New England Loss Aids Steelers - By Neal Coolong

Steelers Fever Exclusive Editorial

This was a weird day. First, I had a conversation with Anti-Steelers-Friend Chuck. With the bet we made last night about the Vikings-Steelers game in 2005 fresh in our mind, he told me, AND I QUOTE: "Jake Plummer is a better quarterback than Ben Roethlisberger."

I'll give you a minute to let that statement take effect.

Chuck's a smart guy. A good sports fan. But he said those words. My respect for him hasn't dropped to Kordell Stewart or Kevin Gilbride levels. However, this statement is about as ridiculous as comparing the 2000 Ravens to the 1978 Steelers. Speaking of the Ravens, nah, we'll get to those fools in a minute.

The Patriots, a team so respected, so feared by the media, that despite the fact the Steelers beat the holy hell out of them in a matchup this season, was still picked by all to win the Super Bowl, LOST to the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football. The "best team in the league" losing to the worst team in the league. In primetime. Well, to put it mildly, I think that clinches Roethlisberger's spot on the AFC's Pro Bowl roster. Despite Chuck's opinion.

To paraphrase Bill Walton, Tom Brady looked ATROCIOUS, throwing four picks, including three of the worst I've seen all season, save John Navarre. Tell me, honestly. Are you not rejoicing in that? The Steelers are looking at a magic number of one. One win over Baltimore or Buffalo assures the Steelers play at Heinz Field for the entirety of their playoff lives. If you aren't, you aren't a Steelers fan. Go away, don't read this site. There's going to be a time this season. Perhaps it's now. There will be a time Steelers fans (who support a team that has done nothing wrong all year) will not have to listen to "Dillon didn't play" or "you beat Philly and New England at home." There will be a time when people say, wow, maybe, just MAYBE, Pittsburgh is a good team. Maybe they SHOULD have won those games? I guess that is the path of a Super Bowl champion.

But Eagles fans certainly don't know that. Sorry, had to point out the fact that they choke like chickens in THE big game. Minus TO, they are no different from last year.

Anyway, the Patriots (then the Ravens).

New England needs to beat both the Jets and the 49ers, along with two losses by Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore and at Buffalo to gain an AFC championship game in Foxboro. How likely is that?

What's even better for Pittsburgh fans now is that not only did the Ravens look horribly susceptible to a good offense, but they need to come into Pittsburgh (a place in which they've won once in the last four years) simply to take a playoff berth. In other words, if there is a group of people more excited right now than Steelers fans, it's Buffalo fans. That last week game against Pittsburgh is worthless if the Steelers win or the Patriots lose to the Jets next week.

But here's the thing: Steelers coach Bill Cowher and the rest of his team can sleep a helluva lot easier tonight because they don't need to worry about anything I just wrote. It doesn't matter to them what Buffalo does in Week 16. They don't care what New England does in its next game. All they need to do is win one more. And, despite Chuck's opinions, the Super Bowl truly runs through Pittsburgh.