Last week, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he wanted the Jaguars in the divisional playoffs. This past Sunday, after Jacksonville outlasted the Bills, 10-3, in the Wild Card round, cornerback A.J. Bouye told Big Ben to be careful what he wished for (although, to be fair, I don't think No. 7 was wishing for anything—wishing is the kind of activity you save for more important things, like the ability to regrow hair in your 40s).
It's just that Roethlisberger is a competitor and, really, there wasn’t any good answer he could have given the reporters in this case. For example, if he said he didn't want to face the defense that intercepted him five times in a 30-9 loss at Heinz Field in Week 5, people would have called him a coward.
Anyway, the Jaguars are coming into Heinz Field for a divisional matchup this Sunday afternoon with the kind of swagger one might expect from a team with a great defense and a not-so-hot offense.
It's the kind of defense that says, "Hey, it doesn't matter who our quarterback is (yes, even if he's one who throws for less than 100 yards per game multiple times in a season). Our defense is just so damned tough, you'll still have to contend with that the whole game."
What are you going to do, kick a bunch of field goals? Been there and beat that.
In other words, the Steelers are totally battle-tested as they head into their portion of the 2017/18 NFL Playoffs.
Just how battle-tested are they?
Even at 13-3, their fans are so fickle, they're all, "So? Why don't you show me a real record?"
In fact, the Steelers 2017 campaign has been called "up and down" so many times, I am actually getting kind of depressed as I think back on everything.
Speaking of fickle fans, they’re so fed up with head coach Mike Tomlin and his 116-60 win/loss record, that some have even written angry articles (multiple articles) calling for his job. Who would they like to see take his place? Anyone, yes, even Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, who seems hellbent on taking Bill Belichick's frumpy look to a whole new level.
Speaking of coordinators, just how tough is Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley? He's so tough, he managed to get the fans to hate him even more than former offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.
But, really, just how tough is Haley?
He's had an ongoing social media beef with legendary rapper Snoop Dogg for years—and Todd just don't care.
Haley's so tough, his charges wanted him in the booth instead of on the sidelines, and Todd was like, "Only way you're getting me up there, is if I shatter my pelvis."
Haley did shatter his pelvis on New Year's Eve, and that still might not be enough to keep him off the sidelines for the playoffs.
Heck, Haley's wife might be even tougher than he is. In fact, Haley's wife is so tough, if the two of them got a divorce, she could marry a Raider in a second.
Haley isn't the only member of the Steelers’ offense that's tough.
Look at Roethlisberger. He's so tough and evidently has been bored with his myriad of injuries throughout his career—sprained knees, torn knees, sprained SC joints, sprained ankles, busted noses, etc., etc.—he's known for coming up with fictional injuries—broken toes, insanely high fevers, etc., etc—just to keep things interesting.
Receiver Antonio Brown is so tough (and talented), he only needed 13 games and two quarters of work to gain more receiving yards than anyone else in football this year.
Just how tough is AB? So tough that, even though he's caught more passes for more yards than any other receiver in the league since 2013, there was that one damn pass he didn't catch in Week 4 against Baltimore..........
The offensive line is so tough, Chris Hubbard filled in for highly-regarded right tackle Marcus Gilbert several times in 2017, and people were all, "Oh yeah, I forgot Gilbert was out."
The line is so tough, left tackle Alejandro Villanueva is considered the weakest link on it (not really the weak link, per se), and he made the freaking Pro Bowl!
How about the defense?
It's so tough, rookie outside linebacker T.J. Watt kept legendary Steelers Super Bowl XLIII hero (and legendary weight-lifter) James Harrison on the bench for so long in 2017, it made Bill Belichick's locker room rules that forbid having fun seem less frightening by comparison.
The Jaguars have made the postseason for the first time in 10 years—and they even managed to win a playoff game.
Their season is a success no matter what happens from here on out.
As for the Steelers, even if they win the Super Bowl this year, one of the first people to call into any post-game show will want to talk about their questionable play-calling inside the five.
Hey Jaguars—the 2017 Pittsburgh Steelers are a hornets nest at which you'd best not throw any rocks this Sunday.
Actually, even if you don't, be prepared to run all the way back to Jacksonville with your tails between your collective legs.
You might think you're tough, Jacksonville, but you ain't 2017 Pittsburgh Steelers tough.