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10 Things I Thought when the Pittsburgh Steelers Apocalypse began

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The things I thought after watching the third straight loss were not pretty.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Oakland Raiders Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Like all of you, I watched the game. Like all of you, I had many thoughts. Unlike most of you, I get to share ten of them here. Here they are.

  1. On the plus side, I handled this loss pretty well. Not because we shouldn’t have won, but because my hopes for the season were pretty well crushed to fine powder last week. Well, it helped that I laid it all out there during the week, writing a piece reminding us not to be jerks when things don’t go as we’d hoped. I’m grateful I didn’t ruin the day for my beautiful bride.
  2. On the negative side, things certainly didn’t go as any of us hoped. It was clear early on that either this was going to be Jacksonville redux, where we pull out a win we didn’t deserve, or Denver redux, where we lose like we did deserve. Even with the Patriots and the Ravens losses, the value of it being the former was negligible. To put it more clearly, the loss didn’t bother me much because we stink and we aren’t going anywhere anyway.
  3. The only question I had at game’s end was- is this the end of the season, or is this the end of an era? I’m an old timer. I lived through the glory years. I enjoyed the revival under Cowher. And the Tomlin years have been good to us. But we knew going into this season the Ben’s window was closing. We knew going into the season that we had again this paper offense that was supposed to be a juggernaut, and an improving defense. But it is more of the same. Weird that just as Ben no longer gets left off the “elite, top-tier quarterbacks” list, the Steelers fall off the “Super Bowl contender” list. Will he be willing to suit up again next year for one more run? Please Jerome, ask him to come back for one more year.
  4. Tomlin, on the other hand. One of two impossible things must be possible. Either Coach actually thought what he said, that it was best to keep Ben on the bench because “flow” or, someone with power thought it would be a good idea for Coach to explain Ben’s absence with that ridiculous lie. Either one is utterly shameless. I don’t think anyone’s conspiracy inspired theories will reveal the truth. I think we’ll never know. All I can say is it was more shocking, and weirder than the last play of Miami and New England.
  5. The counter arguments to kicking Boswell to the curb apply to the question of Coach Tomlin’s future. That is, would it really help to get a kicker off the street and at the same time burn over $4mil in cap space next year? And with respect to Tomlin, a. is there some coach out there that we know is an upgrade and b. do we want to saddle Ben’s last years with a new guy?
  6. Did any of you also think, before the replay, that JuJu had to be out of bounds? I did. It was only as the replay ran that I thought, “WAIT! HE GOT IT!” Much less important of course, but I think in terms of sheer physical wow-ness it bumps Santonio from the #1 Tony Toe Tap Play slot.
  7. Now instead of worrying about wasting Ben’s last years I’m worried about wasting AB’s last years, and JuJu’s whole career. The end of the line for a Hall of Fame quarterback is just about the worst thing that can happen to a team. An ocean of mediocrity rages in front of us, and we’re already up to our knees. Here’s hoping Josh Dobbs or Mason Rudolph is the second coming of Aaron Rogers.
  8. How weird was it to see two AFC teams on Fox? Flexing unsettles the order of the universe.
  9. My son made this astute observation- Hue Jackson has earned the distinction of being a coach for two different teams that, in the same season and in the same division, were in last place.
  10. If the Steelers beat the Pats I will see if my esteemed editor will let me post a pic of me wearing a sign that says “Chicken Little.” He, of course, thought the sky was falling. I think it already fell.