DATELINE: Crying Over Spoiled Milk
Resting players in anticipation of playing big games in the future is a bit like counting your chickens before they’re hatched. The Pittsburgh Steelers plan to rest their most important players, which sounds like a bunch of chickens uncounted.
The Patriots plan to play their most important players, which sounds like a roundabout way of driving off a short pier.
Granted, the Steelers are playing the worst team in the NFL, which could have a bearing on driving off the infamous bridge. The Cleveland Browns are looking for a perfect season, one without any victories. But the Steelers plan is to make Cleveland work for it.
We admire any team that expects to achieve victory in the face of overwhelming defeat or playing with two left feet.
For the faded Browns and grounded Jets, the chance to win will be a hollow moral victory in a final regular season game. They would confound their opponents who are NFL nemeses, over and out.
The concept has been around for many years, called being Spoilers.
A loss by the Patriots might even cruel Fate’s fickle finger when two replays overturned two recent games into Patriot victories.
Injuries, possible to Gronk and Brady in the last game, would be even more extreme examples of fickle fate screwing the Patriots out of the Super Bowl. Playing their franchise stars may be risky business, but may also be the only business worth doing.
The Steelers don’t take that chance. The Patriots must take that chance.
All analysis may be wasted if the games are fixed, and fate shall play no hand in victory, no matter what you hope.
We will be watching overturned replays like a man on the flying trapeze, expecting the greatest of ease not to be a daring stunt. Or we may be watching the monkey chasing the proverbial weasel. Indeed, that may be the best metaphor to describe the Steelers chasing the Patriots.
The Big Sneeze is upon us.