Less than 48 hours separate Steeler Nation from the defeat in Super Bowl XLV, and it still stings.
The Packers won. The Packers played the better game. The Steelers lost. The Steelers made too many mistakes. That's all there is to it.
No whining, griping or sniping here. Except to wonder why the Steelers didn't try to run the ball more -- did they wait until the third quarter to run the ball on consecutive plays? That's no way to establish the running game -- especially against the NFL's 18th-rated rushing defense!
Because the Packers scored first and had that big lead at halftime, it didn't feel like a close game. But it was. Six points. A one-score game. At the beginning of that last possession, we tried to visualize Big Ben connecting with Mike Wallace wham full-speed on a sudden crossing pattern with Wallace sprinting into the end zone.
It didn't happen, but they've done that very play this season. If they'd been able to connect this time, it woulda, coulda, shoulda been game, set, match.
One play. Seven points. That's all it would have taken.
But they didn't get it done, and that's that. No griping, sniping or whining here. The Packers made the plays, and the Steelers didn't. Simple as that.
Congratulations to the Packers and their fans, and congrats especially to head coach Mike McCarthy, a Pittsburgh guy from Greenfield.
Having known a bunch of guys from Greenfield, well, let's just say they're a tough lot. And that's being polite.
If any team besides the Steelers were going to win the Super Bowl, at least it was led by a Pittsburgh guy from Greenfield. Now, having got THAT out of the way and feeling nearly nauseated writing it, Joey Porter's Pit Bulls must comment on a couple of things related to the event itself, not the game.
The "Jones Mahal" Debacle
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones must be very proud. Yeah, right. Sheesh.
He built a billion-dollar palatial stadium, a colossus many mainstream media have dubbed "The Jones Mahal" because it was built on ego as much as anything else. The stadium also clearly was intended to be the crown jewel in Jones's "legacy" and just as clearly was built for the express purpose of hosting this Super Bowl with the Dallas Cowboys as the host team.
What an achievement this would be! Power! On display for all to see! Oh, the glory, and it's all about me, me, me ...
Instead, Jones's Cowboys stumbled through a miserable, losing season; fired their coach midway through the year; failed to come close to making the playoffs; sustained withering criticism from local and national media; and, then, finally, the entire Dallas-Forth Worth Metroplex had to watch in suffering, torment and envy as the rival Steelers and Packers stormed through the playoffs and made it to the Super Bowl. "Dang, it shoulda been the Cowboys!"
As if to add insult to misery, Dallas fans had to endure the onslaught not just of Packers fans and Steeler Nation, but also a fluky weather system that slammed the Metroplex with frigid temperatures, nightmare ice storms and, finally, snow.
Calamities abounded: Flights into DFW were delayed or cancelled; local traffic paralyzed; fans stranded; and the media focused on all that was going wrong, which was just about everything.
Then, on the Friday before the Super Bowl, a torrent of snow cascaded off the roof of Jones Mahal and injured six people. Lawsuits coming!
And then, to top it all off before a national television audience shortly before kickoff, Jones's and the NFL's bald-faced, grubby stab at greedily trying to set an attendance record (in other words, collect as much money as possible by attempting to overbuild seating capacity and cram as many payng fans into the stadium as physically possible) backfired shamefully and disgracefully, as an estimated 2,000 fans, most of whom apparently were Steelers season-ticket holders, were turned away at the gates by direction of the Fire Marshall or some such bureaucrat that you would have thought would have been paid off long before game time.
These were legitimate ticket-holding fans -- many of whom sacrificed, worked, scratched and clawed -- to purchase their tickets and travel to Texas. More lawsuits! These were real fans, by the way, not blase celebrities.
Which takes us to our next point of crankiness ...
Celebrity Adulation Makes Us Puke
One aspect of the annual Super Bowl spectacle has become particularly cloying, if not downright revolting: The loathsome onslaught of video shots of inane, vapid celebrities.
We presume few of them care about the game itself or the teams involved. We also presume they just want to see and be seen. Particularly nauseating this year was the retina-burning image of Cameron Diaz hand-feeding popcorn to Alex Rodriguez in a super-duper luxury suite. Yecch, blaaah, puke.
Yet Another Awful Halftime Spectacle
Much has been said about Christina Aguilera's butchering of the National Anthem (frankly, we didn't notice her flubbing the lyrics and thought her rendition was pretty strong), so we'll skip right past that to the halftime show.
The halftime show sucked, once again. There, we said it.
We like the Black Eyed Peas, but, man, this show was overly orchestrated, which happens nearly all the time in the Super Bowl. They played four cover songs -- what, they don't have enough original material to fill 18 minutes? Most Super Bowl halftime shows are awful, and this was no exception.
The first turn-off was the now farcical and de rigeur on-field "audience" jumping around as if they weren't paid to do it. Plus, it would help if these characters in the Black Eyed Peas could sing. Granted, they have style and talent, but singing chops? Eh, not so much, apparently.
Unfortunately, the NFL has a much too-long history of odious halftime shows, whether it's because of the "talent" selected or because the talent selected puts on an awful performance -- which happens nearly every year.
The only exception in recent memory was Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band three years ago, in Super Bowl XLIII, which the Steelers won. Good job, Bruce and band, who kept it simple, straightforward and rocking.
In other years, however, even historic bands we've liked -- such as Z.Z. Top, the Stones and the Who -- were gruesome. Six years later, it still bugs us that the Stones, who did so many Motown covers over the years, somehow failed to notice they were in Detroit and missed a golden opportunity to pay tribute to American Rock 'n Soul by neglecting to invite Motown legends onstage to perform some of the many classics the Stones have covered.
Since we're feeling cranky, we may as well continue. Joey Porter's Pit Bulls have seen the Stones more than a few times over the years, including a "homecoming" concert in London, at Wembley, which was only so-so at best, curiously enough.
In some concerts, yes, the Stones are awesome and nearly live up to their own, self-proclaimed moniker of "Greatest Rock 'n Roll Band in the World." Some concerts, however, they absolutely live down to their parallel reputation for self-indulgence and sloppiness -- which is what they did in Super Bowl XL, another Steelers win, by the way.
Granted, this is an old rant. Being half-Irish, though, Joey Porter's Pit Bulls have the genetic imperative to forget everything but our grudges. Therefore, six years later, we'll say it again: Shame on the Stones for not paying tribute to Motown in Motown.
And, while we're at it, shame on The Who for last year's going-through-the-motions "performance," which was putrid. PUTRID!
There. That rant is off our chest. Again.
Now, back to the real world, the harsh glare of reality, cold winter and the drudgery of dealing with real, everyday problems. What fun!
Yep, we're grumpy, but that's what a Steelers loss in the Super Bowl will do to a Steelers fan.
Not to be bitter.