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Thread: Steelers Accept Role As Underdogs

      
  1. #1
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    Default Steelers Accept Role As Underdogs

    Baffled Steelers embrace underdog status in Super Bowl



    PITTSBURGH -- The mighty Steelers, equipped with a 14-4 record, the AFC's No. 2 playoff seed and a veteran roster on the verge of three championships in the past six seasons, are underdogs in Super Bowl XLV.

    Really?

    Don't worry. It's not you. It doesn't make much sense to the Steelers, either.

    But here Pittsburgh (14-4) is, fresh off Sunday night's 24-19 victory over the New York Jets in the AFC Championship Game, believed by some to be the underdog against the Green Bay Packers (13-6), the NFC's No. 6 seed.

    "I kind of don't understand what everybody sees that we don't see," Steelers defensive back Ike Taylor said.

    For a team that wasn't picked by many to win its division, told it would get off to a rocky start without its suspended quarterback for the first four games and fought through it all to reach the franchise's record-tying eighth Super Bowl, being the underdog is a role the Steelers are eager to embrace.

    "I think we do our best when we're underdogs," Steelers defensive lineman Chris Hoke said. "People were talking at the beginning of the season, how we were going to go 6-10 or 7-9. And how two years ago, when we went to the Super Bowl in '08, we had the toughest schedule in NFL history, 'Are they going to be able to make it out of this schedule?'

    "I think when you put our backs against the wall, when you tell us that we're an underdog and we can't do something, that's when we fight and we're at our best."
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    Maybe Hoke is on to something. The franchise's most recent run of championships began when it slipped into the playoffs as a No. 6 seed, upset three teams with better records on the road and beat the NFC's top seed, Seattle, in the Super Bowl.

    Nineteen players from that team are on this roster in a season in which it played its first four games with a third-, and then a fourth-string quarterback.

    Ben Roethlisberger was suspended by the league until Week 5 for violating its personal-conduct policy, and backup Byron Leftwich sustained a knee sprain during the preseason. That meant Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch quarterbacked the Steelers to a surprising 3-1 start. Four months later, they're packing their bags for Dallas.

    "We like to go into every game as underdogs," wide receiver Mike Wallace said.

    But maybe -- at least in Taylor's eyes -- it's wishful thinking on the part of Pittsburgh critics.

    "I feel like, deep down, in the back of people's heads, they really don't want us to win," Taylor said. "People don't like successful people. Just the tradition we have here, the success we have here, I just feel that a lot of people don't want us to succeed. They're getting tired of seeing the same people over and over again. I guess they want to see somebody new.

    "Until that happens, I'm just glad to be a Pittsburgh Steeler."

    And why not? Taylor was drafted by a team that has advanced to the AFC Championship Game in half of his eight seasons. Add that run to the lore of the Steel Curtain teams of the 1970s -- a unit that won four Super Bowls in six years, becoming the first true dynasty in the Super Bowl era -- and the Steelers have quite the tradition for a bunch of underdogs.

    "You come here and see the pictures on the wall," Hoke said. "Joe Greene and all those great guys on defense. Terry Bradshaw on offense, Franco Harris, there's too many to name. You know there's a standard here, and you know that winning is an expectation. You're not hoping to win -- you're expecting to win here."

    The Steelers maintain they're not yet considering their legacy and how, with another title, they would pull to within one of their franchise ancestors of 30 years ago.

    Sounds as if they've adopted the mantra of their perpetually composed head coach. Only 38, Mike Tomlin can win his second Super Bowl in just his fourth season.

    Tomlin faced the tough task of winning over his players when he was hired as somewhat of an unknown 34-year-old after the 2006 season. He had to replace the popular Bill Cowher, too, which wasn't easy.

    If Pittsburgh beats Green Bay in two weeks at Cowboys Stadium, though, Tomlin will have doubled Cowher's one Super Bowl title in less than one-third of the time.

    "Going into training camp, we knew the odds were stacked against us a little bit in that first month without Ben," Hoke said. "But (Tomlin) kept us focused, kept that chip on our shoulder when people were counting us out a little bit. I think we played with a chip on our shoulder the first four weeks. And to be able to go 3-1 those first four games, knowing that we had Ben coming back, we put ourselves in a good position to be where we are now."

    It shows.



    http://www.nfl.com/superbowl/story/0...tus-in-super-bowl
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Steelers Accept Role As Underdogs

    Steelers Players Embracing Underdog Role

    January 25, 2011 9:57 AM



    (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

    PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – Did the oddsmakers really take a look at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ resume this year and in previous Super Bowls?

    It doesn’t appear so because they gave the Green Bay Packers a 2 1/2 point edge in the game. That’s despite the Steelers’ six Super Bowl titles, 14-4 record this season and the No. 2 AFC seed.

    Don’t worry if it doesn’t make sense because you are not alone. The players are feeling the same way.

    “I kind of don’t understand what everybody sees that we don’t see,” Steelers defensive back Ike Taylor said. “I feel like, deep down, in the back of people’s heads, they really don’t want us to win, people don’t like successful people. Just the tradition we have here, the success we have here, I just feel that a lot of people don’t want us to succeed. They’re getting tired of seeing the same people over and over again. I guess they want to see somebody new.”

    “Until that happens, I’m just glad to be a Pittsburgh Steeler.”

    The Steelers started their season as underdogs and have embraced it all season.

    They weren’t picked by many to be in Super Bowl XLVand some weren’t expecting them to win their division either.

    “I think we do our best when we’re underdogs,” Steelers defensive lineman Chris Hoke said. “People were talking at the beginning of the season, how we were going to go 6-10 or 7-9.”

    “I think when you put our backs against the wall, when you tell us that we’re an underdog and we can’t do something, that’s when we fight and we’re at our best.”

    The last time the Steelers were underdogs in the Super Bowl, they won their fifth Lombardi Trophy.

    Back in the 2005-06 season, the Steelers entered the playoffs as the No. 6 seed and they upset three teams with better records. They went on to beat the top-seeded Seattle Seahawks 21-10, in Super Bowl XL.

    Having spent his entire career with the Steelers, Hoke said, “You know that winning is an expectation. You’re not hoping to win – you’re expecting to win here.”

    It sounds as if they’ve adopted the mantra of coach Mike Tomlin’s “standard is the standard.”

    http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2011/...underdog-role/

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Steelers Accept Role As Underdogs

    Funny thing is, we could beat Green Bay by 30 and we wouldn't be a top 5 Super Bowl favorite next season.
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