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2014 NFL Playoffs: Steelers Fans Stuck Watching Ravens, Patriots and Blount

When the fourth quarter of the AFC wild-card game between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers began last Saturday, NBC came out of the commercial and played the beginning of “Ah! Leah!” by Donnie Iris.

Since Iris is from the Pittsburgh area, it was meant as a salute to the city. But it turned out to be a commentary on the Steelers’ dire situation.

“We both know we’re never going to make it.”

The Steelers were down 20-9 at the time, but they rallied. They always do when they lose these wild-card games. But their late run wasn’t enough to overcome three bad quarters of football against the Jaguars in 2007 or the Broncos in 2011, and it wasn’t enough to climb out of the hole they dug for themselves against the Ravens.

So now our Terrible Towels are stored in the sock drawer until September, and we have to watch yet another Ravens-Patriots playoff game.

“Here we go again,” as Donnie Iris would say.

It’s the fourth time in the last six years that the Ravens and Patriots have met in the playoffs. Each time, the Steelers have either been eliminated from the playoffs or missed the playoffs entirely.

At least if the Steelers were still playing, we could look forward to getting a crack at the team that wins this game. Instead, we have to stomach the fact that one of the Steelers’ two main antagonists of the 21st century will move a step closer to another championship.

Not all Steelers fans can even watch the rest of the NFL playoffs after what happened last weekend, but those who will be in front of a TV at 4:35 p.m. on Saturday have a decision to make when they watch the AFC divisional playoff game.

Sort of like choosing between a root canal and a prostate exam.

I’ve written before in this space that I can tolerate another Ravens championship more than I can another Patriots championship. I’m from New England and lived there when the Patriots won their three Super Bowls, two of them after beating the Steelers in AFC championship games. Watching the Patriots win those Super Bowls was like attending an ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend’s wedding.

I understand, however, that more Steelers fans would rather see the Ravens lose. Only a small segment of Steelers fans had to experience what I did in New England, and there are plenty of reasons to hate the Ratbirds, from Ray Lewis to Ray Rice to Terrell Suggs to the fact that they’re coached by a Harbaugh.

But what about LeGarrette Blount?

Doesn’t he change the hatred equation?

With Le’Veon Bell out, the Steelers sure could have used Blount on Saturday. He would have given them more than Josh Harris and Ben Tate.

What the Steelers couldn’t use was Blount’s me-first attitude. Blount pouted his way out of Pittsburgh because he lost playing time to arguably the best running back in the NFL. It couldn’t possibly have had anything to do with losing eight yards when given the ball at the 1-yard line against the Jets the week before, could it?

Now that Blount’s a Patriot, he’s magically rediscovered his ability to run forward. He’s gained 281 yards in six games, averaging 4.7 yards per carry.

Aren’t there any other Steelers fans who hope that Blount and the rest of the Patriots feel this Saturday night exactly what the Steelers felt last Saturday night?

Besides, if the Ravens beat the Patriots we can again bestow our unconditional hatred on them next week when they travel to Denver or Indianapolis.

This week, however, Steelers fans need the Ravens to ensure that Blount doesn’t get a championship ring.

Had he been more of a team player in Pittsburgh, Blount could have patiently waited for an opportunity to get more carries. That time would have been Saturday with Bell on the sidelines.

It shouldn’t be surprising that Blount acted the way he did. This is a guy who punched an opponent in college. When he played in Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers hired a car service, with the driver waking him up in the morning, to make sure he would get to practice on time. Then of course there was the pot arrest before this season, and in that case Bell was no more of a team player than Blount.

Signing Blount came with some risk. As Donnie Iris would say, “Don’t you know we’re playing with the fire?”

Well, the Steelers got burned.

First there was Spygate.

Now there’s Blountgate.

We can’t say “Go Steelers” for another eight months. So Go Whoever Plays the Patriots.

Follow Mike @Steel_Tweets

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1 comment

  1. Greg Kuetemeier

    I was disappointed when I heard we signed Blount and happy to see him go. I surely don’t want him to get a ring, but, I just don’t see a world I ever root for Baltimore, for all the reasons you listed and more. I didn’t watch the Super Bowl when the Harbaugh brothers squared off. Personally I will be pulling for the Packers the rest of the way.

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