So what are “Pittsburgh Steelers” and “Super Bowl XLVIII” doing in the same article title, you ask?
The search engines will be more confused than Jarvis Jones was playing defense early in his rookie season.
After three Super Bowl appearances in six years, the Steelers haven’t even won a playoff game in the last three years.
Even when the Steelers aren’t in the Super Bowl, fans of the Steelers and the other 29 teams not in the big game need someone to root for. What fun is it not caring who wins?
Usually, it’s not hard for Steelers fans to adopt a team. More than half of the Super Bowls since the turn of the century have involved either the Steelers or the New England Patriots. Steelers fans can’t help but wonder if there would be a seventh Lombardi Trophy in Pittsburgh if it weren’t for Spygate. So finding a Steelers fan who has pulled for the Patriots in the Super Bowl is like finding wheatgrass shots at Primanti Bros.
Steeler Nation was divided last year, when the San Francisco 49ers faced the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII. There were Steelers fans who would rather have seen anyone but the hated Ravens win a Super Bowl, and then there were Steelers fans who didn’t want the 49ers to tie the Steelers’ record with a sixth Super Bowl victory. It was a tough decision to make because there were compelling reasons to throw your support behind either team.
On the surface, it might not seem to matter to Steelers fans whether the Denver Broncos or Seattle Seahawks win Super Bowl XLVIII.
But a closer look reveals several reasons why Steelers fans should root for the Seattle Seahawks.
Sure, a lot of people want to see Richard Sherman taste a heaping helping of defeat. But what has the Seahawks cornerback ever done to the Steelers?
The Broncos aren’t led by villainous characters like Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, but like the Patriots they have been a Steelers antagonist.
Sure, it was Tim Tebow and not Peyton Manning who stunned the Steelers 29-23 in overtime in the 2011 AFC wild-card game, the Steelers’ last playoff appearance. But Tebow’s ineptitude against any team not wearing black and gold is the reason why the Broncos signed Manning that spring. In that way, there still is a Tebow connection to the 2013 Broncos that shouldn’t sit well with Steelers fans.
Let’s not forget, too, that John Elway was just as much of a Steeler enemy as Brady. He ended the Steelers’ Cinderella run in 1989 when the Broncos defeated the Steelers 24-23 in the AFC divisional playoffs at Denver.
Then in 1997, Elway and the Broncos broke the Steelers’ hearts in the AFC championship game at Three Rivers Stadium. The Broncos won 24-21 and went on to beat the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXII for their first championship.
Fourteen years later, as the Broncos’ vice president of football operations, Elway told a slumping Tebow to “pull the trigger” before the Broncos faced the Steelers in the playoffs, and CBS showed a cheering Elway after Tebow threw the game-winning touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas in overtime.
Elway has foiled the Steelers on the field and from the front office. Let’s hope he has nothing to cheer about Sunday.
Manning hasn’t tormented the Steelers nearly as much as Elway, Brady or even Tebow. If anything, it was the other way around when Manning was a Colt. The Steelers shocked the Colts 21-18 at Indianapolis on their way to winning Super Bowl XL.
However, in the 2012 season opener Manning led the Broncos to a win over the Steelers at Denver in his Broncos debut. So he’s had a hand in the Steelers’ two-year playoff absence.
Just for that, he should not be allowed into the exclusive club of quarterbacks who have won two Super Bowls, which includes Ben Roethlisberger. Hopefully the Seahawks can ensure that Roethlisberger maintains that historical edge over Manning.
Steelers fans instead should endorse a quarterback who’s taken advice from Terry Bradshaw.
While Sherman was scaring small children in his interview with Erin Andrews after the NFC championship game, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson sought out Bradshaw, who was there working for FOX. According to Pro Football Talk, Wilson asked the Steelers’ four-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback what he needed to do to win the Super Bowl.
Wilson was 17 years old when the Steelers defeated the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL. Steelers fans wouldn’t have to hear about the officiating in that game anymore if the Seahawks bring the Lombardi Trophy to Seattle.
Wouldn’t that be nice?