I long have maintained a lot of fans take losses harder than the players. The fans replay the game for months and never really get over it. The players realize it's a business, set it aside quickly and get on with their lives. The Steelers lost an AFC wild-card game Sunday to the Denver Broncos, 29-23, in overtime. It was a crushing defeat by any measure. But, by the weekend, many of the players will be vacationing at exotic locales. Others will drive home to their mansions in their luxury cars. And the fans? They still will be wondering what would have happened if wide receiver Mike Wallace hadn't dropped that 52-yard pass early in the second quarter or if center Doug Legursky hadn't snapped the ball over quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's head late in the first half or if cornerback Ike Taylor had just tackled wide receiver Demaryius Thomas in overtime.
I offer Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey as further proof of my theory.
"I'm rich play for the steelers and have a awesome life!" he tweeted soon after the game. "u wish u had my life!!"
A little context is in order:
Apparently, Pouncey, who did not play against the Broncos because of a high ankle sprain, forcing Legursky to take over the position, tweeted after the loss that his followers should purchase a rapper's music. Some fans were put off by his timing. Moments earlier, the season had ended painfully for his team -- their team -- in the Rocky Mountains. They also weren't happy that Pouncey missed another big game. The guy might be an All-Pro, but can you count on him? He sat out Super Bowl XLV in February with a similar high ankle sprain. The Steelers lost to the Green Bay Packers, 31-25.
At least one Pouncey follower -- someone named Rick -- took such offense that he responded and turned Pouncey into a Twitter fool, emphasis on the word fool.
"what do u do for a living besides bothering me right now ... " Pouncey tweeted.
"I will idiot!! you enjoy your lame life!!
"your a loser Rick! get a life I hate people like u! dont talk about my life dumb [expletive].
"unfollow me then loser!!
"I'm done talking to losers!"
I had to double-check that the malicious, offensive, vulgar words were coming from Pouncey. For a second, I thought I had tapped into Santonio Holmes' Twitter feed by mistake. You remember Holmes when he played for the Steelers? Urging a fan to kill himself because the fan had the nerve to criticize him for getting into yet another legal dust-up? Right before the Steelers traded him to the New York Jets, who now can't wait to get rid of him because he's also a cancer in their locker room?
Speaking of real losers.
By Monday morning, someone -- perhaps his agent or a Steelers official -- must have contacted Pouncey to tell him he came off like a jerk and how no player can win by taking on the fans. He tweeted the standard, if -- I'm guessing right -- insincere apology.
"I like to take the time to apologize for my action. it's just hard to end like that an I couldn't help my team fight.
"next year goal come back healthily an stronger. so I promise next year the year."
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin -- weary from little sleep after an early morning arrival home from Denver -- was asked Monday about this Pouncey nonsense at his season-ending news conference. He said he hadn't seen Pouncey since after the game. I'm guessing he will see him soon at the team's South Side headquarters, if he hasn't done so already. Wouldn't you just love to sit in on that meeting?
Tomlin has much to consider in what figures to be his most challenging offseason. Future Hall of Fame wide receiver Hines Ward seems certain to retire. So do defensive linemen Aaron Smith and Chris Hoke. Tomlin must decide if he wants to bring back older players such as linebacker James Farrior, nose tackle Casey Hampton and backup quarterback Charlie Batch, all of whom contributed significantly to Tomlin winning one Super Bowl and making it to another. Heck, he must decide if he wants to bring back offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, who Sunday night, for the first time, looked every bit of his 74 years after his defense allowed Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow to throw for 316 yards and two touchdowns and run for another 50 and a touchdown.
And Tomlin has to waste time on Pouncey's tweets?
I'll bet the coach loves that.
His players might be great football talents, but that doesn't mean they all are smart.
It's just a shame Pouncey didn't stop with one of his first tweets after the loss.
"season is over time 2 move on and get better!!"
In Pouncey's case, it's also time to grow up.
Ron Cook: email@example.com . Ron Cook can be heard on the "Vinnie and Cook" show weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on 93.7 The Fan.