6 Things to Know About The Pittsburgh Steelers

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2. The Chiefs Cost The Steelers A Trip To The Playoffs Last Year

Dec 29, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) talks with Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) after a Chargers win at Qualcomm Stadium. The Chargers won 27-24 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Week 17 of last season was irrelevant. At least, in terms of the Chiefs’ playoff aspirations, it was.

A win is always preferred. A win over the division-rival Chargers is even better. But regardless of whether the Chiefs won or lost that game, they were going to be the fifth seed in the playoffs. That is why the game was handed to the backups, and why Ryan Succop’s missed field goal was annoying instead of enraging.

Not so for the Steelers. After an abysmal 0-4 start to the year, the Steelers found themselves sitting at 5-8 with only three games left in the season. Somehow, they managed to pull off a three-game win streak to end the year and save themselves from a losing season. That push was enough to give them an outside chance at the sixth seed in the AFC . . . as long as the Chargers lost.

The Chargers won, and the Steelers missed the playoffs. While some may still want revenge on the Chiefs for that game, the real blame lies with the Steelers for going 8-8. Nobody is going to be sorry for a .500 team that doesn’t get into the playoffs.

The revenge factor may play a motivating role in the game, but I suspect that both teams will be much more focused on the present than the past.

Why? Because of my final thing to know about the Steelers.