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10 Things I Think I Thought while not having a Steelers game to watch

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Some things I thought while depressed not having a Steelers playoff game to watch this past weekend.

NFL: AFC Divisional Playoff-Jacksonville at Pittsburgh Steelers Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

This year, sadly, there will be 36 weeks with no Pittsburgh Steelers game that matters. This was the first of those. I can’t promise I’ll be sharing my thoughts all 36 weeks, but here they are for this week.

  1. My standard is my standard, and we didn’t measure up. I, like all of you, want a Super Bowl victory each and every year. In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s one of the key elements of heaven, the Steelers play every week, and win every week. But I try to be a smidge realistic, and so have this standard- a season in which we reach the playoffs is a success. If we don’t, it isn’t. We didn’t, and it wasn’t.
  2. Among the four major sports the NFL sits at #2 in playoff reaching difficulty, behind baseball. Being an 8 seed in the NBA or NHL is no reason to celebrate. Missing the play-in by one game in MLB is nothing to be ashamed of. That’s why for the NFL making the playoffs is a good standard.
  3. What makes failing to make it so much worse is the NFL has, by far, the fewest games and the longest off season. I will, of course, pay attention to the combine, pre-draft analysis, the draft itself, free agency, OTA’s, camp, preseason games. But they are all just hollow shells of the regular season.
  4. In like manner for me the season is essentially over. Like the ‘72 Dolphins popping corks when the last undefeated team falls, my only concern left for this year is needing the Pats and Cowboys to be eliminated, that we might maintain sole possession of Most Lombardis. Neither looks likely to make a serious run.
  5. Now would be a good time to sell your Buffalo Wild Wings stock, or cash in your gift cards. They may not survive my beautiful wife and I having no reason to go there.
  6. Hoping JuJu Smith-Schuster, Joe Haden and T.J. Watt get late invites to the Pro-Bowl. But even if they do, I won’t be watching. It’s just too... well, too nothing. It’s nothing. I used to watch it faithfully, back when it was the week after the Super Bowl. But I also used to watch Mr. Belvedere. So that’s not a good standard.
  7. What I’m waiting for now is winter to come like it means it. I want to hear Hank Williams Jr. singing, “Are you ready for some snowfall?” And “All my rowdy friends are in a snowball fight.”
  8. I did check the scores of the wild card games. But I watched none of them. Maybe I should be scouting potential free agents. But the ones we might sign are probably on the bench.
  9. One good thing about a long off season- plenty of time for Artie’s psyche to heal. And Boswell’s uh, sore throat.
  10. It was not a season that was pleasing. God knows, however, what He’s doing. My best guess on His plan? Rams and Saints, Chiefs and Pats. Pick ‘em on the NFC, Chiefs for the AFC. I’ll wait to pick a Super Bowl winner until next time.