Dear Mr. AFC Championship Game – By Neal Coolong
Steelers Fever Exclusive Editorial
|Dear Mr. AFC Championship game:
Hi, you may remember me. I’m the soul you’ve been torturing for several years; the soul of the Pittsburgh Steelers. A belated Merry Christmas to you and yours; I hope the new year finds you well. While it may be a new year now, I believe you and I find ourselves in a familiar situation.
I represent a team that has four Super Bowl wins, therefore we have succeeded working through you four times. We also succeed in 1995. However, we have since failed to achieve success with you on three other occaisions, dating back 11 years. I have worked in this position for 25 years, so I didn’t get to experience the glory of winning it all. I just had that one chance, and even that didn’t turn out well.
I have discussed this matter with the souls of the San Diego Chargers from 1994 and the Denver Broncos from 1998. All three of us agreed that we were the better team in both of those seasons, but there was our failure to score at the end of the game against San Diego, then John Elway’s bullet pass to Shannon Sharpe that ended the game against Denver. Just the fact you put Kordell Stewart in the position to win or lose the game shows why we didn’t advance to the Super Bowl in 2002.
Now that we are in the same position as we were that season. The hated New England Patriots are coming to Heinz Field. Now, on behalf of the Steelers, I full conceed that Patriots coach Bill Belichick is one of the best coaches of all time, and Tom Brady is right up there with the likes of Montana and Bradshaw when it comes to the playoffs.
We’re all about going out on the field and seeing who the best team is, but this is a simple request to make sure you know we expect a level playing field. We don’t want to see a Norm Johnson-esque performance (or Doug Brien, as it were) by Jeff Reed, where he’s going to miss 25-yard chip shots. We don’t want to see Ben Roethlisberger have to have his hands surgically removed from his throat, much like Mr. Stewart in 1998 and 2002. We don’t want to have cortizone shots going in the wrong spot or poor-tackling defensive backs running into kickers in overtime. We simply want the opportunity to win.
As Rodney Dangerfield says in Caddyshack “Keep it fair, keep it fair.” We don’t want the proverbial kangaroo stealing OUR ball.
Both the Patriots and ourselves are outstanding organizations who pride themselves in power football, stopping the run and integrity. While we despise the Patriots on a competitive level, we acknowledge they are the model franchise in the game right now. But we aren’t so bad ourselves. Our players don’t bitch and moan in the media, nor do they “moon” opposing fans. Granted, the Patriots don’t do this either, but we didn’t choke at Miami. We won the head-to-head. We have the best defense in the game and a superior running game.
All we’re asking is you let us show up this year. We haven’t in the past. We certainly didn’t last week, but let’s let bygones be bygones. Let the game go, don’t torment us anymore.