Tim Benz: 'It's about us!' Easy to make Super Bowl LII all about the Steelers
It lasted 15 minutes.
That's all it took for the pleasant schadenfreude I was feeling over New England losing in the Super Bowl to fade into anger.
Anger over the fact that the city of Philadelphia had something to be happy about.
No, the Steelers weren't part of Super Bowl LII. But who cares!? I watched the game through Black and Gold glasses and made it about Pittsburgh anyway.
After all, Sunday's 41-33 upset win by the Eagles over the Patriots definitely gave Steelers fans plenty of ties to their favorite team.
The catch rule debate
Twice the Eagles had touchdowns upheld by replay. One of those was a tight end — Zach Ertz — lunging across a goal line to score the game's eventual winning touchdown only to have the ball come loose upon his dive into the end zone.
It was not the same as the infamous "Robbery of Jesse James" play against these same Patriots in Week 15. But it was similar.
After both calls I was surprised to see many in Pittsburgh tweeting in angst that the rulings should've been reversed because James' was overruled back in December.
Why? Did you really want to see New England benefit from that kind of treatment in the Super Bowl again? Twice more?
It was almost as if people felt like if those calls had been overturned, that would've somehow justified how The Catch Rule was applied to James.
It wouldn't have.
Would you have somehow felt better about James getting screwed if Ertz getting jobbed as well helped New England to tie Pittsburgh with a sixth championship ring?
I didn't think so.
Furthermore, even the most die-hard Steeler fan would have to admit that Ertz's catch was more clearly a TD than James' since he had established himself as runner and took multiple steps towards the end zone.
The "Best Franchise Ever" discussion
The Patriots are the best NFL dynasty ever, having won five titles in the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era.
Sorry 70's Steelers and 80's 49ers. That's true.
After Sunday, they are stuck on five, though.
So Pittsburgh can still lay claim to being the "Best Franchise" of the Super Bowl era as the lone team with six Vince Lombardi Trophies. Also, given their competitiveness from the 1970's onward with only a few minor dry spells, it's clear the Steelers have been consistently good, and more often excellent than any team over the last 52 years.
The running backs
I'm not one who advocates letting Le'Veon Bell walk away in free agency. However, those who are saw two teams that make a pretty good case for being able to run productive offenses without a franchise running back.
Both Philly and New England feature three backs who contribute to the running and passing games.
Don't be surprised if the "just build a Pats/Eagles running back by committee" narrative starts to expand amongst Steeler fans who have grown tired of Bell's antics and salary demands.
Harrison played lots of snaps, but had just two tackles.
The former Steeler linebacker talked a lot about going to a place where the confetti could be raining down on his head after Super Bowl Sunday. Well, it was. And if you caught the shot of him picking it off his body in disgust, as he walked off the field it was obvious the confetti was meant for the other club.
The back-up QB
"Nick Foles is a Super Bowl Champion" > "Phil Kessel is a Stanley Cup Champion"?
No. But let me ask you this: If Ben Roethlisberger gets hurt late in the regular season, could you ever see Landry Jones doing for the Steelers what Foles just did for the Eagles?
Nah. Me neither.
The injury excuse
Every year when the Steelers lose in the playoffs, we tell ourselves that it would've been different if — fill in the blank player — had been healthy.
Well the team that lost its starting quarterback just won the Super Bowl, over the team that won it last year without Rob Gronkowski and got there this year without Julian Edelman and Dont'a Hightower.
So, enough of that.
We love to hammer Mike Tomlin for not being hard enough on his players. We always say "Belichick is hard on his guys! Tomlin should be more like him!"
I've said it.
But did Belichick go too far in benching cornerback Malcolm Butler for ... whatever he did?
I say, absolutely.
We finally found something Tom Brady can't do: Catch!
Yet if that game was against the Steelers, history suggests he would've hauled in that pass like Lynn Swann did versus Dallas in Super Bowl X
Like I said, we can always make someone else's Super Bowl about us.
Tim Benz hosts the Steelers pregame show on WDVE and ESPN Pittsburgh. He is a regular host/contributor on KDKA-TV and 105.9 FM.