Yes it sucks not to be in the playoffs. The Steelers ended the 2009 season with a three-game winning streak, but still came up short for the playoffs.
Yes the sting hurts. However reality is, over the course of the next month, the draw to the playoffs is going to be too strong for some of us.
Not having anything to do with the Steelers until the draft (we know free agency will be uneventful), this will be our last chance to really enjoy football until the end of July.
So, who should Steeler Nation be cheering for to hoist the Lombardi Trophy in February?
New Orleans Saints
The Saints are a great story and I cannot blame people who want to throw their support at them.
Drew Brees deserves a championship. But, if he does win it, then Dan Marino will sit alone as one of the best ever to not win a Championship. Brees is his only company since Peyton Manning won a ring, and we wouldn't want Marino to be alone there, right?
The Vikings started out the season on fire and played great in a dome. Their path to the Super Bowl will be through a dome and that plays to their strength.
Part of me wants the Vikings to win. If they do, then more than likely, Brett Favre will finally leave the game for the last time and we won't have the whole "will he or won't he retire" nonsense this off season.
Not a chance! No REAL Steeler fan would EVER root for the Cowboys, even if they were playing the Patriots.
Pittsburgh's neighbor to the East. McNabb is a good story, but haven't the Eagles had enough chances? Andy Reid is the Bill Cowher of the NFC and he has the same problem. He gets to the Championship then lose.
Green Bay Packers
I am almost sold on the Packers. If the Packers were to beat the Vikings and win the Super Bowl, every Packer fan would feel justified in hating Favre, and it would probably make Favre nuts, having his old team with the Super Bowl.
This is the NFC team Steelers fans SHOULD be pulling for. Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm are both coaching there and there are numerous players who used to be on the Steelers playing there as well.
If Steelers fans want to go with the NFC, the Cardinals are the only team they should root for.
Once again, the Colts hold home-field advantage in the AFC and they again sat their starters basically the last two weeks of the season, probably meaning an early playoff exit again.
New England Patriots
Not a chance. See Cowboys above.
AFC North opponent? Not a chance. For the two or three of you who are thinking about it, STOP! They are a member of our division, and you cannot be a Steelers fan and root for the Bengals!
New York Jets
The Jets were handed their last two games, and should not have even made it to the playoffs. I cannot cheer for a team that does not deserve to be playing, and honestly, they are not that good.
Rex Ryan has done a great job and Sanchez is going to be a good QB, but the Jets should not be out of the playoffs early.
Not a chance. See Bengals above.
San Diego Chargers
The only team in the AFC I could cheer for would be the Chargers. My reasoning may surprise you, but let me explain.
The NFL Draft class of 1984 is known as the best ever. I cannot even argue that. I would like to see the Class of 2004 give them a run for their money.
In the first five years from the 2004 draft, quarterbacks from the class of 04 won three Super Bowls. Ben Roethlisberger has two, and Eli Manning has one. If the Bolts win the Super Bowl, then the class of 2004 will be 4 of 6. That is more championships than the class of 1984 combined.
I guess, I am hoping for a Cardinals vs. Chargers Super Bowl. If that happens, I am going to be cheering for the Arizona Cardinals and all the ex-Steelers that are a part of that team.