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supersteeler
02-20-2013, 08:59 AM
By Alan Robinson

Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Updated 7 hours ago

What still bothers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau about the Steelers' season of unfulfilled expectations is that he is convinced they — rather than the rival Baltimore Ravens — could have won the Super Bowl.

The Steelers went 8-8 and missed the playoffs, yet LeBeau believes there was little to no difference between them and the team that displays the Lombardi Trophy.

“Do I feel we could have done the same thing they did? I do. I do,” LeBeau told the Tribune-Review on Tuesday. “It didn't break that way.”

Watching the Super Bowl two weeks ago was a bit difficult for the 75-year-old LeBeau because, he said, “It hurts to see the Ravens win anything.”

Still, LeBeau was effusive in his praise for the Ravens, citing their back-to-back road wins at AFC No. 1-seeded Denver and No. 2-seeded New England ahead of their Super Bowl upset of the 49ers.

However, LeBeau wonders if the injury situations had been reversed — for example, Ray Lewis doesn't come back to the Ravens but Ben Roethlisberger makes a quick and effective return from his injury — if the Steelers might not have won a third Super Bowl since the 2005 season.

“They got the right people back at the right time, and we continued to have more injuries, it seemed like,” LeBeau said. “Many times that decides it.”

The Ravens (10-6) and Steelers played a pair of three-point games during the season, each winning on the other's home field. The Steelers were without Roethlisberger for both games, with Byron Leftwich playing during the 13-10 loss to Baltimore on Nov. 18 and Charlie Batch leading the Steelers to a 23-20 win in Baltimore on Dec. 2.

“Can I say with a certain amount of credence we can compete with Baltimore day-in and day-out? I know it and I can say it,” LeBeau said. “We didn't have Ben in either one of those games. I know we're a better team with Ben because he's a great player, and that's not a knock on Charlie or Byron. Ben's our No. 1 quarterback, and we didn't have him.”

The Steelers' defense finished No. 1 statistically for the second straight season and the third time since 2008 despite being without star safety Troy Polamalu for a majority of the season or a healthy linebacker James Harrison for most of it.

But while Polamalu sat out nine consecutive games and an injured knee all but wiped out his 2009 season, LeBeau is convinced that Polamalu's career isn't close to being over. Polamalu turns 32 in April.

Polamalu played as effectively as ever once he returned late in the season, LeBeau said. As a result, LeBeau is hopeful Polamalu can play at such a level — and for full seasons — for “several more years.”

“He has a lot of tremendous football talent still in him,” LeBeau said. “Once he got back on the field, I couldn't see any difference in his play than when he was winning the Defensive Player of the Year award. ... I know Troy will do everything he can to get himself physically ready to compete for a 16-game season. And we'll have to wait and see (if he can).”

LeBeau will be honored Wednesday when a plaque recognizing his Pro Football Hall of Fame selection in 2010 is unveiled at his alma mater London (Ohio) High School. LeBeau will speak to the school's students during the ceremony.

“It's not a disadvantage to come from a small town. In many ways it can be an advantage, and I'm glad to share that message with them,” LeBeau said.

Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at arobinson@tribweb.com or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.


Read more: http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/3490092-74/lebeau-season-steelers#ixzz2LRa8HmJz
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flippy
02-20-2013, 12:15 PM
I agree with Dicky. Charlie Batch > Joe Flacco

Sugar
02-20-2013, 01:17 PM
I tend to agree with Coach LeBeau on this one. Sometimes things just have to go right at the right times. That just didn't happen for the Steelers this past year. Even with the disappointing record, I still thought that this would have been a contender if healthy.

papillon
02-20-2013, 02:05 PM
Just two simple examples of things going right for one team and not the other.

The Ravens convert a 4th and 29 on a 5 yard dump off in which the Charger defenders looked like dominoes as Ray Rice ran past them. There were 3 or 4 players in position to make a tackle and end the game, but Rice made a cut and they all fell down like dominoes or ran into each other like the Keystone Cops, rather amazing actually.

Then somehow inexplicably with the Broncos defending the goal line they allow a Raven wide receiver behind them and Joe throws it about 70 yards in the air and Smith catches it as if its the first quarter and its just a big play.

And two examples of things just not going right...

On the other hand, the Steelers go into Baltimore the first time, Leftwich marches them down the field and gets injured celebrating or whatever the hell he was doing and after one drive the Steelers are doen to their third string quarterback. There's no way of knowing if the Steelers can win that game, but Leftwich and the offense looked good and the Ravens only scored 13 points, so I have to think the offense had at least one more touchdown or 3 FGs in them in that game.

Antonio Brown fumbles a reception in which not one defender touched that led to a defeat.

Karma, bad luck, whatever you want to call it, the Steelers certainly didn't get it at the right time this past season. And, so, we are left wondering about a season that might have been.

Pappy

lloydroid
02-20-2013, 03:24 PM
I don't know; sounds kind of whiney and cry baby. We got breaks, just like they did, in 2005 and 2008. What's the difference? You don't get the breaks every year. Sometimes the other guys do. Get over it. I was rooting for Balt. and Ray Lewis. Haters are lame.

papillon
02-20-2013, 03:50 PM
I don't know; sounds kind of whiney and cry baby. We got breaks, just like they did, in 2005 and 2008. What's the difference? You don't get the breaks every year. Sometimes the other guys do. Get over it. I was rooting for Balt. and Ray Lewis. Haters are lame.

The breaks in 2005 were Ben's tackle after Bettis fumbles on the goal line, Polamalu's interception-no interception and all the marginal calls in the Super Bowl that went our way. The calls that went the Steelers way in the Super Bowl could have just as easily been no calls or called the other way. That season the Steelers got the breaks.

The incredible breaks in 2008 is Harrison's 100 yard INT return, that's akin to converting the 4th and 29. It had never happened before and it happened in that game. A great play to be sure, but all the little things that occurred during the return to allow JH to score especially Fitz running into his own guy on the sideline, otherwise he catches Harrison.

I think the Steelers like every other Super Bowl team had more breaks or big plays fall in their favor in the years they won the Super Bowl than plays that didn't go their way. This past year the Ravens had the big plays and good fortune fall their way, it happens.

Pappy

squidkid
02-20-2013, 03:56 PM
wow. it looks like im going to have to go on record and criticize DL for the first time. its time to send him into retirmentland. if this guy actually believes we were good enuff to win the superbowl if ben stayed healthy, he cant be right in the head.

BradshawsHairdresser
02-20-2013, 04:40 PM
DL is delusional. The 2012 Steelers were not even close to being a Super Bowl team...they weren't even a playoff team.

Doesn't inspire a lot of confidence that he will make the needed changes going forward.

lloydroid
02-20-2013, 05:11 PM
The breaks in 2005 were Ben's tackle after Bettis fumbles on the goal line, Polamalu's interception-no interception and all the marginal calls in the Super Bowl that went our way. The calls that went the Steelers way in the Super Bowl could have just as easily been no calls or called the other way. That season the Steelers got the breaks.

The incredible breaks in 2008 is Harrison's 100 yard INT return, that's akin to converting the 4th and 29. It had never happened before and it happened in that game. A great play to be sure, but all the little things that occurred during the return to allow JH to score especially Fitz running into his own guy on the sideline, otherwise he catches Harrison.

I think the Steelers like every other Super Bowl team had more breaks or big plays fall in their favor in the years they won the Super Bowl than plays that didn't go their way. This past year the Ravens had the big plays and good fortune fall their way, it happens.

Pappy

The above is totally my point. For someone as experienced and wise as DL to whine about the Ravens getting the breaks, seems kind of lame, that's all. Balt. earned every bit of that championship; breaks come with the territory to any SB winner for the most part. It is all about timing, and getting hot at the right time, which Pgh did their last two SB wins.

lloydroid
02-20-2013, 05:13 PM
DL is delusional. The 2012 Steelers were not even close to being a Super Bowl team...they weren't even a playoff team.

Doesn't inspire a lot of confidence that he will make the needed changes going forward.

That's a disturbing point. They were playing good enough D to win it all, if they had an O that could run the ball and put more points up. But it's not as if they were that close to a SB. That team was exactly what their record said they were: average.

supersteeler
02-20-2013, 05:39 PM
Question:

If the Baltimore Raven lost ED Reed for most of the season like we did with Troy combined with losing half your O-line, QB, OLBers, would the Ravens still won the SB?

Sugar
02-20-2013, 05:41 PM
Question:

If the Baltimore Raven lost ED Reed for most of the season like we did with Troy combined with losing half your O-line, QB, OLBers, would the Ravens still won the SB?

While the Ravens did have some significant injury losses throughout the year, my best guess to answer your question would be "no."

ikestops85
02-21-2013, 10:48 AM
I don't think DL is whining about anything. He is just pointing out how slim the margin between victory and defeat is. We certainly got breaks in 2005 and 2008 that enabled us to win the trophy. Why don't some of you think we are relevant when we played the world champions twice this year and both games were decided by 3 points ... one victory for us and one for them?

I am still amazed that some posters think they have even a thimble full of knowledge about football that DL has. You guys must believe those Holiday Inn Express commercials.

skyhawk
02-21-2013, 09:31 PM
If #7 doesn't go down with a major injury this past year, this team is playing the Ravens in the AFC championship.

Funny how doom and gloom settles in and memories of the early part of the season fade. Not having a legit/solid backup this year hurt this teams chances as well as the attitudes of Wallace and Sanders. Heath Miller was unstoppable until Ben went down.

Unfortunate they both take/took a beating.

supersteeler
02-21-2013, 09:58 PM
Injuries killed our momentum, we were running the ball, passing the ball, winning TOP, then the bottom fell out.
I wonder how these teams would fair with major injuries on their team AND to key players.

BradshawsHairdresser
02-22-2013, 01:14 AM
Every team has some measure of injuries and adversity to deal with. Is it always distributed fairly among teams? Of course not. But regardless, if we want to win, we need to learn from our failures, make needed changes, and work to improve. Don't know that coming up with excuses really helps in any of that.

LordVile
02-22-2013, 01:35 AM
Our franchise QB misses 3 DIVISIONAL games.. plus all the other injuries.. If Ben stays healthy, chances are we make the playoffs and win the division..

All teams get injured but losing ur 2 X SB winning quarterback.. is different.. oh well.. better back ups next year..

Slapstick
02-22-2013, 07:03 AM
Every team has some measure of injuries and adversity to deal with. Is it always distributed fairly among teams? Of course not. But regardless, if we want to win, we need to learn from our failures, make needed changes, and work to improve. Don't know that coming up with excuses really helps in any of that.

OTOH, refusing to acknowledge all of the reasons why it happened isn't helpful either...

BradshawsHairdresser
02-22-2013, 09:55 AM
OTOH, refusing to acknowledge all of the reasons why it happened isn't helpful either...
Acknowledging problems is one thing...making excuses is an entirely different matter. What's being said is that everything was fine with this team, it's just that injuries happened and fouled things up. Whatever happened to "the standard is the standard" and "next man up"?

But hey, we've really been a Super Bowl team for the past 13 years...it's just that most of those years, we've been unlucky when it comes to injuries and other things; if only we'd had a few breaks here and there, we'd have 17 Lombardis in the trophy case...:roll:

Slapstick
02-22-2013, 11:18 AM
Acknowledging problems is one thing...making excuses is an entirely different matter. What's being said is that everything was fine with this team, it's just that injuries happened and fouled things up. Whatever happened to "the standard is the standard" and "next man up"?

But hey, we've really been a Super Bowl team for the past 13 years...it's just that most of those years, we've been unlucky when it comes to injuries and other things; if only we'd had a few breaks here and there, we'd have 17 Lombardis in the trophy case...:roll:

"The standard is the standard" and "next man up" is what we call "coachspeak", which is what you will hear from coaches during the season...

What LeBeau is saying is called "honesty" or "reality", which we do not hear from coaches until the offseason, if at all...

Now, if you don't like to hear honesty (or reality), that's fine...

But, whether or not you like to hear it, it is still the truth...

feltdizz
02-22-2013, 01:50 PM
Excuses are lame and for losers...but hey, we did go .500.

"If Ben was healthy..." when has that ever happened? He's always injured. Sometimes more.. sometimes less.

"If Troy and JH were healthy"... maybe, but Ed Reed was dinged up this year and Suggs, Ray and Ngata all missed games.

As far as breaks are concerned...I don't think any play were a guy used his talent to make a play is considered a break. Tackling a DB and saving a sure touchdown isn't a break. It's using the physical gifts you have to beat an opponent.

Breaks are things like a blown call... or getting iffy calls in your favor.

Slapstick
02-22-2013, 02:00 PM
Excuses are lame and for losers...but hey, we did go .500.

"If Ben was healthy..." when has that ever happened? He's always injured. Sometimes more.. sometimes less.

"If Troy and JH were healthy"... maybe, but Ed Reed was dinged up this year and Suggs, Ray and Ngata all missed games.

As far as breaks are concerned...I don't think any play were a guy used his talent to make a play is considered a break. Tackling a DB and saving a sure touchdown isn't a break. It's using the physical gifts you have to beat an opponent.

Breaks are things like a blown call... or getting iffy calls in your favor.

Nobody is arguing that...

Whether or not the above is correct has no bearing upon LeBeau being truthful...

BradshawsHairdresser
02-22-2013, 04:48 PM
"The standard is the standard" and "next man up" is what we call "coachspeak", which is what you will hear from coaches during the season...

What LeBeau is saying is called "honesty" or "reality", which we do not hear from coaches until the offseason, if at all...

Now, if you don't like to hear honesty (or reality), that's fine...

But, whether or not you like to hear it, it is still the truth...
It's the "truth" that we would have been a Super Bowl Champion in 2012, but for the injuries? That's not reality, that's delusion.

Do you really believe that everything was fine with this team, that if it just weren't for those darned injuries we'd have done what Baltimore did? Well then, let's make no changes, let's bring back all the same players, let's do everything exactly like we did last season, and if the breaks don't go against us like they did in 2012, we'll come out on top. Sorry, but that's no recipe for success. LeBeau is in denial, and evidently, so are some fans.

lloydroid
02-22-2013, 05:00 PM
It's the "truth" that we would have been a Super Bowl Champion in 2012, but for the injuries? That's not reality, that's delusion.

Do you really believe that everything was fine with this team, that if it just weren't for those darned injuries we'd have done what Baltimore did? Well then, let's make no changes, let's bring back all the same players, let's do everything exactly like we did last season, and if the breaks don't go against us like they did in 2012, we'll come out on top. Sorry, but that's no recipe for success. LeBeau is in denial, and evidently, so are some fans.

Fo Wheel, 100% correct