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Steelers done; local teams view playoffs

| Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, 8:56 p.m.

The NFL playoffs started last week and it just doesn't seem the same without the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Non-playoff years have been a rarity since the Immaculate Reception back in 1972. Now, instead of planning Black-and- Gold themed playoff parties, a lot of folks utilize the time to call the sports talk shows and rip the Steelers.

Some people want to dump everybody involved with the team and start from scratch.

All I can say to them is, “Get a life.”

Injuries crushed the team toward the end of the season, making those losses to Oakland, Tennessee and Cleveland even more glaring.

Better luck next year guys. And before the Steelers part ways with Casey Hampton, they better be real sure of the abilities of Ziggy Hood and Cameron Heyward.

I'm still not convinced they're the answer to the problems of the aging defensive line.

The playoff picture is much rosier here. The Fox Chapel boys and girls basketball teams are at the top of their sections a third of the way through the season.

There's still a lot of basketball to be played, though. Teams aren't going to roll over because the Foxes are coming to town.

Every victory will be a hard-earned one.

If coach Zach Skrinjar and Meghan Meabon's teams start getting full of themselves at this stage of the season, there could be problems.

The hoops teams at SSA aren't in the lofty position that the FC teams are. They've already tasted a couple of section losses and they can't afford many more.

They may be at the win-em-all point right now and that's not an impossibility. It will take a one-game-at-a-time mentality.

This is the time of the season when the teams at FC and SSA have to focus. A good start doesn't ensure a good finish.

Look at the Steelers' finish.

Steelers fans have been so accustomed to making the playoffs that they figured the Bengals' game was a sure win.

Teams just don't come in and win at Heinz Field, right?

Wrong.

Not only were the Steelers a terrible road team, they were no great shakes at home.

People can blame everybody and anybody associated with the Steelers, but really, that was a terrible running game this year, wasn't it?

Part of the reason was the many injuries on the offensive line.

People will be discussing the failures of the Steelers for many months. They will also be offering their home-brewed remedies. Fire Tomlin. Fire Haley. Fire LeBeau. Fire the vendors. They're a jinx.

As for me, I'm not going to think about the Steelers at all.

I'm going to be rooting for the FC and SSA teams to work their way into the playoffs. And if they don't make it, I won't be calling the talk shows ripping them. I'll thank them for an exciting season and wish them well next year.

Marty Stewart is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-782-2123 or mstewart@tribweb.com.

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