There is an old French proverb, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” that roughly translated means, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
While Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr didn’t exactly have in mind that over 150-plus years later that his famous epigram from his journal Les Guepes, would become so literal, it seems to apply more literally whenever it comes to the New England Patriots vexing mastery over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Whether it is in the hearty confines of Foxborough or the Confluence of the Three Rivers of the Steel City, the New England Patriots have the Pittsburgh Steelers number.
For all of their six Lombardi trophies, 23 members in the Hall of Fame and perhaps the largest fan following in the NFL in Steeler Nation, whenever the mighty six-time Super Bowl champions see the Patriots red, white and blue, they immediately turn to rust. While they have been owned by the Rooney family since 1933, on the field, they have been owned by Tom Brady since 2002.
Whether coming in to relive an injured Drew Bledsoe in the ‘01 AFC Championship Game or treating Antony Smith like a junior varsity scrub to the tune of a long pair of touchdown passes via Randy Moss in a 34-13 blowout, Brady is the ultimate arch-nemesis that Pittsburgh cannot seem to solve.
Not even their long-time and ancient rivals from the past in the Oakland Raiders, Dallas Cowboys or even their fellow division blood rival in the Baltimore Ravens seem to amass the amount of dread, revile and utter disdain and fear and loathing that New England does.
From Spygate to the recent Deflategate scandal, the New England Patriots are the one team that every one LOVES to hate, yet when it comes to Sunday’s, cannot seem to beat. While some may call them cheaters, crybabies or whatever, there is a reason why they have five Super Bowl trophies hanging at One Patriot Place over the last 15 years with a good chance for a sixth–which would tie them with their perennial fouls from the Steel City.
They are the Darth Vader and Evil Empire rolled into one. A mysterious and omnipotent force that is seeming unstoppable on the field and more guarded than Fort Knox off of it when it comes to player injuries.
In reference to their latest win over the Steelers in a controversial 27-24 win on Sunday. By now, Jesse James and Ben Rowthlisberger are probably the two most searched names on Google in terms of that fateful final few seconds, in which the Steelers seemingly exercised the Patriots demon that has haunted them for the last decade and a half, only for it to be taken away via instant replay.
It is the Patriots, and we do all know that they cheat, right?
Wrong. More like a case of the more the things change, the more they stay the same. And in this case, New England will always have Pittsburgh’s number.