According to a rumor floating around Pittsburgh, a Super Bowl will be played this weekend.
That's news to us. When the Super Bowl doesn't include the Steelers, no one cares.
For Steeler fans, the season came to a screeching halt on Jan. 3. Although our team beat the Miami Dolphins in its final game, it could not qualify for the playoffs under any of several mind-boggling combinations of circumstances under which it could have squeaked in.
With disbelief at the lost 2009 season, Steeler terrible towels have been put away for the season.
Two rounds of National Football League playoff games as well as the AFC and NFC championships have been played to enthusiastic national television audiences except Pittsburgh's. The fortunes of divisional champions Baltimore, San Diego, Green Bay or any of the others are of no concern to us. We view them all as pretenders.
Local Pittsburgh taverns are hyping the Super Bowl, but to a disinterested crowd. The New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts don't cut it in Steel City.
The Steelers are victims of their own success. The team has won six Super Bowls, more than any in history. In two of the last four seasons, including last year, the Steelers took it all.
While most rational fans would agree that it is asking too much to expect the Steelers in the Super Bowl every year, the 2009 team's failure was unbearable.
After jumping out to a 6-2 first-place record, the Steelers lost five straight games to bottom of the barrel opponents that included the league's dregs: at home to the Oakland Raiders and on the road to the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cleveland Browns.
On the Monday morning following those ignominious losses, Pittsburgh mourned. The Steelers and their lackluster performances dominated the news.
What few outside of Pittsburgh realize is how seriously the city takes the Steelers. Unlike major metropolitan areas like San Francisco or New York, where the fan base may come from miles away, local Steeler fans are predominantly Pittsburgh-born and bred.
And 'Burg residents have a long-standing, unshakable love affair with their city and their teams.
The Steelers trace their Pittsburgh roots date back to July 8, 1933, when they were founded under the name Pittsburgh Pirates by Arthur Joseph Rooney.
In those formative days, the early Steelers were part of the original 10-team NFL, of which only four others remain: the Chicago (Arizona) Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears and New York Giants.
The Steelers were not always the thriving team that they are today, however. In their first seven seasons, the they won only 22 games.
Professional football wasn't a priority in Pittsburgh, where the baseball Pirates and college Pitt Panthers football were more popular.
Rooney scheduled Steeler home games in Johnstown, Youngstown, Ohio; and New Orleans. Through all the dark days, Rooney never faltered in his resolve to make pro football successful in Pittsburgh.
Championships were years in the making. The Steelers won its first division title in 1972 by beating the Oakland Raiders 13-7, thanks in large part to Franco Harris' "immaculate reception"
For the rest of the decade, led by Hall of Famers, Harris, Terry Bradshaw Mel Blount, Joe Greene, Jack Lambert and Jack Ham, the Steelers dominated by winning the Super Bowl in 1975, 1976, and 1979.
For the Steelers, there's always next year. But for me, no Super Bowl Sunday is complete without a modest wager or two — for entertainment purposes only, of course.
This year, I'm taking the Colts -4.5 and over 56 total points scored. How can you bet against Peyton Manning, the best quarterback in history? And anytime the Super Bowl is played outdoors on natural grass, the scoreboard lights up.
I also have an intriguing wager on what Las Vegas refers to as "prop" bets, but which I define as assorted creative ways for you to lose money.
The over/under on how many times CBS will show Kim Kardashian, Saints' running back Reggie Bush's trashy Beverly Hills girlfriend, is 2.5
On the theory that America can't get enough of non-celebrity celebrities, I'm loving it over.
Joe Guzzardi warns readers that over the last 10 years his Super Bowl record is 5-5. Proceed with caution. Contact Guzzardi at firstname.lastname@example.org.