I'm not going to lie—the Steelers quick elimination from the playoffs this season has brought me down to Earth a bit regarding the team, and my life in general.
It's amazing what you start noticing when the music stops, and your favorite football team is no longer dancing to that Super Bowl beat.
I knew I had some problems, but man, a February electric bill that's more than double what it was a month ago?
And the 27-pounds I lost, why has it actually been 25 the past few weeks? Aren't the holidays—and all that eating—supposed to be over by now?
So, yes, I have some personal issues I need to get corrected.
As for the Steelers, the end of the season has shed light on some problems with the team.
For example, did the defense actually improve in 2017, or was it a smoke-and-mirrors effect that had more to do with facing a plethora of backup quarterbacks?
And even if there was tangible improvement, was it forever erased the moment star inside linebacker Ryan Shazier was lost with a scary spinal injury, as evidenced by the 28.6 points per game the defense allowed down the stretch without him?
These are real problems—both personally and as a fan of my favorite football team.
But you know what's not a problem?
James Harrison preparing to play in Super Bowl LII as a member of the evil New England Patriots.
I know that might seem weird, what with everything I read on social media during the Patriots' comeback victory over Jacksonville in the AFC Championship Game last weekend.
Some examples—examples that are mostly made-up since I didn't go back and check any of them before writing this article—that capture the essence nonetheless:
"The Steelers made a mistake by releasing James Harrison!"
There were more like that, and they mostly cropped up whenever Harrison made it anywhere near Jaguars' quarterback Blake Bortles, but you get the picture.
As you know, this is nothing new. People have been saying such things since the moment head coach Mike Tomlin decided to part ways with No. 92 shortly before Christmas Day.
Harrison played 40 snaps the entire season and, post-release, we found out he wasn't exactly a shining example of veteran leadership and professionalism, which, more than needing some of the other players Tomlin didn't release, was why he was sent packing, ultimately for Minnesota.
So Harrison is now preparing to play in his fourth Super Bowl, and if the 2017 theme of the Patriots living a "charmed" and "well-coached" life continues against the Eagles, he'll likely earn a third ring.
But so what?
Will it really bother you if Harrison gets a ring with the Patriots?
It would be one thing if Harrison was actually the linchpin to New England's championship hopes. But let's be honest, through three games, Harrison has had about as much influence on the Patriots' success as punter Mitch Berger had on Pittsburgh's Super Bowl XLIII team.
I know what you're going to say. Yes, the Steelers could have used Harrison at season's end and in the playoffs.
That's right, a 3-4 defense that shifts to a 4-3 in so many alignments, relies on its defensive linemen to generate the bulk of the pass rush and asks its outside linebackers to be athletic and drop back in pass coverage now more than ever could have used a 39-year-old, one-trick pony.
Smugness aside, since the 2010's are the era of sports absolutes, and since the Steelers didn't record a single sack in the loss to Jacksonville, I guess it's hard to argue with the notion that Harrison could have helped in some way.
I guess we'll never know.
Anyway, if you’re upset with Harrison playing in the Super Bowl and, as Jeff Hartman said last week, it further twists the knife in your back, I at least get that.
Or, I should say, I get that more than you actively rooting for him because you thought he was done wrong by the team.
Let me get this straight. You, the person who wants to cut an All-Pro the minute he's late for practice or Facebook Lives in the locker room, are actually rooting for a player who acted like an insubordinate baby because he didn't see the middle-aged writing on the wall?
You do realize what Harrison did by forcing his release and then signing with a hated rival is pretty much on par with Jaromir Jagr visiting the Penguins and then signing with the Flyers back in 2012, right?
But, hey, if you want to root for Harrison next week, fine.
If you want to remain angry about Harrison playing in the Super Bowl, that's fine, too.
As for me, I'm going to go see if I can lose those two pounds I gained over the holidays.