Read and React: The real AFC champion

Even with the AFC championship loss, Pittsburgh is not giving an inch.

For all the fingers pointed at the media about forking over some credit to New England, Patriots fans would have an aneurysm if they saw the email we've gotten from Pittsburgh Steelers fans this week. The Pittsburgh faithful wholeheartedly believes the AFC championship debacle was a total giveaway – not the dominant Patriots victory the rest of the world seemed to witness.

While New England fans flooded our mailbag with jubilant letters, Steeler backers seemed deeply incredulous over which was truly the better team. Too bad we had so many emails that had incomplete information – remember to include first and last name, city and state, folks – or we could have had a full encyclopedia of rants for you. But this handful should do just fine.

Keep the emails coming. We'd love to hear your thoughts on the Super Bowl during the "dead" week. As always, my thoughts appear in italics.

PATRIOTS AND STEELERS ("Works of fiction" Jan. 24, 2005)

While I'm sitting here watching the Steelers-Patriots game, I can't help but realize a major disadvantage for the Steelers was they haven't lost a game since September. They never had the opportunity to hang their heads and assess weaknesses, like the Philadelphia Eagles and Patriots were able to do.

Gio Sibal
Los Angeles

Reading your article and then looking at the stats just don't add up. Your article wouldn't give any reader a clue that Pittsburgh dominated every aspect of the game except the final score. New England's offense couldn't execute but didn't make any big mistakes, which is what led to the victory. Had Pittsburgh not had any interceptions like New England, it would be going to the Super Bowl. You made it sound like last week's Colts blowout.

Jon Kelly
Pasadena, Calif.

Last time I checked, New England's offense got by just fine. And, well, Pittsburgh's turnovers did have something to do with a certain defensive irritation put on Ben Roethlisberger.

Before one makes such statements as to New England crushing the Steelers, one should review the overall stats. With the exception of turnovers, which were a gift and enabled the Patriots to win, it wasn't reflected in the stats. I wonder why you didn't mention that in your one-sided article. Steelers fans know who the best team was that day.

Bill Hunter
Sandpoint, Idaho

Statistics, especially when it comes to the Patriots, are notorious liars. Other than a 10-minute span in the third quarter and beginning of the fourth, Pittsburgh was not, under any circumstances, the better team that day. Suggesting otherwise is sour grapes.

Bill Cowher had a flawed game plan Sunday, consisting of running at an impregnable Patriots line and putting Ben Roethlisberger in difficult third-and-long situations time and again. Had Cowher's strategy used the pass more often on first and second down, there would have been reduced pressure on his QB.

Bob Orkand

The Patriots do seem to do well when they miss a Pro Bowler here or there, but the constant glue is Tom Brady. He is the best player on that team and the best quarterback in football. He always makes the right decisions and plays. Without him they would be a crumbling house of cards.

Steve Cintron
San Francisco

For some reason other than the New England region, people still don't understand the beauty that is Patriots football. Maybe this weekend's win in almighty Pittsburgh will change that. Just to set the record straight, when the Patriots first played in Pittsburgh, New England had seven bleeping starters out of the lineup.

Dave Cafasso
North Dartmouth, Mass.

I agree the Patriots are a modern dynasty with the key word being modern. This team couldn't compete against the pre-salary cap teams like the Dallas Cowboys (70s and 90s), 70s Pittsburgh Steelers, 80s San Francisco 49ers or any other great team before 1995-96. The modern team plays less-formidable teams and watered-down talent.

Aaron Morrone
Westerly, R.I.

It's fitting there are only two players from the Patriots going to the Pro Bowl. There should be three teams in the Pro Bowl: the AFC, the NFC and the Patriots.

James Ho
Ashland, Mass.

The Patriots are robots.

Rob Workman
Saint Paul, Minn.

I'm not sure if Rob means this in a good or bad way. But taken literally, this theory would explain a lot about Bill Belichick.

Next year, the New England offensive and defensive coordinators leave. Will it take them a year to reset, or is the dynasty coming to its inevitable end? Success in the NFL is very difficult to keep up past four or five years.

Wally Devos
Ajax, Ontario

I can't stand the Patriots or their lousy, ill-mannered fans. What is it going to take for this dynasty to crumble?

Joe Meade

I'm guessing this wasn't the guy who threw that beer at Ron Artest, or the chair at Jermaine O'Neal.