Steelers point out Week 15 irony in Zach Ertz's Super Bowl TD

PITTSBURGH -- More than a few Pittsburgh Steelers players took to social media Sunday night after Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz's go-ahead touchdown with 2:21 left in Super Bowl LII.

And they wondered the same thing: Why did Ertz get a touchdown and Jesse James didn't?

The Steelers might have found their way to the Super Bowl had James survived the ground for a touchdown in the final seconds of Pittsburgh's Week 15 matchup with the New England Patriots that ultimately determined home-field advantage and the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Officials reversed James' touchdown because the ball came loose while he was stretching over the goal line

Ertz, too, lost control of the ball upon hitting the ground, though there was a fundamental difference in the play compared to the James play: Ertz took a good three steps before colliding with the ground, making him a runner.

Some Steelers would argue James might as well have been a runner because he had clearly possessed the ball and was making a football move. The Steelers feel there wasn't indisputable evidence to reverse the call on the field. Still, the essence of the survive-the-ground rule was broken.

Perhaps Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and the rest of the competition committee can create clarity on the catch rule at the owners meetings in March. For now, they must deal with the newest Lombardi trophy making its home about 300 miles across Pennsylvania.

The only solace for Pittsburgh, which was bounced by Jacksonville in the divisional round: The Steelers remain the NFL's only franchise with six Super Bowl titles. New England is stuck on five.