Why? Because this particular AFC North rivalry isn't of the sibling variety, meaning, the hate Pittsburgh and Cincinnati have developed for each other in recent years doesn't have mutual respect at the heart of it.
At the heart of it, is Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict, certainly the catalyst for the bad-blood, due to his seemingly endless cheap shots that have injured more than one Steelers player over the years.
With that as a backdrop, you may have been a little uneasy about Monday night's clash at Paul Brown Stadium. Perhaps you were fearing a torn MCL, similar to the one running back Le'Veon Bell suffered at the hands of Burfict two years ago; or perhaps a concussion, similar to the one receiver Antonio Brown fell victim to at the hands of, you guessed it, Burfict in that wild, wild-card game in January of 2016.
But paralysis? And on a seemingly ordinary tackle?
Potential paralysis of his lower-extremities certainly seemed to be the fear for all-everything inside linebacker Ryan Shazier, after he was taken off the field on a stretcher, following a tackle early in the first quarter.
As I watched this unfold with a friend at Mad Mex, I thought, "Well, it's probably just a precaution." However, as news began to leak of Shazier's loss of feeling and movement in his legs, I immediately thought back to about two weeks earlier, when I stumbled upon a video of truncated highlights of the Steelers Week 1 match-up against the Patriots in 1979.
Right in the middle of this video, there is a minutes-long tribute to former Patriots receiver Darryl Stingley, who suffered a vicious hit from Raiders safety Jack Tatum one year earlier—in a preseason game, no less—a blow that left him a quadriplegic for the rest of his life.
When I watched this video, I said to myself, "This doesn't happen often, but it happens often enough to make you realize just how dangerous football really is."
With all the initial reports about Shazier's condition floating around social media, it was hard to really enjoy what turned out to be a 23-20 comeback Steelers victory.
Even as Chris Boswell's game-winning 38-yard field goal sailed through the uprights—a sight that has ended three of the past four Steelers games—my reaction was much-less enthusiastic than it was eight days earlier, when Boswell connected on a 53-yard attempt to send the Packers packing.
I guess it's one thing to watch a player suffer an injury that may affect his season, or even his career.
But to see a player suffer an injury that may affect the rest of his life?
You never want the sport you love so much to produce that kind of an outcome (even if those outcomes are few and far between).
Thankfully, it was Melvin, a superhero caller to the Final Score if there ever was one, who buoyed my spirits when he informed both Bryan Anthony Davis and me that it was being reported by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writers and Steelers insiders, Ed Bouchette and Gerry Dulac, that Shazier may have suffered a spinal contusion.
Remembering what I did about the spinal contusion former Steelers quarterback Tommy Maddox suffered against the Titans 15 years earlier, my mood suddenly brightened.
This was because, even though Maddox experienced some scary moments (and probably days) following his injury, he was back to normal within a few weeks.
Great for the Steelers, as they clearly needed him for the playoffs, but even better for Maddox, personally, as he escaped what surely would have been a life-altering tragedy.
As of this writing, Shazier appears to be showing great progress with regards to re-gaining feeling in his legs.
Will he play again in the regular season?
Will he be available for the playoffs?
Those things are much less relevant than Ryan Shazier going on to live a normal life.
It's a rainy Tuesday as I finish this article, but the skies have brightened enough in my mind, that I can now enjoy the fact the Steelers did what they always do against the Bengals, and that's find a way to win.