The Pittsburgh Steelers played Motown this Sunday and what began as early game joy shifted dramatically into the same old broken record in the second quarter.
It had Steelers Nation singing Marvin Gaye‘s rendition of “What’s Goin’ On?” and Smokey Robinson‘s “Tracks Of My Tears” as the Detroit Lions imposed their will.
Offense anemic. Balls overthrown and dropped. Linemen overwhelmed. Punts squibbing. The once-proud defense gashed by the run. The secondary shredded like a torn pinata. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford so unpressed and comfortable in the pocket it appeared as if he was in a photo shoot for Glamour Magazine. And then, of course, there was Calvin Johnson treating the Steelers best cornerback as if he was “Signed, Sealed and Delivered”.
Just another broken record in a disappointing season.
But then mercifully with 27 unanswered Lions points on the scoreboard, the limping Black and Gold were saved by the halftime bell.
And before the Steelers faithful could scream one more refrain of, “Ike…catch the ball!” a new team emerged from halftime, a Pittsburgh unit singing a brand new song, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”.
Resilient. Determined. Clutch.
For the first time in a season marred more by slapstick comedy than Steeler greatness, the 2013 model wore their colors, albeit in bumblebee style, with the spirit and resolve of past and future champions.
The Pittsburgh defense locked down one of the best offenses in the league in the Lions. The makeshift offensive line held back their mammoth counterparts. Even…yes…a punter emerged a hero. The diminutive Pittsburgh receivers rose like giants and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger played like a man who truly never wants to leave the city.
In reality, all the Steelers accomplished was buying themselves another week in the hunt. Maybe two.
But in the process, they gave everyone a glimmer of the greatness within. A strength of character and a resilience that may be the beginning of proving this team worthy of the many teams who wore these uniforms before them. These looked like Pittsburgh Steelers.
The winners are many. Ownership. Coaches. The players and all of the staff. The food vendors, the swag sellers, the Steelers media, ticket holders and an entire city. Because the season is alive.
Yes…this is only possible because of the misery loves company AFC. But, alive it is.
Which means for the fans a slice of hope. A priceless gift. To be able to dream…the impossible dream.