By Jason Keidel
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If you look beyond the collective grieving New Yorkers are enduring this week, a team actually won that game on Sunday.
And with all due respect to Jets Nation, there is a black & gold army that could be the largest in America, with many soldiers in New York City. It seems the Steelers win Super Bowls in spurts, spawning generations of worshipers much the way the Yankees have in the ‘50s, ‘70s, and ‘90s.
(We all know the Yankees were great before the 1950s, but we must draw a dynastic line somewhere.)
Jeff Capellini wrote a piece for this site about the vitriol with which he and his cohorts were treated at Heinz Field, everything from invectives to children flashing the middle-digit. That runs counter to most accounts I hear about Heinz. But assuming he’s right, Steelers fans shouldn’t bicker or boast. When you win the winning speaks. Let them shout at you over your six rings.
Many will argue that the Steelers forfeited their title as classiest team in team sports when they retained Ben Roethlisberger after his indiscretion last summer. That may be true, but no team is cutting their star quarterback without a felony, and Big Ben wasn’t even charged with a crime. He’s a creep, but he’s really, really, good, and that trumps all morality in the current culture.
The reason the Jets didn’t belch their normal trash talk before playing the Steelers is because Pittsburgh normally handles their business with quiet fortitude, leaving the chirping to the enemy (with the exception of the hated Ravens, of course).
Boxing isn’t the only place where styles make fights. Indeed the Jets did the Steelers a serious solid by beating the Patriots, who probably would have dissected Pittsburgh in Foxborough. The Jets gave the Steelers home-field advantage while whipping their tormentors.
We are eternally wed to our youth, so you can only be so objective when watching the colors of your childhood. Most of my friends are devastated, and they should be. But Rex Ryan has done a wonderful job with the Jets. And despite the team’s foot-in-mouth disorder, they were an unfiltered pleasure to watch this season. Some say the Jets lost because they didn’t arrive with the bluster to match the cold wind coming down the Three Rivers. The Jets lost because the Steelers were better. And there’s no shame in that.
I watched the game with a childhood friend, Bernie, whom I met in 1976, in second grade at P.S. 163. We were Bradshaw babies, weaned on Mean Joe Greene, in the midst of an uncanny run of four Super Bowls in six years.
If we (there I go with the collective) beat the Packers we will have a black & gold chokehold on the trophy. If it weren’t named after Lombardi (which it should be) you may name it after Papa Rooney.
“You’re spoiled,” he said fondly to his son, 13, also named Bernie. “It’s like the ‘70s for you.”
I knew what he meant.
Feel free to email me: Jakster1@mac.com
Hate the Steelers? Love ‘em? Sound off below…
- Keidel: Jets Fest (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- Keidel: No Cryin’ Over Ryan (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- Keidel: The 40-Year Itch (newyork.cbslocal.com)