This hasn't happened to me in a while, but as I sat around Monday morning, listening to a local sports radio personality talk about the Steelers still having the most Lombardi trophies, following the Eagles upset victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl LII on Sunday night, I kind of had a prideful moment.
Perhaps more than anything, the thing that really struck me was that, even in the face of the Patriots current run of dominance that might be unparalleled in the annals of modern professional sports—a run of dominance that includes eight trips to the Super Bowl and five rings since 2001—they have yet to even tie Pittsburgh in the Lombardi race.
Think about it, the Steelers haven't been the dominant team of any extended era since the late-70's, when they completed their run of four titles in six years, and since that time, other franchises such as the 49ers, Cowboys and those Patriots have had historical runs where they were the top dogs of their day. Yet, by simply adding two Lombardi trophies to its trophy case over a 38-year span, Pittsburgh has been able to stay ahead of the pack.
As I wrote the other day, counting rings isn't exactly something that gives you that same euphoric feeling as simply celebrating your team's latest title—regardless of the number in the trophy case—but I think the fact that the Steelers still own the most illustrates just how hard it is to put even one trophy in your case.
I mean, for as unstoppable and almost unbearable as the Patriots dynasty has been, one of these offseasons is going to be the one that signals the end of the road (I doubt many thought Pittsburgh's historic Super Bowl run was over 38 offseasons ago), and when it does end, it might actually end at five.
So, what's the big deal?
The big deal is, 30 years from now, New England could still be stuck on five titles.
That might seem hard to believe right about now, but when Pete Rozelle handed the Chief, Art Rooney, that fourth Lombardi in January of 1980, I'll bet nobody could have predicted it would take over a quarter of a century for the organization to finally earn that one for the thumb.
This is why I'm just so appreciative of everything that has taken place since Ben Roethlisberger was selected in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft.
To think that I'd get to witness three trips to the Super Bowl and two parades because of that selection still leaves me in awe.
A team drafts a quarterback in the hopes that he'll turn into the franchise variety. And if you're lucky enough as an organization for the investment to pay off to that degree, even getting one title out of it makes it worth it, but to get two?
Not to seem like I'm preaching or telling fans their frustrations with the team in recent years are misguided, but, come on, if you look at things from a historical perspective, Pittsburgh has been playing with house money since about 2011.
Just look at football history and try to come up with many regimes that even made it back to the Super Bowl after going to a few in a short period of time.
I'll save you the trouble by saying the list is a short one.
Between 2005-2010, the Steelers made it to three Super Bowls, which, while not a record, was certainly an unusual accomplishment.
And this is why I have to shake my head a little when fans describe the latter years of Roethlisberger's career as a waste.
Guess what? No portion of Roethlisberger's career has been a waste, because he's already surpassed the odds when it comes to championship success in the NFL.
How many quarterbacks have won at least three Super Bowls?
Tom Brady (five), Terry Bradshaw (four), Joe Montana (four) and Troy Aikman (three). That's it, that's the list. Therefore, if Roethlisberger somehow earns another ring, he'll truly be in rarefied air.
And if Roethlisberger joins that club sooner rather than later (it would almost have to be sooner at this stage of his career), it would not only extend the Steelers lead in the Lombardi race to two over the Patriots, 49ers and Cowboys, their fans could probably brag about having the most Super Bowl titles until Roethlisberger's kids have grandchildren.
You might say, "Well, history has nothing to do with right now, not with all the talent on this team." Really? I have 52 years of data that tells me history has a lot to do with it.
It's just so hard to win one Super Bowl, let alone six of them.