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The Pittsburgh Steelers 2015 season was a very satisfying one

The Steelers overcame a ton of injuries to make the playoffs as the sixth seed and ultimately gave the Broncos all they could handle in the divisional round before falling. The future looks great for Pittsburgh, but the 2015 season shouldn't be quickly swept under the rug, as it was a very entertaining and satisfying one that actually included a playoff win for the first time in five years.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

It's been about a week or so since the Steelers' wild, crazy and injury-filled 2015 season came to an end at Denver in the divisional round of the playoffs.

A day or two after the loss, all I could think about was that fumble by reserve running back Fitzgerald Toussaint in the fourth quarter, and how, just moments before that turn of events which turned the tide in the Broncos' favor, I actually believed the Steelers, who were winning 13-12, were going to pull the thing out. But it's funny how quickly you move on as a fan, following a loss by your team in the postseason. If you're a writer or whatever, you might express thoughts like, "I was depressed for days," but, in reality, playoff losses are a lot like stubbing your toe on an end table: There's initial numbness, followed by intense pain, followed by a dull ache, followed by life.

Missing the playoffs hurts a little more than actually losing a postseason game--at least in my humble opinion. With that in mind, I can honestly say the saddest moment of the 2015 campaign for me was Sunday, December 27, 2015, when Pittsburgh seemingly choked away its playoff chances thanks to a loss to the Ravens coupled with a Jets' victory over New England. Despite some famous years that ended with a positive outcome (1977; 1989), the fact is, the "Win and some help" scenario hadn't worked out for the Steelers in 22 seasons. While I was certainly hopeful leading into Week 17, the optimism was clearly tempered by the fact that the 7-8 Bills could have been just as excited about their off-season plans as they were  about knocking New York out of the dance.

When everything worked out with Pittsburgh defeating the Browns and Buffalo doing its part, it actually felt like the Steelers had actually won a playoff game. Two Sundays ago, I left my spinning class and headed to a local automotive place in need of a new tire after getting a flat the day before. When I arrived, the guy at the desk said, "Did you make an appointment?" "No, the guy on the phone told me I could just drop it off." "Well, you're going to have to wait all day--I'm thinking 4 or 5 p.m." You see, what many people don't realize is mechanics and anyone who works at automotive places don't actually want you to take your car in to get work done on it--ever.

Since this automotive place was next to a mall, this meant I would be stranded for a bit. However, I didn't care, and you know why? Because the night before, Pittsburgh escaped Paul Brown Stadium with a thrilling 18-16 victory over the Bengals in the wild card round, thus securing the team's first postseason win in five years.

It had been so long since the Steelers managed to walk away from a postseason game with a victory, I had forgotten the emotional value of such a thing. And that's the beauty of being a sports fan and something other hobbies may not be able to provide. Despite my car troubles and the fact that the pleasant temperatures were quickly falling to the unpleasant range as I walked around the Robinson area and planned my next move, I didn't care that much, thanks to the events that took place the night before in a football game 289 miles away.

As for the Steelers season as a whole, it was wildly memorable, entertaining and filled with ups and downs.

Pittsburgh lost twice to the 5-11 Ravens but defeated the Bengals, Cardinals and Broncos--all division winners.

How often does a quarterback  the caliber of Ben Roethlisberger get carted into the locker room three times during a season, miss a month due to one of those trips to the locker room, and his team still finishes 10-6 and makes it all the way to the divisional round of the playoffs?

Speaking of injuries, they just never seemed to stop--especially for key members of the offense. People who argue about NFL injuries will cite examples of other teams that may have had it worse than the Steelers in 2015. That might be true in terms of quantity, but when it comes to injuries to quality players on one side of the football......let's just say if the Steelers' were playing the Broncos last week in a game of Texas Hold'em, with injuries to offensive stars having face card value, Pittsburgh would have been holding a royal flush before kickoff.

Antonio Brown was out with a concussion suffered after a hit by Vontaze Burfict the week before; DeAngelo Williams was out with an ankle injury sustained in Week 17 (he was the replacement for the injured Le'Veon Bell--also injured by Burfict); Roethlisberger's effectiveness was up in the air thanks to a sprained shoulder suffered in the wild card game (you guessed it: Burfict was the culprit); and center Maurkice Pouncey and left tackle Kelvin Beachum had both been out so long by that point, they were almost afterthoughts.

Because of their ridiculous injury-situation in 2015, almost immediately after the playoff loss, reporters, fans and even the players were predicting big things for the 2016 squad.

Here's a post-game quote from Williams from last Tuesday, courtesy of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

"It's a public-service announcement to the NFL. To let them know we're coming."

Williams went on to add: "Steelers fans everywhere should be excited about us next year. When we get the gang back together and everybody is healthy and we go 1-2 deep at every position, it's going to be nasty."

That quote certainly goes hand-in-hand with the optimism everyone has been expressing in the aftermath of the loss to the Broncos. Will the Steelers go through the rest of the NFL like a hot knife through butter in 2016 provided they don't suffer the same rash of key injuries? Who knows, as there are certainly no guarantees in professional football. But to look ahead to 2016 so quickly is kind of a disservice to the 2015 squad.

As the Steelers began their playoff journey, many fans began to draw parallels to the 2005 team that also made the playoffs as a sixth seed, played Cincinnati in the first round, followed by Peyton Manning in the second, on the way to winning the Super Bowl. As it turns out, however, with the Steelers needing help to get into the postseason as the final seed, followed by a dramatic and emotional victory over a heated divisional rival in the wild card round, followed by a close-loss at Denver in the divisional round, 2015 turned out to be a lot like 1989.

But that's fine, because that '89 squad overcame a lot to do what it did. Chuck Noll's  final playoff team may have been the first one to truly teach me the emotional value of a postseason victory, when Pittsburgh knocked off the Oilers in overtime the same week that I experienced some traumatic family problems while on Christmas break during my junior year of high school.

Like a great man once said, "Any season that includes a playoff win is a good season."

The Steelers 2015 season was many things, and all those things combined to make it a very satisfying one.