I used to consider the Steelers perhaps the second most respectable team in the NFL. Then in 2009, BRUUUUUUUUUUUUUCE Gradkowski exposed them for the punk ass company men they are. Fuck the Steelers.

The girlish screams of joy in the video when BRUUUUUUUUUUUUUCE hit Louis Murphy for the game-winning TD in Pittsburgh may as well have been my own. The only excuse for you to have been a Raiders fan and not lose your shit that game would have been sheer disbelief. It was an oasis of NFL-quality QB play in a desert of incompetence that stretched so far and long that I don't even want to think about it. But it is what followed that caused me to lose all respect for the Pittsburgh Steelers. With that late loss, and another to a woeful Chiefs team, the Steelers failed to make the playoffs. You lose in December to the 2009 Raiders and Chiefs, you just shut the fuck up and watch the playoffs from your couch, right? WRONG. If you're the Pittsburgh Steelers, apparently you cry about the undefeated Colts resting their starters and how it's screwing up the competitive balance of the league or some shit. If you want to embarrass yourselves, that's fine, I guess. But that nonsense actually gained traction with the league. Possible "solutions" to that huge problem of actual playoff-bound teams trying to give themselves the best possible chance to win a Super Bowl were seriously bandied about by the league.

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What could possibly make the NFL think it was a good idea to start telling coaches who they could and couldn't play? The same fucking thing that prompted them to completely overhaul the NFL overtime rules after poor Brett Favre got knocked out of the playoffs in OT without getting a possession. If a glamour team or it's fans think they got the short end of the stick, the league is all ears...

Which brings us to a serious topic that we have yet to discuss here. It was really just a matter of time- the C word. No, not the C word that would earn me a serious frowning on a sub-Jezebel message board. A different C-word. C-O-N... spiracy.

The Conspiracy is largely irrelevant right now, because the Raiders are not very good. But as Mic Geronimo said, shit is real. Will it continue after Mr. Davis' passing? We'll probably find out next season. The Conspiracy has been a component of Raiders lore and fandom since before I was born. We think we've nailed it down though- there will never be a smoking gun memo or anything to come out that proves it, it's that refs just paid more attention to us, for whatever reasons. General anecdotal complaints were always that our DBs and O-line seemed to be playing under different rules than our opponents. In the wake of The Tuck Game (fuck you, Walt Coleman), the Oakland Tribune did an analysis of penalties in Raider games over the course of that season, and it turned out how most of us expected. Raiders opponents received less than one holding flag per game. How many games do you see a team only draw one, or zero, holding penalties? Against a disciplined, veteran, contender of a squad? Bullshit.

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What kills me the most about The Conspiracy now, is that since the rise of the internet and 24 hour sports talk needing material, everybody has a conspiracy that is taken somewhat seriously. I watched the Steelers/Seahawks Super Bowl solo. When I woke up the next day to all the talk about a fix, coming from actual sports writers, I almost shitted myself. 50/50 calls happen. Like, every play. And now we get this crap after every Super Bowl. But nobody was trying to hear about The Conspiracy in the 70's. Or the 80's. Or the 90's. The Tuck Game finally got us some sympathy from the peanut gallery along those lines. And then of course the team turns to shit and it's all a moot point. Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you Walt Coleman.

This past offseason, the league voted to rescind the tuck rule. I read that it had only been called one other time in its existence. The Patriots abstained from the vote- understandable, I have no problem with them sitting that out. The Redskins also abstained, as a tribute to Mr. Davis, who had a habit of doing that himself. I appreciated that gesture. One team, however, actually voted to keep the tuck rule intact. What boot-licking, sell-out franchise would stand up to shout from the rafters "Hey, that's totally a good rule Mr. Goodell sir!" Why, the Pittsburgh Fucking Steelers of course.

Triple fuck the Steelers. Go Raiders.