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Prosdo
07-31-2005, 12:47 AM
Dealing with success Job One this summer for Cowher's Steelers
By Mike Prisuta
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, July 31, 2005

There's almost nowhere to go but down.

That's the challenge confronting Bill Cowher as he begins his 14th season with the Steelers.

As successful as Cowher's first 13 seasons have been -- and if you don't classify eight division championships, five AFC Championship Game appearances and a near-miss in Super Bowl XXX a resounding success you're grading on too difficult a curve -- he has yet to win the big one.

Last season, a 15-1 masterpiece that ultimately ended in defeat, was as representative as any as far as the best of the Cowher Era is concerned:


Sweet, but shy of Super.

The Steelers' collection of Vince Lombardi trophies may have been moved from Three Rivers Stadium to the South Side, but nothing has been added to the arsenal of hardware except dust.

That makes Cowher's first 13 seasons, as riveting as the majority of them have been, ultimately unfulfilling, at least to a degree.

And since Cowher is annually the first to declare the Steelers' goal, as always, is to win the championship -- THE championship -- that makes Cowher 0-for-his-first-13 in the National Football League.

There's no shame in that, but nor does it get you to Canton (unless you happen to be Bud Grant or Marv Levy).

That's a dilemma Cowher hopes to wrestle with again down the road.

His immediate concern is re-creating the chemistry and camaraderie and cohesion, the work ethic that led to the preparation that produced near perfection, in the wake of a season to remember.

Cowher's had those before, but almost invariably they've come following seasons during which the Steelers failed to take significant steps forward.

Only in 1995, when the Steelers overcame the heartbreak that was San Diego at the conclusion of a determined run in 1994 and made it all the way to the last Sunday in January, can it be said the Steelers followed up a great season with an even greater one under Cowher.

Their other AFC Championship Game campaigns (1994, 1997, 2001 and 2004) followed a 9-7 disappointment in 1993, a second-round playoff exit that denied the Steelers a return to the Super Bowl in 1996, a 9-7 mark that snapped a streak of losing seasons at two but extended a playoff drought to three in 2000, and a 6-10 train wreck in 2003.

Considering all that they might really be up against it this season coming off of 15-1.

No one expects that again, but that doesn't mean Steeler Nation isn't salivating over what might be possible in 2005, particularly with New England in an apparent state of transition after losing both coordinators.

That'll be dealt with beginning in September.

These Steelers will have to overcome themselves before they can begin to contemplate tackling the Pats or anyone else blocking the Road to the Motown and Super Bowl XL.

Mike Prisuta is a columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Link: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/tribune-review/sports/steelerslive/s_357835.html

BlitzburghRockCity
07-31-2005, 01:07 AM
I hate coming into a season after being so successful the year before. I know it sounds dumb, but I'd much rather play the underdog, and play w/ chip on our shoulder, us against the world mentality than coming in w/ people singing our praises.

fortunately this year though, we still seem to be getting alittle snubbed..so thats a good thing!

Prosdo
07-31-2005, 01:13 AM
The Steelers always play with a chip on their shoulders. I think thats what makes them such a good team. They don't give up and always feel like they have something to prove.

BlitzburghRockCity
07-31-2005, 01:21 AM
yeah but the problem is they also get big heads alot of the time. when the media starts to pat them on the back, they tend to let their guard down just enough to not play w/ that razor sharp edge that they have when their backs are against the wall. Last year we had it all year, 2 years ago we didnt have it hardly at all.

its up to cowher to instill in this team the urgency...and so far, the team seems to be on the right track. they know whats at stake this year for them.

ironcitychef
07-31-2005, 02:04 AM
The most focused I have ever seen the Steelers was the SB year of "3 more yards". We just went right after teams on the kickoffs and put them away pretty well. Beat the teams we should and played a games against others. Need that again this year.