Let’s face it. We used to laugh at teams who found themselves in the position the Pittsburgh Steelers are facing this weekend.
Years past, at this last game of the season, we would have already had the AFC North wrapped up with maybe just the Baltimore Ravens nipping at our heels. Perhaps we might even have been jockeying for home field advantage throughout. We would scoff at those football minions who had to beg, steal and whimper for even the slightest of hopes to make the playoffs.
And now here we are. Oh how the mighty have fallen! Not only needing help from other teams, but on life support with the Ravens laughing as they pinch our oxygen tube. The Cincinnati Bengals? We’ve got to root for them to win? For the J.E.T.S. JETS, JETS, JETS?
Then if we end up winning and by some chance both the Ravens and the Miami Dolphins do their part by losing, we are still left to endure the worst of all indignities: Having to watch the Kansas City Chiefs lay down against the San Diego Chargers.
It will be a slow, miserable death.
But it’s pain and suffering we should embrace. Because three-quarters of a season ago, while many were shredding their season tickets and tossing them over the London Bridge like confetti, we would have begged for the last game of the season to have meaning.
The real miracle is that it does. The game matters a great deal. In fact, there wasn’t a single game this season that wasn’t significant. Yes, there were plenty of games that disappointed. But none that didn’t make the pulse rise and either the anger or joy flood through our veins.
Yes. As Steelers fans we know it’s a Lombardi or bust.
But win, lose or draw this Sunday, we should be thrilled to be thrilled.