSC. And, sure enough, the Chargers are allowing a group of guys with names like Chase and Knife (are you kidding me? Granted I don't keep up on the rosters the way I should, but every time I see 'Knife', I'm thinking 'Mouse' and wondering if Reid met this guy at some KC rib joint after midnight and asked him if he wanted have some fun this weekend) to kick their asses on their home field in what is probably one of their more important games of the last half decade. What a bunch of punks. And this goes on into the fourth quarter.

I'm getting positively giddy now. God can't possibly be this good (and as it turned out...). I've got the headline ready for the piece that I'm going to submit no more than twenty minutes after the end of the game.

Steelers Zombie Apocalypse

Get it? The team that the world thought was dead and buried on Columbus Day sticks its hand out of the grave and grabs the NFL by the ankle (I thought it was clever). You just knew people were crapping their pants in Cincinnati, around the entire league really. I mean if you're the Bengals who would you rather play, the punk ass Chargers, traveling east, playing in the cold. Hell, Andy Dalton couldn't throw enough interceptions to lose to this team.

Or. A Steelers team that:

1. Has a ton of playoff and championship experience top to bottom, a lot more than you do. Even Haley has Super Bowl cred.

2. Would, based upon the circumstances, have to be the loosest, most amped up crew you've ever seen. Talk about having everything to gain and nothing to lose.

3. Are hot and playing their best ball of the year, including btw, putting their foot in your ass on national television a couple of weeks ago, with the lead story being Terence Garvin channeling Willie Colon and abusing a Bengal to the extent that folks were saying 'That's just wrong'.

4. Historically own you in your own ball park, regular season and playoffs. Pittsburgh's FANS even own the Bengals fans in their own stadium. At least Cleveland fans would challenge them to a fight.

I wouldn't have been surprised if right after the Chargers lost, the entire Bengals organization had gathered on the fifty yard line of Brown Stadium and committed ritual suicide. It would have been easier that way.

And if it were up to me that would only be the beginning of the bloodletting. I had in mind a rally at Point State Park before the game where a select group of naysayers and bandwagon jumpers would be excommunicated, tortured and slaughtered to send the message that Steelers Nation doesn't cotton to chumps and traitors within its ranks. The entire league would cower in terror as the Steelers undead would rise up and give Clint Eastwood's speech from the end of the movie Unforgiven (You remember, burn down your house, kill your cat..). Four years late Hell would be unleased. Nobody in their right mind would want to play them.

So, with the clock winding down, Chase and Knife (Mouse) and Company are marching down the field and at BTSC they can taste it. I suspect all of Western Pennsylvania is on the verge of one of the better non sexual orgasms you'll ever see. They run the clock down to eight seconds, and the entire population of San Diego, or those who would care, are preparing to throw themselves enmass into the Pacific to be eaten by sharks.

Now, understand, I'm not watching the game. The first reaction comes from the BTSC stream.





Now here's the funny part. The only Kansas City regular who's on the field, the kicker, is the one who screws up. And his name is...His name is What? C'mon man. You're making this stuff up, right? Obviously (as Tomlin would say) this isn't good. But its not like they lost. There's still overtime. Earlier, Barry talked about this being the Immaculate Playoff Berth. An overtime win would make for a better legend.

I'm a little concerned when Rivers and the Chargers get the ball first. I mean, somewhere in the midst of that heartless, gutless muddle there must a spark of pride. But, nope. Looks like three and out. Now I'm thinking about how Mouse, I mean Knife, and the boys are just going to drive to within field goal range, give that kicker an opportunity to get off of those death lists that he's now on in Pittsburgh and see the Chiefs rip the beating hearts out the chests of the Chargers.

Again, I learn that something is wrong from BTSC. Neal Coolong, managing Editor and chief arbiter of proper comportment is cursing a blue streak. Not good. Cobbling together what intelligible communications I can between the rending of garments and the gnashing of teeth I realize that the officials have once again followed Goodell's Prime Directive 'Anything that Screws the Steelers is a Moral Good'. Actually no such directive probably exists, it just seems that way. But apparently in a jumble of illegal formations, a fumbled ball, a dislodged helmet, and I don't know, flying monkeys, the Chargers retained possession. And so San Diego storms down the field, are soon in the red zone, and they're about to show Chase and Knife and Tico and all these other professional wannabes what's what. All they have to do is push the ball into the end zone. Except they can't do that and have to settle for a field goal.

What a bunch of punks.

So the Chiefs look like all the world that they're going to show these Chargers how its done, but somewhere between the 40 and 30 yard lines the adrenaline or Meth or whatever these guys were on wears off and they realize 'We can't do this'. And so they don't. Cincinnati fans show their relief and gratitude by trolling BTSC figuring they can now safely do so without having to explain at some point why one of their players allowed their manhood be taken in front of a national television audience and leaving it to Chris Collinsworth or some such to make up some lame alibi.

The Immaculate Playoff Berth didn't materialize. A shame. I think I could have ran with that zombie thing.