As inevitable as the winter whitewash that blanketed the eastern seaboard of the United States, the New England Patriots swept into Pittsburgh and
blew away the Steelers in the AFC Championship. And on a hallowed eve in Pittsburgh, the Steelers saw the ghosts of playoff past...
It was a simple lesson in modern history. For the second time in four years, New England showed Pittsburgh why playing "catch-up" at Heinz Field is a
bad idea in January. For the third time in four years, the Patriots are champions of the AFC. And for the first time in a decade, a dynasty walks in
the National Football League...
The New England Patriots are following in the fabled footsteps of the Packers of the '60s, the Steelers of the '70s, the 49ers of the '80s and the
Cowboys of the '90s. They are a dominant group, men's men who perfectly grasp why an individual team will always beat a team of individuals. They have
given new life to the cliché, taking it one game at a time, giving a 110 percent and playing within themselves on a weekly basis. These are the
Patriots of the '00s. (I guess that what you’d call it.) They are - unequivocally - America's Team, Patriots who transcend the confines of
For towel-waiving Steeler fans, it was just another terrible night in January. The Bill Cowher Era predictably rolled on in Pittsburgh with the same
old sorry ending: Another shattered post-season dream. For the past 13 years, Steeler Football has been defined by superficial success and ultimate
folly. This is Cowher's signature. This is his legacy...
All across the Steel City, "woeful wipies" were drenched in salt. It was just that sad for the long-suffering Steeler fans, who were once again
reminded why regular season dominance doesn't always translate in the playoffs. As for that over-hyped Blitzburgh bandwagon, it was finally sacked
into reality - that is, at least until next year...
The legacy of the Steel Curtain has long been old news, but the Patriots made sure to bury it where it all began. As the story always seems to go
these days, Pittsburgh saved their worst for last, New England their best. The Steelers are now the official beer of the NFL, growing increasingly
bitter and generally worsening with age. The Patriots, on the other hand, are the league's fine wine, accumulating taste, value and body as time goes
Jerome Bettis said it best: "They won two of the last three Super Bowls, so it would be foolish to sit back and think they're not the favorite." Sadly
though, this year's post-season breakdown should mark the last ride for Bettis, the NFL's fifth all-time leading rusher. Nobody in their right mind
would hire the services of a tired, old Bus. Oh well. But don't feel bad for Jerome. All those years of relentless self-promotion should pay off in
that broadcasting job he's been lobbying for since the mid-'90s. I'm Dean Christopher...