Today’s wipeout of an AFC Championship game left me about as disheartened as one can get. The annual refrain of most sports fans (“Wait’ll next year!”) is not much of a consolation prize when the Steelers are likely to lose Plexico Burress, Kendrell Bell, and Keydrick Vincent. Jerome Bettis is pondering retirement as well, though I’m hopeful that he’ll come to his senses and play another year. Honestly, given the year he had there’s no reason he shouldn’t be back.

The big question mark for next year is really the progress that Ben Roethlisburger makes. If he fulfills the promise of the quarterback he was in the first 8 or 9 games he started this year, the Steelers are the odds-on favorites to win the SuperBowl next year. If he’s the quarterback of the last 5-6 games—including today’s disaster—then the Steelers will be hard-pressed to win the AFC North. Asking a rookie QB to carry you to SuperBowl victory was always a long shot, though arguably less of a long shot than asking Tommy Maddox to do the same. Presumably it’s more likely with a sophomore QB, but we’ll see.

I intended to audioblog (aka podcast) my commentary on today’s game, but the prospect of FCC fines over my continual and extended expletive-laden harangues led me to abandon the project entirely. (You’re welcome.) I’m still hoping to audio blog on something eventually just to see what it’s all about—and then probably never again.