Thanks to a 37-31 overtime victory over the Chiefs in the AFC Championship game at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday night, the Patriots clinched their third-straight trip to the Super Bowl—Super Bowl LIII against the Rams on February 3 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.
It will be New England’s ninth trip to the Super Bowl since the 2001 season, and if you’re a Steelers fans who knows anything about Super Bowls and the Patriots, that’s a lot of Super Bowls and a lot of Patriots appearing in them. And much like last year at this time, New England will be going for a record-tying sixth Lombardi trophy, an almost reality that likely has many Steelers fans nervous they will soon lose ultimate bragging rights.
So will Steelers fans get to pop a celebratory bottle of I.C. Light again this year? Will those “Got Six?” t-shirts remain relevant for another 365 days?
I must admit, I don’t really care all that much—or at least as much as I used to.
I know I should care, and reflexively, I do. Take Sunday night, for example. I rooted really, really hard for the Chiefs to bounce all the way back from their 14-0 hole, and once they did, I rooted even harder for the franchise’s first Super Bowl appearance since before I was born. But, alas, thanks to Tom Brady’s magic and the magic of those little yellow flags, it wasn’t meant to be.
Was I angry? Not really.
When it comes to the Patriots ongoing success—success that, to reiterate, has reached nearly two decades—I’ve been asking this question an awful lot lately: is it really that big of a deal if the Patriots tie and ultimately surpass the Steelers in the Lombardi race?
I have a question for you that you’re free to answer in the comments section, on social media or in a nasty email (I’ve received a few of those lately by folks who have reminded me that I’m not as handsome as I think I am): what were you doing from January of 1990 to February of 2009? I’ll tell you what you weren’t doing; you weren’t bragging about the Steelers having the most Super Bowl wins in NFL history. Why? Because, during that period of time, Pittsburgh was either tied for the most or in second place behind the 49ers and Cowboys.
I gotta tell ya’, I don’t remember it being all that big of a deal. Granted, this was way before social media existed, so that may have played a part in me living my life in peace, free from constant reminders of Lombardi inferiority by people named Cowboy_Dude and 5_4_the_9ers.
You know what they say, records are meant to be broken. As much as I want them to, six Lombardi championships won’t remain the standard forever, and even if they do, the Steelers will likely not remain alone atop the mountain. Some team will eventually tie them.
But even if the very worst happens, and they eventually fall behind in Super Bowl silver, I’m guessing the next time the Steelers win it all, I won’t be keeping score.
I’ll just be living in the moment, a moment that doesn’t come along very often—even for fans of the teams with the most Super Bowls.
Having said all that, however.......