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mesaSteeler
12-20-2008, 09:35 AM
Pro Bowl picks put chip on Steelers' shoulders
http://www.goerie.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081218/FOOTBALL04/312189843
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Published: December 18. 2008 12:23AM

PITTSBURGH -- Coach Mike Tomlin told his players not to speak out after only three Steelers were chosen for the Pro Bowl.

The gag order didn't last long.

A number of players believe the perceived slight gives them extra incentive going into the playoffs, much like it did the New York Giants a season ago. The Giants had only one player chosen, then went on to win the Super Bowl.

Only once in the previous seven seasons did the Steelers have so few Pro Bowl players chosen, also landing three in Honolulu after going 6-10 in 2003.

"For the guys who got slighted, let's win a Super Bowl," wide receiver Hines Ward said Wednesday. "A Super Bowl will feel a lot better. You'll get recognized a lot more for winning a Super Bowl than you will for going to the Pro Bowl."

Outside linebacker James Harrison and safety Troy Polamalu will be AFC starters in the Pro Bowl on Feb. 8 and inside linebacker James Farrior is a backup, but no other players were selected off a defense that has allowed the fewest points, passing yards and total yards in the league.

The Steelers could become the first defense since the 1970 NFL merger to lead the league in rushing, passing and total yardage and fewest points allowed. No defense since the 1991 Eagles has led in all three yardage categories.

"You have a defense that's close to doing something that's unheard of by trying to be No. 1 in all three categories, and to have only three guys make it, it's pretty ..." cornerback Deshea Townsend said, deciding to hold back a stronger opinion.

The Steelers are one of the NFL's marquee teams and attract some of its highest TV ratings, yet Townsend suggested that if a more glamorous franchise -- he wouldn't name names -- was playing defense the way Pittsburgh is "it would be all 11 going."

The Jets (9-5) might not win their division, yet had more than twice as many players (seven) chosen as the Steelers (11-3), who are guaranteed of being seeded at least second in the AFC playoffs

Nose tackle Casey Hampton wasn't selected despite going four of the previous five years, and second-year linebacker LaMarr Woodley (11 sacks) also was passed over. But it was defensive end Aaron Smith, a key to the strong run defense, who was most named by his teammates as being slighted.

"He's a Pro Bowl player and everyone in here knows that," defensive end Brett Keisel said. "But we're not going to whine about it. ... We're not going to get a Lombardi Trophy in Hawaii, and that's what we're shooting for."

It is difficult for a defensive end to pile up sacks and other statistics in a 3-4 defense in which the linebackers and Polamalu make most of the big plays, so Smith didn't seem upset with being left off.

"The guys in this locker room are what count the most to me, as far as their opinions and thoughts," Smith said. "That's almost better than being voted to the Pro Bowl, to have your teammates respect you and think you deserve to be there. It's not the perfect system, but is the best system we have right now and it's what we live with."

With a chance to win home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs by winning Sunday at Tennessee (12-2) and against Cleveland (4-10) on Dec. 27, the Steelers have plenty to play for in their remaining two games. They are assured of at least a first-round bye and a home playoff game Jan. 10 or 11.

"If we see the Tennessees and Indianapolises and Baltimores again, it would be better at Heinz Field," safety Ryan Clark said.

Clark was chosen as the winner of the Chief award, which is named for founder Art Rooney Sr. and is given to the Steelers player who is most cooperative with the media. With the draft choices either hurt or not contributing, free agent linebacker Patrick Bailey -- who plays on special teams -- was chosen as the rookie of the year despite being cut twice this season.

(I like the attitude. - mesa)

fansince'76
12-20-2008, 09:42 AM
I like the attitude too, but it really isn't the guys on D that need the fire lit under their ass, it's the offense. If we start so much as playing B- ball on offense, we will be unstoppable in the postseason. One TD per quarter on offense assures us pretty much a blowout every week the way the D has been playing.

stillers4me
12-20-2008, 11:32 AM
A chip on their shoulder?

Perfect timing.
:tt03:

tony hipchest
12-20-2008, 11:45 AM
casey hampton ate his way out of a pro bowl. if he woulda just shown up to camp in shape and not get "benched" in a disrespectful manner to his coach and teammates i think he woulda been a shoo-in just like faneca has been.

The Steelers could become the first defense since the 1970 NFL merger to lead the league in rushing, passing and total yardage and fewest points allowed. No defense since the 1991 Eagles has led in all three yardage categories.

when you think of that great eagles defense i always think of buddy ryan.

but it was bud carson who was the defensive coordinator. same d-coord for some of the greatest steeler defenses ever.

tony dungy learned a bit from him and he learned from noll.

tomlin learned from dungy and is learning a bit from leabeau.

an interresting 6 degrees of seperation between us and that philly team.

jjpro11
12-20-2008, 12:28 PM
this is what i was hoping would happen... hell yeah!

Steelcitygal87
12-20-2008, 12:36 PM
"The guys in this locker room are what count the most to me, as far as their opinions and thoughts," Smith said. "That's almost better than being voted to the Pro Bowl, to have your teammates respect you and think you deserve to be there.

I LOVE that attitude! Well said, Mr. Smith. :tt03::tt03::tt03:

chucoblack&gold
12-20-2008, 01:02 PM
"The guys in this locker room are what count the most to me, as far as their opinions and thoughts," Smith said. "That's almost better than being voted to the Pro Bowl, to have your teammates respect you and think you deserve to be there.

I LOVE that attitude! Well said, Mr. Smith. :tt03::tt03::tt03:

true, true.

those other flashy franchises can try to buy championships, but they cant buy class.

GO STEELERS!!:tt03:

tyler289
12-20-2008, 01:05 PM
All those '07 probowlers for the Cowboys seem to be paying dividends

hindes204
12-20-2008, 01:23 PM
we play better when people talk shit, i see this as a good sign