Pittsburgh made an incredible run to the 40th Super Bowl in the 2005 season, topping it off with a win over Seattle to take the Lombardi trophy back to the Steel City. The Steelers came into the playoffs that year as the 6th seed, becoming the first team since 1970 to win the Super Bowl all on the road. Pretty amazing run. We find ourselves on a similar road this year as the 5th seed. And comparing that team to the one heading out to Denver on Sunday shows that the Steelers are a proven formula, with all the right pieces to win another championship. Are we destined to be on top of the NFL once again? Read on and decide for yourself
Back then: The Steelers started the season 7-5 and then roared through the final stretch ending with an 11-5 record. But a better divisional record by the Bengals dropped the Steelers to the 6th seed.
Right now: Sitting pretty at 12-4, our guys lost out to Baltimore, another division rival and fell to the 5th seed. How often is it that a dominant record ends up with an all road schedule for the playoffs? By my count it’s at least 6 in the last 10 years…. But that’s a whole other issue with the NFL playoffs….Point is, our guys know how to win. Granted its uglier than John Madden in a dress sometimes…..
Back then: The Steelers were facing a higher ranked, favored Bengals team who hadnt reached the playoffs in 15 years. After Palmer went out on the second play of the game, Cinnci had to rely on back up Jon Kitna to finish out the game. He proved to be somewhat effective against the Steelers, racking up 17 points, but in the end his two picks proved costly. Interesting to note that Kitna was named Comeback Player of the Year in 03.
Right now: Sunday we face a team left out of the playoffs for the last six years, and a second year rookie Tebow, who in trying to be too conservative with the ball, is throwing errant passes all over the place. He may be a candidate, ok lets face it a shoe in. for the Comeback Kid award, but I have a feeling his lack of experience and LeBeau’s multitude of schemes is going to confuse the heck out of him and we’ll see those 2, if not more, INTs.
Back then: After nine games, Ben went out with an injury and sat for three weeks, coming back a little iffy to lose two games….but then regained his momentum at the end of the year winning four straight.
Right now: Ben’s gimpy again, sat for a game (maybe three would have been better…) and is (we hope) on his way to overcoming his latest boo boo. This may not be the strongest correlation, as every year Ben seems to be taped, splinted, and extra-padded while sporting at least one specially made accessory…. like his sized up shoe or thumb supporting glove. But he’s our leader, and we always get his peg legged best out there.
Back then: The Immaculate Redemtion
Right now: The Immaculate Deception (he’s just not that good)
Back then: Jerome Bettis, the workhorse on the offense would play in his first and only Super Bowl, one denoted “XL” nonetheless. Coming out with the win, and having made his way to 5th on the all time rushing list, the Bus hung up his cleats and took a seat on FOX.
Right now: Hines has just reached rock star status with his 1000 catches and 12000+ yards. If the Steelers win the big one is it going to be his time to walk away?
Back then: Speaking of Hines, that superbowl’s MVP, the Steelers receivers were putting up good numbers and showing solid reliability in that series. Hines and Randel El and our beloved Heath were helping to put points on the board.
Right now: I dont need to say much about our receiving core right now, with two of those guys back and two new superstars already proving they have what it takes. If Ben can get them the ball, we have the speed and the talent to stretch the game as good as anyone.
Back then: We had the fourth ranked defense, featuring Joey Porter, Chris Hope, Farrior and Foote, and Troy. Those guys were fierce. Defense wins championships.
Right now: Depending on how you look at it, we’re on top. Sure we’ve let some drives get going, and haven’t generated enough turnovers, but overall when you look at the numbers, and factor in the
injuries, these guys are getting it done. With an offense that stutters to put drives together at times, we’ve always had to rely the D. And they’ve handled the challenge. Couple that with the dynamic duo of Harrison and Woodley back together on the field….Defense wins championships.
Back then: Alan Faneca. Jeff Hartings. No wonder Fast Willie had so many yards, he had holes the size of Montana to run through.
Right now: The new generation has arrived in Maurkice Pouncy. I’m worried about his ability to stay healthy as he’s missed big games with ankle issues. But when he’s in, he’s strong and athletic and
able to take charge of the game. The O line has been a weak spot for this team, but you have to respect guys stepping up, playing a position they aren’t used to and letting Ben be Ben.
So- do we have the blueprint to take this thing all the way?