Did you get the feeling that well-needed weight was taken off your shoulders after that game?
Think of it. Since the midpoint of the season, the Pittsburgh Steelers has been in the public eye. Analyst and experts galore giving their opinions on whether this undefeated Steelers team was for real.
With all the benefits that once came with being recognized as an undefeated, it seemed to have been overshowed by the external negativity in the last few months. Firstly, the very same analysts that praised this team, started to turn against them and question the authenticity of their wins. Secondly, injuries have become their undoing, notably on defense. If anything can be said when watching this team lose to a tough Washington team, the spirit of this team diminished after losing Bud Dupree. In this game, they may end up losing two or more key players on that unit; loses, they can ill afford at this point of the season.
Finishing a regular season undefeated, has only once produced a Superbowl champion; that being the 1972 Miami Dolphins. The other team to nearly accomplish this feat was the 2007 New England Patriots. Unfortunately for this team, the New York Giants had other plans for them in the Superbowl.
In reality, the odds were too stacked against this team to go undefeated. The NFL is a much different league than it was in 1972 or in 2007.It is not built for teams to go undefeated, as the talent level is exponentially better, and easier access to information makes for better coaching. With these factors considered, the loss was inevitable; not because of the team they faced, rather what the burden of being undefeated was doing to them.
For fans who are upset with the outcome of today's game, all I can offer is this; everything happens for a reason. A loss today does not mean it is the end, instead it represents a new beginning. It gives them the chance to shed the burden of being undefeated, and redefined themselves in such a way that will ultimately make them stronger.