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With the Steelers out of the playoffs, who should you root for?

Ranking the teams—from least desirable to most desirable—that I’d like to see win the Super Bowl now that the Steelers have been eliminated from the postseason.

Tennessee Titans v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

I write one of these articles every year...I think. Maybe it’s every other year. Maybe this is the first time, although, I’m pretty sure I always do one of these whenever it’s late January and I’m already sick of the Mason Rudolph/Dwayne Haskins debate.

Anyway, now that the Steelers have been officially eliminated from all of that “7 for No. 7!” stuff, I’d like to take the time to rank the remaining eight teams in the postseason tournament—from least desirable to most desirable—that I’d like to see win the Super Bowl. Since I’m a Steelers fan and must consider every football rooting decision with that in mind, I will factor the potential tarnishing of the Steelers legacy into each and every ranking.

No. 8: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Do I really need to explain this? The Buccaneers have Tom Brady as their quarterback and already won the damn Super Bowl with him last year. That gives Tampa Bay two Super Bowls and Brady seven. I can handle Brady, Mr. “Let’s Go!,” owning seven rings, but eight would just be too many for me, a Steelers fan, to handle for some reason.

Also, what’s with that whole “Let’s Go!” thing? I mean, you’ve got everything, Touchdown Tommy. Take it down a notch. You getting upset about not winning an eighth Super Bowl would almost be as bad as a Steelers fan getting upset about you winning an eighth Super Bowl. Don’t you know you’re playing with house money?

Also, if the Buccaneers win another title, that would give head coach Bruce Arians more Super Bowl championships after retirement than Mike Tomlin has won before retirement.

No. 7: Cincinnati Bengals

AFC North afterthoughts for so many years actually winning a Lombardi? An organization that’s been so downtrodden for so long finally rising up and becoming a juggernaut? I cannot relate as a Steelers fan. Besides, you just know that damn Cris Collinsworth, Mr. Bengal, will be rooting for them hard. Considering how much he wears his hatred for the Steelers on his sleeve each and every Sunday night on NBC—even in games involving the Saints and Falcons—I want that man to cry real tears upon seeing his old team go down in flames.

Speaking of tears, I can’t even imagine the permanent emotional damage a Cincy championship would do to BTSC’s own Mark Davison, whose hatred for the Bengals is just...well, it’s scary. It’s kind of cute, too, and perhaps the wave of the future. You have old geezers like me trying to school him on what it was like in my day when the Ravens and Browns were the rivals, and he’s all, “No, mate, the Bengals are the team to hate.”

No. 6: Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs have been so good for so damn long. They have a great quarterback and a whole host of awesome offensive weapons. They have great coaching and passionate fans. Arrowhead Stadium is a great place to watch a football game. The atmosphere is tremendous.

Who wouldn’t want to root for such a team? How about a fan of a team that got shellacked by that team twice in less than a month? As a Steelers fan, I cannot endorse a team that knocked the Steelers out of the playoffs.

No. 5: Green Bay Packers

They already have four Super Bowls, as well as countless other NFL titles that may or may not mean something to fans born after 1970, and a fifth Lombardi would put them right on Pittsburgh’s heels for the most ever...which might actually mean something to me if the Patriots didn’t already win their sixth three years ago.

As much of an egotistical jerkwad as he can be, it’s pretty hard to root against Aaron Rodgers. Besides, if Green Bay makes it to the Super Bowl, as a Steelers fan, I could make it all about me and my team and engage in two weeks of speculation about Rodgers coming to Pittsburgh next year.

Just think about all of the subtle hints involving steel mills, fries on sandwiches and really great views coming out of tunnels Rodgers will throw out there while talking to reporters—including Pittsburgh’s own Pat McAfee—on Media Day.

No. 4: San Francisco 49ers

I watched the 49ers put on a bit of an offensive clinic against the Cowboys on Wild Card Weekend, and as a Steelers fan, I can’t help but make it all about my team and get frustrated over why it can’t find coaches like Kyle Shanahan and Mike McDaniel. Why can’t the Steelers utilize a receiver out of the backfield the way San Francisco does with Deebo Samuel? Shanahan is playing chess at the highest level while Tomlin is playing Guitar Hero on easy.

I’m convinced that the Steelers should do whatever they can to bring in McDaniel to be their next offensive coordinator, and if they can’t do that, they should lure John Embree, the 49ers tight ends coach, to Pittsburgh and give him that title. Embree knows the offensive system in San Francisco, and as we all know, that kind of poaching always works.

No. 3: Los Angeles Rams

I’ve always been a fan of the Rams, at least the Los Angeles version, and I’d love to see them win it all. Why? For starters, their fans are among the most passionate and intense in all of professional sports. Secondly, defensive linebeast Aaron Donald hails from Pittsburgh.

Also, if Donald can actually capture a Lombardi Trophy, maybe the writers will give T.J. Watt a break and finally name him Defensive Player of the Year.

No. 2: Buffalo Bills

Let me just say that I think diving into flaming tables in the name of fandom is just stupid, and part of me wishes that Josh Allen tries to do that to a prone Patrick Mahomes but misses wide-right before being pinned for the 1-2-3.

But stupid tailgating traditions aside, the Bills and their fans have suffered long enough. It’s time for them to bury the past and finally capture a Super Bowl title.

No. 1: Tennessee Titans

There’s no real reason to not want the Titans to win, other than them costing Pittsburgh a mid-season bye in 2020. As a narcissistic Steelers fan, I certainly considered that Covid catastrophe when putting together this list. However, Derrick Henry is just a beast, and it would be so awesome to see him get healthy in time for a Super Bowl run and stiff-arm his way to a title.

Besides that, the Steelers somehow defeated Tennessee late in the season, which would give their fans bragging rights on Twitter all throughout the offseason.

“Yeah, and who beat them on December 19? I’ll wait.”

Trust me, Titans fans would be emotionally owned.