MIKE BURKE

Allegany Communications Sports

I assure you every team in the AFC playoffs right now is relieved, delighted and thrilled the Pittsburgh Steelers are not in the playoffs with them, because nobody wants to play the Steelers right now.

So maybe they’re not too flashy, but guaranteed, if you’re playing in the playoffs right now and you would have happened to draw the Steelers, you wouldn’t be very flashy either — but you will hurt like hell the next day. And at this stage, there’s at least a 50-50 chance you will have lost.

So here it is, and here we are – the grand sweeps season of #NFLTheTVShow; otherwise known as the playoffs, at least it was when it was just the NFL.

Fun times to be sure. I’ll be watching; the TVShow makes it nearly impossible not to watch. Heck, they even sold out to themselves to have Monday night playoff games, which shouldn’t come as a surprise, other than in the time it took them to finally sell their souls on this one last year, just as they finally did on Las Vegas and on gambling.

“Oh, no, there will never be a team in Las Vegas. We’ll never condone or promote gambling – legal or otherwise – because it would tarnish the majesty and the integrity of The Shield.”

GAK! I just made myself ill even typing that one, but at least they’re now so shameless they are kind of being somewhat honest about it, and why not? As our old friend Joe D’Atri always says, “Money talks and (b.s.) runs a marathon.”

Joe has always said great things, but per the Monday night playoff games (and please, anybody over the age of 11, try to convince me it’s not a TV show), the NFL vowed to never do it, because it would not be fair to the winning team since it would then be faced with a short work week to prepare for its next playoff game.

Here are the thoughts of the great Babe Laufenberg, the former NFL quarterback and current NFL and Dallas Cowboys announcer and commentator (and hey, if your name is Babe, you’re great. No explanation is necessary – we’ll just know):

“These MNF playoff games have to go,” the Babe tweeted. “One thing to be ‘schedule-disadvantaged’ during the season. But you just can’t do that when so much is at stake. Cowboys will arrive back from Tampa at 3:30 a.m. Tuesday. If they win, a short work week. Hardest on coaches. Get rid of playoff MNF.”

For that matter, the winner of the Baltimore-Cincinnati Sunday night playoff game is going to have a short week, as well. But we’ll get to those zany Ravens later in the week …

As for the Steelers, there is no question they would be a difficult out for any team in the AFC playoffs this year; and the same can be said for the Detroit Lions in the NFC, but we’re not going there with them this week, though it is tempting.

Think about this: The Steelers, after somehow losing to the Miami Dolphins, 16-10, and then being drum-rolled by the Philadelphia Eagles, 35-13, to fall to 2-6 entering their bye week, finished the season by going 7-2 to finish 9-8 on the season and to provide head coach Mike Tomlin with his 16th consecutive winning season as an NFL coach.

As Pittsburgh broadcaster John Steigerwald tweeted on Sunday, “Say what you want about Mike Tomlin’s post season record, but 16 winning seasons in a row in a league built to prevent that from happening is a spectacular accomplishment. And he did a great coaching job in the second half this season. They’re better than at least 1 playoff team – (Miami).”

Eh, maybe two, but we’ll get to that later in the week …

As the great John Feinstein (no, his name isn’t Babe, he’s just great) posted, “Anybody out there who doesn’t think Mike Tomlin is a great football coach just doesn’t understand football or the art of coaching. Doesn’t matter that they got knocked out of the playoffs, he always gets everything there is to get out of his team.”

Steelers fans, who couldn’t have been found by Columbo up to the moment of the Immaculate Reception, just don’t appreciate, or refuse to appreciate, just how good they’ve got it.

No, they didn’t make the playoffs this year, but the Steelers made themselves one of the most dangerous teams in the NFL to this point and that will surely carry over to next season when their now-rookie quarterback is a second-year quarterback.

Oh, that’s right, this was the first year the Steelers played since 2003 without generational quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, a certain Hall of Famer (for what that’s worth considering how it’s determined) …

Only one head coach in Steelers history has led his team to 16 straight winning seasons – no, not Chuck Noll; not Bill Cowher, the Randolph Scott of Steelers coaches had three losing seasons and one .500 season in 15. The coach who has done it is one Mike Tomlin.

Sorry, Steelers fans. Your team’s future remains bright. That guy who supposedly can’t coach has made certain of that.

You’re just going to have to get over it.

Mike Burke writes about sports and other stuff for Allegany Communications. He began covering sports for the Prince George’s Sentinel in 1981 and joined the Cumberland Times-News sports staff in 1984, serving as sports editor for over 30 years. Contact him at [email protected] and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @MikeBurkeMDT