Well, the NFL’s Conference Championship Sunday did its job: It left us two representatives for Super Bowl LVIII after back-to-back showdowns that were objectively thrilling. Speaking of objectivity, the pair of teams it gave was the absolute worst one possible.
The truth is that there are two things people never like in sports—repetition and agendas. Unfortunately for us, this upcoming Super Bowl showdown will be riddled with both, as the matchup not only includes the Kansas City Chiefs (an active dynasty that assaults fans daily via Taylor Swift coverage), but also the San Francisco 49ers (a familiar face in the NFC playoff picture that we saw test them in Super Bowl LIV, not even five years ago).
When compared to both the never-before-seen underdog story that the Detroit Lions could’ve given us and the fact that the Baltimore Ravens haven’t made a Super Bowl in over a decade, how would that not be the least-appealing matchup of the four that had been on the table?
It’s not all bad though, as objectivity has also given us an upside through the lesser of two evils being insanely obvious.
Sure, San Francisco has been quite competitive in recent memory and, as a blue-blooded franchise, its dominant history has undoubtedly made some enemies. But, the combination of not winning a Lombardi in almost 30 years and not having ties to an unrelated pop star/her annoying fanbase objectively makes the 49ers the lesser of two evils.
There’s that word again: “Objectively,” as in “unbiasedly,” or “factually.” Being half a journalist, I hold the practice of objective reasoning in sky-high regards. However, I’m also half a fan, and especially in scenarios such as today’s, I can’t help but find myself wondering who in the world cares about remaining objective?
With my Steelers not being anywhere near champion status for neither now nor the foreseeable future, I have no coverage to provide for them when discussing the Super Bowl, meaning that there is no hot-button issue regarding them that I need to remove my biases from. So, since I’m essentially “on vacation” from having to critique Pittsburgh through an honest and fair perspective, I figured why not tackle Super Bowl LVIII like a Steelers diehard should?
Upon doing so, I’ve come to terms with something that many others haven’t, whether it be because they’ve simply approached the matter differently or straight-up refused to humor it: It’s the Chiefs, not the Niners, whom yinzers should be rooting for.
In reading that statement, the ingrained shot of T-Swizzle in her Arrowhead suite just flashed before your eyes, and as worrying as I’m sure that image is, I beg of you to please hear me out (and remember, do so from the mind of a Steelers-lover first, a Chiefs-hater second). Let’s get started.
Why in the world should a Steelers fan root for the Chiefs?
I’ll cut straight to the chase: There are three reasons I feel that all other Pittsburgh fans should join me in rooting for Kansas City, and if it sweetens the pot at all, I can promise that two of them don’t have a thing to do with being “pro-Chiefs.” In fact, the only one that does is pretty straightforward, so we’ll get it out of the way first.
The Chiefs kept the Ravens from making the Super Bowl, and all of Pittsburgh hates the Ravens. Therefore, we have Kansas City to thank for still being able to clown Baltimore as the undisputed “City of Chokers.” But beyond that, my stance has nothing to do with giving KC praise for a darn thing; rather, it runs on basic realism and a longing to maintain historical superiority.
Starting with the former, we find ourselves once again looking Taylor Swift’s way, as her likeness has become synonymous with that of Kansas City through her relationship with star tight end Travis Kelce, something the media just can’t seem to wean itself off of.
Placing the constant media press she gets on top of KC’s other now-infamous alleyways for attention (Patrick Mahomes’ insufferable family, countless State Farm commercials) makes the Chiefs far less likable than the average powerhouse in the eyes of millions.
While I wholeheartedly align myself with those people, I feel that most of them fail to understand the relationship between Taylor Swift and the outlets that push her under their spotlight on a daily basis. To be frank, it’s not one built on some metric reliant on how much success the Chiefs experience, it’s one of business. You may believe that you are aware of this difference, but if you hope the Chiefs don’t win it all simply because you hate Swiftie coverage, then you clearly are not.
Sports media outlets are, shockingly, even greedier than people realize
Riddle me this: If Kansas City/Taylor Swift only get looks when the Chiefs are cookin’, why were they getting love during the regular season? There were multiple weeks where the Chiefs looked horrendously unimpressive, so much so that many didn’t consider them a favorite to even make the Super Bowl. Do you honestly think the talks surrounding them would halt any quicker by another loss? No chance.
Sure, the hype may not be as severe, but we should know better than to think it’ll go away entirely; and at that point, any lack of severity would be made up for by it being all the less warranted due to a San Francisco victory. Don’t believe me? Heck, just look at the 2023 Colorado Buffaloes.
When discussing the lack of correlation between winning and attention, Deion Sanders’ Buffs just might be the best example. Heading into this past college football season, everyone with half a brain knew they’d suck, and 4-8 later, we had the confirmation. But guess what? They still got sugar, Deion still has cameras on him whenever he has something to say, and they’ll be getting preseason hype like nobody’s business come August.
Media outlets insist on coverage surrounding these subjects out of interests driven by money—nothing else; and while I’m not some Taylor Swift fangirl, I’m willing to bet that if I was, I wouldn’t drop the love story between her and Kelce all because of a single outcome in a sport I had started watching a whopping six months prior.
But wait, while folks may agree with that thought, what does that have to do with Steeler Nation? Doesn’t being sick of Taylor Swift coverage transcend just one fanbase? Absolutely it does, but what doesn’t is how yinzers praying for a KC defeat does their franchise a more exclusive amount of harm than they know, and it all comes down to Lombardi counts.
The 49ers are much bigger threats to Pittsburgh’s all-time NFL footprint
Did you know that if the Chiefs were to win both Super Bowls LVIII and LIX, they would still be one title behind Pittsburgh? Crazy I know, but true. Here’s another crazy stat for ya: If the 49ers were to just win LVIII, they’d be only the second team to ever tie the Steel City’s record of six Lombardis (New England did so by winning Super Bowl LIII).
With neither team showing any immediate signs of slowing down, shouldn’t we want the one that’s all the further from outshining our guys to prevail until further notice?
I can hear some of you already: “Austin, who cares if that record gets tied again? That obviously doesn’t guarantee that it’ll be broken anytime soon. And even if it does, so what? With the Steelers having now spent several years as non-contenders, we should’ve known another name could come along and surpass them at some point!” That’s a fair perspective. However, shouldn’t it make you care more about their historical superiority, not less?
Instead of throwing in the towel and embracing a drop in the NFL totem pole, why shouldn’t we as Steelers fans wish to cling to one of the few feats of strength that our franchise has left? If the present and future are only going to increasingly disappoint us (a thought that hasn't exactly been extinguished with the recent Arthur Smith news), why not hold onto the past for dear life?
I’m as sick of the Chiefs nonsense as anyone else, but with them both saving us from enduring a Ravens Super Bowl run and having the ability to delay Pittsburgh’s dethroning in the title tally, I see no other option than to pull for them against San Fran. Hopefully, once the rest of Steeler Nation recovers from its naïveté regarding the Taylor Swift situation, it’ll come to a similar conclusion.