Steelers

Kovacevic: All that was lost here? One loose football

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Markus Wheaton and the Steelers leave Sports Authority Field after the loss. -- DKPS

DENVER -- The visiting locker room at Sports Authority Field is roughly the size of a small gymnasium, but it's bisected by a wall that spans three-quarters of the space. It's not needed. The requisite 53 stalls easily could have fit around the room's perimeter. But it's not an accident, either. Professional teams build these billion-dollar palaces with every infinitesimal advantage in mind, and the intended psychology of this sort of construction is that the wall will divide the opponent, will discourage camaraderie or accountability.

It failed on this Sunday afternoon.

The Steelers failed, too, of course. They fell a drive short, a carry short, a stop short of the AFC Championship Game by blowing a late lead to the Broncos and losing, 23-16.

But in the immediate aftermath ...

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!" came a piercing scream from the stall of Mike Mitchell. And yes, you'd better believe it could be heard over that partial wall, probably across the Rockies.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!" came another.

A few feet away, in a scene that somehow spoke even louder, James Harrison sat on a stool, a white towel covering the lower half of his face, then slowly raised up to his eyes. He held it there for several minutes.

I don't even want to know what was happening under there.