Even though the AFC divisional contest last week between Pittsburgh and Jacksonville climaxed with a Steelers’ touchdown and subsequent squib-kick, the Steelers’ season came to an abrupt end for the team, the city and the team’s fan base. They had a date with the New England Patriots in Massachusetts already set up. Flights, hotel reservations and AFC Championship Game parties were cancelled.
The Steelers’ season was officially over.
So what happens next? The coaching staff and nine players are slated for duty in the Pro Bowl next weekend, but that takes an extreme amount of fandom even to investigate the details in your local listings. The players will all disband and return to their postseason residences, some in Pittsburgh and some all over the country. Most Steelers will once again be donning the black-and-gold come training camp, but some will wear different colors and a few will go on with their life's work.
But what’s next for you, Steelers Nation member?
Some of my friends basically did a Kramer from the famous and infamous episode titled "The Contest" back in 1993.
The minute the Steelers lost they were out faster than Yahoo Serious back in the 80s. They don't want to watch football without the Steelers, so their next 28 Sundays (give or take) will consist of mate maintenance. Antiquing, bird watching and Downton Abbey binge-watching will now be on their agonizing agendas. I respect their decision, but I can't do it.
With the Steelers out of the playoffs...are you out too?
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Yes. Don't bother me til training camp.
No. I'll be watching. I won't be happy, but I'll be watching.
It deeply pains me to watch AFC Championship games without my Steelers in it, especially in view of the season they just completed. But it's still not as bad as January 2012 and 2013 when I had to endure two straight years of Patriots vs. Ravens in the AFC title game. Man, that was brutal. Here's the thing though. I love the NFL and its two championship weekends. I'm going to be tuning in and I'm going to be rooting for a specific team. But there's a rub. Do I cheer for the team that just vanquished my team and embarrassed them twice this season or do I support the team that could tie the Steelers record of six Super Bowl championships and have embarrassed them pretty much the entire century so far?
My decision is made. It's not going to be easy, but it's going to be Jacksonville. The only time I root for New England is if they’re playing Baltimore, battling ISIS or there's a gun to my head. It still might be half-hearted, though. Look, the Jaguars didn't embarrass the Steelers as much as the Steelers embarrassed the Steelers. I respect their style of play for the most part (AJ Bouye commits a serious holding penalty every pass play) and I enjoyed my trip to watch the Steelers at Jags back in 2014. It was a great atmosphere actually.
I can't in good conscience root for New England, I despise 99% of their fan base (I have a good friend that is from that area and is a true diehard and of excellent character) and I think that the organization from Kraft to Gronk has the moral compass of Joey Buttafucco.
So with that being said. Jags over Jagoffs. DUVALLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Who will you cheer for on Sunday?
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New England Patriots. Belichick yourself before you wreck yourself.
Jacksonville Jaguars. Hey they don't respect Mike Mitchell either.
Armageddon. Not the 1998 Bruce Willis flick.