2016 South Side Questions: How Great Was That?

The regular season is here, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are taking their practices at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the real work is now upon us, there is plenty left to be done.

And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they wade through a regular season in which they are, at least supposed to be, among the favorites to win the Super Bowl.

Question: How great was last night’s win?

This article isn’t really about football. It’s certainly not about Xs and Os. This is about emotions. The fandom experience. I generally regard myself as a pretty stoic, objective person, but you can bet your life I jumped out of my seat at the end of the Steelers’ victory over the Ravens last night.

Now, the game probably didn’t exactly go down as the Steelers had hoped, but it sure couldn’t have ended much more climactically, with the ups and downs that built up to a season-defining, perhaps era-defining touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Antonio Brown that has the potential to go down as an iconic play in Steelers history.

Did the Steelers play a complete game? Absolutely not, not by any means. They have probably only played one single complete game all season, against the Chiefs. But it sure was as satisfying a victory as the team has had in recent years.

And there are so many layers, of course, that add to just how meaningful the final moments of that game were, beyond simply the football taking place on the field, which was dramatic enough all on its own without the surrounding trappings.

The Ravens, after all, have been their chief rivals for a good long while now, and they also have had their number recently. They lost four games in a row. Last night, they got their revenge and then some, knocking them out of the playoffs.

And in the process, of course, they wrapped up not just the AFC North for themselves, but also the third seed, which was the best that they could have hoped for entering the day. It was the best possible outcome, with an added bonus of no serious injuries.

They also did it through adversity, starting with the injuries they had coming into the game, and then having to battle through their own mistakes. The defense even gave up a touchdown late that required a last-minute rally. The game had just about everything as far as drama and suspense goes. And the victory makes it all good in the end.

So, I ask you, how great was that? And on Christmas day, no less.

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