An all-time Cleveland Browns great tried to have a little fun with a rival following that team’s blowout loss Sunday, but at least one former Pittsburgh Steelers player did not share his sense of humor.
Browns legend Joe Thomas took to social media Sunday night following the Kansas City Chiefs’ 42-21 drubbing of the Steelers in the final playoff game of the day. The former All-Pro several times over appeared just to be having a little fun with his comments ribbing Pittsburgh. Though, it is possible to see how his words could be taken as mildly offensive depending on the reader’s perspective.
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That was, apparently, the same perspective former Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel assumed based on his response to Thomas. Bleacher Report Gridiron shared details of the back and forth in an Instagram post Monday afternoon.
“@Steelers, congratulations on your playoff participation trophy,” Thomas wrote online.
“Did you ever get one of those?” Keisel shot back. “No.”
Pittsburgh Steelers Backed Into AFC Playoffs As No. 7 Seed
As a former competitor who played against Thomas, Keisel’s reaction is not particularly surprising. However, the Browns great was not saying anything that most NFL fans and analysts weren’t either already saying themselves and/or didn’t already know.
The Steelers snuck into the AFC Playoffs with a 9-7-1 record, and a whole lot of crazy stuff had to go down on the final Sunday of the regular season to make that happen. First, the Indianapolis Colts had to lose catastrophically to the Jacksonville Jaguars in a game they were massive favorites to win. Thank you, quarterback Carson Wentz and a shockingly poor performance from an otherwise high-end Colts offensive line. Check.
Then, the Steelers had to hold off a Ravens team heavily hampered by injury in Week 18 of a regular season, which could be described as nothing less than an absolute war of attrition in Baltimore. Thank you, Chris Boswell for the 36-yard field goal with 1:56 left on the clock in overtime. Check.
And finally, the Los Angeles Chargers and the Las Vegas Raiders needed to avoid a tie in the final game of the entire NFL regular season January 9. Thank you, Chargers head coach Brandon Staley for the inexplicable timeout — and a double thank you to the Chargers’ god-forsaken run defense that allowed the Raiders to move into field goal range and gave Daniel Carlson the chance to boot a 47-yard kick through the uprights as the clock hit all zeroes in overtime.
Steelers Had Jokes Of Their Own Heading Into Chiefs Matchup
Whew. And after all that, the Steelers entered Wildcard Weekend against the Chiefs as 12.5-point underdogs. No one really believed they were going to win, and while a 21-point beat down in Kansas City wasn’t necessarily a foregone conclusion, it was a more likely outcome than Pittsburgh actually winning the game. Hence, Thomas’s jab about a “participation trophy.”
Even Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger joked about his team’s chances headed into Sunday’s matchup.
“Out of the 14 teams that are in, we’re probably number 14,” Roethlisberger told reporters. “We’re double-digit underdogs in the playoffs. So let’s just go play, have fun and see what happens. I hope we don’t go in and get blown out by 20 to 30 points.”
The Steelers QB was obviously speaking somewhat tongue in cheek. It’s unlikely he thought his team had no chance to win and would actually get blown out by a total that fell within the 20 to 30-point range that he joked about fearing. But he had a good sense of humor about the whole thing, which is more than can be said about Keisel and the sour grapes he was devouring after the defeat.
Still, Sunday night’s loss was, in all likelihood, Roethlisberger’s final game as a professional quarterback. As such, it is understandable some members of the Steelers faithful would react poorly to a joke made at the team’s expense — considering the context.
But come on Keisel, lighten up a little, will ya? Can’t we all just make fun of each other and get along?