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SteelCrazy
01-05-2011, 11:31 PM
In a season full of controversy, adversity and throbbing pain, the Pittsburgh Steelers stride into the playoffs with two of their most important, and hobbled, players leading the charge and with rather large chips on their shoulder pads.
Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers' big, resilient gunslinging quarterback, and Troy Polamalu, the pesky, hard-hitting safety, have been areas for concern because of lingering injuries.


PLAYOFF PICKS: Are the Steelers favored by our experts?

Both played major roles as the Steelers (12-4) wrapped up the AFC North title and a much-needed bye, when they pasted the Cleveland Browns 41-9 on the final weekend. That means Pittsburgh will play at least one playoff game at Heinz Field.

The Steelers have overcome a lot in 2010: Roethlisberger's four-game suspension; season-ending injuries to offensive linemen Max Starks and Willie Colon; the dust-up over the release of veteran kicker Jeff Reed; Polamalu's sometimes-absence from the starting lineup; and the hullabaloo regarding multiple fines given to linebacker James Harrison for helmet-leading hits that the league deems gratuitous.

"(But) it hasn't been a roller-coaster season," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said after the Browns game. "We knew what was in front of us; we knew the obstacles; we knew that some of the adversity was created by us, but we (met) it head-on. We're still in the process of doing it."

After winning the Super Bowl two years ago, the Steelers failed to make the playoffs last season. A loss against the Browns would have sent them on the road. "Our whole season came down to this game," tight end Heath Miller said.

Pittsburgh appears well equipped regarding its mission of capturing an unprecedented seventh Super Bowl championship.

Steelers players remain edgy and upset over what they say has been unfair treatment by the NFL, particularly regarding penalties. Polamalu has been outspoken in his criticism of Commissioner Roger Goodell. How far has it gone? The players refuse to speak to the NFL Network on camera.

Rocky road to Dallas

The Steelers have a core veteran group that includes 16 starters (or regulars) from their title team of two seasons ago. They also know that the road to Dallas, host to this season's Super Bowl, could get rocky; it might very well pass through Foxborough, Mass., and the New England Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady.

Pittsburgh's only losses this season were to playoff teams the Baltimore Ravens, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets and the Patriots.

Polamalu missed the two previous games with a lower-leg injury. He tied his career-high for interceptions in a season (seven) when he made a diving grab of a Colt McCoy pass on the second play from scrimmage.

"I felt better than I thought I would," said Polamalu, who played one half vs. the Browns.

Two days earlier, after Polamalu practiced for the first time in three weeks, he spoke with news reporters about the Steelers' walking wounded, saying, "There are guys just barely hanging on by a string, week by week."

Roethlisberger knows something about fighting through injury, but against the Browns, he was feeling no (obvious) pain. Wasting no time after Polamalu's theft, Roethlisberger dialed up a 56-yard touchdown "dagger," he called it, to Mike Wallace on the next play.

Broken nose a turning point

Asked if that was a confidence-builder, Roethlisberger chided his questioner: "The only people that didn't think we were confident were you (media) guys and the fans. We knew that we were close (to breaking out on offense). I think we are getting hot at the right time."

The same player whom Terrell Owens called "soft" this season has passed for 1,122 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in the four games since he had his nose busted Dec. 5 by Haloti Ngata of the Ravens. Entering the playoffs, Roethlisberger has thrown 158 consecutive passes without a pick.

Roethlisberger has played with a clear plastic shield to protect his surgically repaired nose. His doctor said that the shattered nose bone looked like corn flakes before he repaired it. The two-time Super Bowl-winning signal-caller also has played with his right shoe heavily wrapped and a pair of metal plates protecting a broken foot.

Over the years, Roethlisberger has recovered to play through a succession of injuries and maladies, including multiple concussions.

"We know how tough he is," Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward said.

Roethlisberger's difficult year began with a police investigation into an allegation that he sexually assaulted a woman in a bathroom at a Georgia bar in the spring. No charges were filed, but Goodell suspended Roethlisberger for the first six games for violating the league's personal-conduct policy. He later reduced it.

"It's about a lot of the guys coming together," Ward said. "Missing the playoffs after winning the Super Bowl was a disappointment. This year, we came back. If you would've said at the start of the season we would have a 12-4 record, the only people that would believe you are the guys in this locker room."

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football ... offs_N.htm (http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/steelers/2011-01-05-resolve-after-adversity-playoffs_N.htm)

LordVile
01-06-2011, 07:09 AM
I've heard a few remarks in this article from players saying that no one believed they had a chance, not even the fans.. With this group we ALWAYS have a chance, thats why I'm a fan of this team and give em' full support even when they screw up. :stirpot

Oviedo
01-06-2011, 09:11 AM
"That which does not kill you makes you stronger"

I hope the Steelers have the ultimate resolve to achieve the objective of shoving the Lombardi up Goodell's backside.

hawaiiansteel
01-06-2011, 09:10 PM
NFL: Steelers stayed close during tough times

The Associated Press
Thursday January 6, 2011


PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers didn't secure the AFC North title and a playoff bye by beating Atlanta in their season opener. Or by winning their next two games at Tennessee and Tampa Bay with their No. 3 and 4 quarterbacks.

What's telling is their season didn't fall apart then, either.

The Steelers supposedly were in disarray after quarterback Ben Roethlisberger drew a four-game suspension for his misbehavior and wide receiver Santonio Holmes, the Super Bowl MVP two seasons ago, forced a trade to New York with his off-field problems. There were predictions the Steelers would be 0-4 or 1-3 by the time Roethlisberger returned, and that Baltimore might have the division title secured by then.

"What we had happen to this team in the beginning, that probably would have brought another team down," defensive captain James Farrior said. "But we didn't pay too much attention to what everybody thought we'd be like during those games. We had too much to think about other than that."

The Steelers, one of the NFL's most experienced teams and one familiar with adversity, turned such talk into equal parts motivation and inspiration.

It didn't matter when backup quarterback Byron Leftwich was injured in the final preseason game, or that No. 3 QB Dennis Dixon was hurt early in the Tennessee game, one week after he steered the Steelers past Atlanta in overtime. No. 4 QB Charlie Batch, who had thrown all of 18 passes since 2006, beat the Titans and Bucs and came within a last-minute drive of beating the Ravens.

Being able to win despite going so far down their depth chart - few teams keep four quarterbacks except during camp - didn't make the Steelers' season, but it might have saved it. They went 3-1 during each quarter of the season and, with a 12-4 record and the No. 2 seeding in the AFC, they're in the same position they were when they won the Super Bowl during the 2008 season.

September probably seems like a long time ago now but, if it weren't for that successful month, there might not have been a January for these Steelers.

"I think the situation we went through early on really built up our character, because we realized that we can win even without one of our main guys in there," Farrior said. "I also think it brought us closer as a team. There's no doubt that those first four games really helped us out. Everybody took it upon themselves to step up during those games to make sure we were in a good place when he (Roethlisberger) came back."

Would first place do?

"We're doing things that people outside this locker room didn't think we could do," wide receiver Hines Ward said.

http://www.dailymail.com/Sports/201101061361

feltdizz
01-06-2011, 09:41 PM
I've heard a few remarks in this article from players saying that no one believed they had a chance, not even the fans.. With this group we ALWAYS have a chance, thats why I'm a fan of this team and give em' full support even when they screw up. :stirpot

I love our team.... I just wish they didn't need a missed playoff, disrespect or off field incidents to get up for a season.Great teams don't need a reason to prove they are great.

I would really like to know what Chuck Noll did to keep our teams hungry. I know it was a different era and there was less parity but the repeat SB winners are few in any era.

JAR
01-06-2011, 10:18 PM
the fact that the media is saying that no one will beat the ***t's also has to be lighting a fire under the Steelers.

hawaiiansteel
01-07-2011, 10:29 PM
Surviving Without Ben Led To Steelers' 12-4 Record

POSTED: 2:17 pm EST January 7, 2011

http://www.wtae.com/2011/0103/26346948_240X310.jpg

AP Photo/Amy Sancetta
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin cheers as he leaves the field after his team beat the Cleveland Browns 41-9 to win the AFC North in their NFL football game on Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011, in Cleveland.

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers didn't secure the AFC North title and a playoff bye by beating Atlanta in their season opener. Or by winning their next two games at Tennessee and Tampa Bay with their No. 3 and 4 quarterbacks.
What's telling is their season didn't fall apart then, either.

The Steelers supposedly were in disarray after quarterback Ben Roethlisberger drew a four-game suspension for his misbehavior and wide receiver Santonio Holmes, the Super Bowl MVP two seasons ago, forced a trade to New York with his off-field problems. There were predictions the Steelers would be 0-4 or 1-3 by the time Roethlisberger returned, and that Baltimore might have the division title secured by then.

"What we had happen to this team in the beginning, that probably would have brought another team down," defensive captain James Farrior said. "But we didn't pay too much attention to what everybody thought we'd be like during those games. We had too much to think about other than that."

The Steelers, one of the NFL's most experienced teams and one familiar with adversity, turned such talk into equal parts motivation and inspiration.

It didn't matter when backup quarterback Byron Leftwich was injured in the final preseason game, or that No. 3 QB Dennis Dixon was hurt early in the Tennessee game, one week after he steered the Steelers past Atlanta in overtime. No. 4 QB Charlie Batch, who had thrown all of 18 passes since 2006, beat the Titans and Bucs and came within a last-minute drive of beating the Ravens.

Being able to win despite going so far down their depth chart - few teams keep four quarterbacks except during camp - didn't make the Steelers' season, but it might have saved it. They went 3-1 during each quarter of the season and, with a 12-4 record and the No. 2 seeding in the AFC, they're in the same position they were when they won the Super Bowl during the 2008 season.

September probably seems like a long time ago now but, if it weren't for that successful month, there might not have been a January for these Steelers.

"I think the situation we went through early on really built up our character, because we realized that we can win even without one of our main guys in there," Farrior said. "I also think it brought us closer as a team. There's no doubt that those first four games really helped us out. Everybody took it upon themselves to step up during those games to make sure we were in a good place when he (Roethlisberger) came back."

Would first place do?

"We're doing things that people outside this locker room didn't think we could do," wide receiver Hines Ward said.

Thanks in part to director of football operations Kevin Colbert's ability to navigate the salary cap, the Steelers had enough experienced depth to overcome a myriad of problems and injuries.

"We've really done a great job here of plugging guys in when one guy goes down or leaves, so that's been a reason for our continued success," Farrior said. "I don't know if it's luck or what, but the scouting department does a great job of getting guys in here and plugging them in right."

Batch was expected to be cut before the season, only to become a valuable fill-in. Flozell Adams, picked up the day before training camp began, stabilized the oft-changing offensive line at right tackle after Willie Colon was injured. The defense didn't crumble when end Aaron Smith missed three-quarters of the season with a triceps injury.

The multiple fines given Pro Bowl linebacker James Harrison for his dangerous hits also didn't become a major distraction. Mike Wallace replaced Holmes in the lineup and had seven 100-yard receiving games.

"All the adversity we've had to deal with, a lot of injuries to deal with, so it's been a great team effort by all the players and the coaching staff," Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu said. "We're a team that's usually kind of cruising underneath the radar."

In essence, the Steelers still are. The Patriots (14-2) are favored to reach the Super Bowl, partly because of a 39-26 dismantling of the Steelers in Pittsburgh on Nov. 14 in which they led 23-3. If the Patriots and Steelers both win their divisional round games next weekend - their opponents will be set this weekend - Pittsburgh would play at New England for the AFC title on Jan. 23.

While the Steelers have won seven road playoff games since 1974, they have won a road AFC championship game only twice - at Oakland (1974 season) and at Denver (2005 season). And while most of these players weren't involved, they lost AFC title games to New England during the 2001 and 2004 seasons, both in Pittsburgh.

"If we get to that point, we'll see what happens," cornerback Ike Taylor said. "I'm sure everybody feels like they have a Super Bowl-contending team, or they wouldn't be in the playoffs. If we get there, let the best man win."

http://www.wtae.com/sports/26403064/detail.html

DukieBoy
01-07-2011, 10:39 PM
This Team has alot of character and motivation, and 43 and 7.
If they have the answer to defense the Cheatriots*

It's the big #7 !!!

Ozey74
01-08-2011, 08:44 AM
Coach Tomlin, IMO, did a great job of not letting the distractions/injuries bring our team down! He is a heck of a motivator. Each Tuesday afternoon, Tomlin sits down with the guys on Sirius XM for about 10-15 minutes. Hearing him talk, pumps me up!


:tt2

ALLD
01-08-2011, 09:19 AM
the fact that the media is saying that no one will beat the ***t's also has to be lighting a fire under the Steelers.


The fact is Joe Greene hated losing more than he liked winning. It carried over to the rest of the team which had enough character to win the Bowls which are Super.