PITTSBURGH - I was sitting at the St. Louis Rams-Pittsburgh Steelers game on Sunday, one eye on the game clock, the other on my watch.
It was a snoozer of a game, a 27-0 Steelers win.
Who couldn't see that coming?
The Rams were 2-12, on the road on Christmas Eve, with little interest in finishing off a lost season.
The Steelers had already clinched their playoff spot and were now just trying to maintain things without losing anyone else to an injury.
So a lot of people were sitting there, watching the clock.
Then this thought hit:
There are teams in the NFL where the season has been like that since late October.
Hopeless teams, going nowhere, playing out the schedule. They're wondering if a win or two might ultimately be a bad thing because it messes up their draft position.
We're pretty lucky to be in a position where the focus is already on the postseason. The Steelers' big concern now is getting the best possible playoff position and getting players healthy for a run through January.
All things considered, a stinker of a game at the end of the season isn't much of an inconvenience. There are teams for whom that's a way of life.
That may sound like a variation on the "Eat your dinner, there are kids in Europe who don't have any food" bomb that your mom always dropped when the meal was something you didn't like.
But it's true.
If you believe that Thanksgiving is more than just one Thursday in November, be grateful for the relevance of most of the pro teams we follow.
Should Ben play?
Will Ben Roethlisberger play this Sunday in Cleveland?
If at all possible, he should.
Getting into the game will give him a chance to test his injured ankle and get some work in advance of the playoffs.
But the Steelers would be smart to get back-up Charlie Batch in there quickly.
Hard to believe
One year ago today, Mike Haywood was Pitt's head football coach, the Pittsburgh Penguins were anxiously awaiting the NHL Winter Classic at Heinz Field, and Sidney Crosby had no health concerns.
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.