That was the prevalent feeling mere seconds after the Steelers were shellacked by the Patriots in the AFC Championship game at Gillette Stadium on January 22.
I guess Steelers fans should root for Atlanta. After all, a Falcons upset victory would keep New England’s Super Bowl bounty at four and still two away from Pittsburgh’s record six Lombardi Trophies.
Also, it would make head coach Bill Belichick, quarterback Tom Brady and Patriots fans very, very sad if they lost their third Super Bowl in the last nine seasons.
But, while that would all be kind of nice on an intellectual level, it doesn’t do much for me on an emotional level.
I mean, what do I really care if the Patriots eventually tie and then break Pittsburgh’s Super Bowl record?
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There was a time when the standard for Super Bowl success was four championships, which the Steelers held for a decade, until the 49ers tied the mark in 1989 and then reached five in 1994. A year later, in Super Bowl XXX, the Cowboys won their fifth Lombardi, and they knocked off Pittsburgh to do it.
Five was then the standard for 14 seasons until the Steelers added on to the fifth Lombardi they won three years earlier, by outlasting Arizona in Super Bowl XLIII.
But, all those years when San Francisco and Dallas held the standard for Super Bowl success, I don’t remember feeling down about it, like tying the mark then getting number six would validate me as a fan in any way.
But today, Steelers fans go around exclaiming “Got six?” so much, I’m afraid of what might happen to their collective psyche if that number is no longer the standard for Super Bowl triumphs.
Therefore, I suppose I should offer my full support for the Falcons this Sunday, even if, well, the Steelers losing this Sunday would have been more pleasurable than watching the Patriots do so (at least in the long run).
Why? Because Pittsburgh would have been in the Super Bowl, and that’s always a memorable thing–win or lose.
But, anyway, on behalf of all Steelers fans everywhere, let me just end this piece by saying: