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mesaSteeler
01-12-2009, 05:54 PM
Steelers ‘tired of losing at home’ in title games
Pittsburgh, 0-2 in hosting AFC championship, ready to reverse trend

PITTSBURGH - Tom Brady. Tom Brady. John Elway.

Detect a trend?

No NFL team has lost more conference championship games at home in less time than the Pittsburgh Steelers did during the 1994-2004 seasons — four of them in five tries, repeatedly costing them the opportunity to build an addition onto their already spacious Super Bowl trophy case.

The numerous January home-field losses defined former coach Bill Cowher’s career for a decade, and left Steelers fans constantly wringing their Terrible Towels amid cries of “Why can’t we win a big one here?”

There’s something to remember from all those defeats, though: The other team’s quarterback generally was pretty good.

And the opposing quarterback Sunday in the Steelers’ seventh AFC championship game in 15 seasons won’t be Brady or Elway, but Baltimore rookie Joe Flacco, who did little in two regular season games against them.

If any Steelers team of recent vintage appears equipped to cast aside the bad memories all of those January home-field losses, it may be this one — a team that, unlike those of the 1990s, has numerous players who have already won a Super Bowl in black and gold.

“To me this is the Super Bowl,” Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward said of the third Ravens-Steelers game in less than four months. “You don’t want to have a bad taste in your mouth by losing and watching that team go to the Super Bowl.”

When the Steelers finally won a fifth Super Bowl three years ago, they clearly thrived on playing every game away from home and dodging the constant questions of why they couldn’t win big playoff games at home.

Now, because many of them already own Steelers Super Bowl rings, there are no expectations inside their locker room there will be a letdown to match that of, for example, the January 1995 loss to San Diego in which defensive back Tim McKyer was so disoriented after allowing the game-winning touchdown catch that he was carried off the field.

Then there were all those interceptions Kordell Stewart threw into the Broncos’ arms in January 1998. The Patriots losing Brady to injury in January 2002 but still winning with Drew Bledsoe at quarterback in the second half. The Steelers squad with the best record in club history, the 15-1 team of 2004, losing to the Patriots again in a bitter-weather blowout.

Ancient history, these Steelers say. After all, they were the only home team to win during the divisional round last weekend, beating the Chargers 35-24 on Sunday.

How about that: the home-field advantage paying off for the Steelers in January.

Edman
01-12-2009, 06:04 PM
What all of those AFC Title games have in common is one thing: Miserable QB play. Rookie Ben was exposed by the Patriots after playing a miserable game the week earlier against the Jets. No Rookie Ben this time. And this Ben is coming off a spectacular game at home.

In 1997 and 2001, we had an average QB outclassed on the big stage. There is no Kordell. In 1994...I don't know what happened there.

Whatever the case is. Something has to give. We have to win, or Tomlin is headed to Hawaii. It's as simple as that. Let's see how he coaches a home AFC Title game first.

HometownGal
01-12-2009, 06:06 PM
I'm not looking back . . . only AHEAD.

Doesn't matter what happened before this Sunday's AFCC. Different eras, different coach, different team.

This year's Steelers can taste the prize - it's right there in front of 'em and within their reach. :tt02:

tony hipchest
01-12-2009, 06:27 PM
“To me this is the Super Bowl,” Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward said of the third Ravens-Steelers game in less than four months. “You don’t want to have a bad taste in your mouth by losing and watching that team go to the Super Bowl.”

you can bet the media spin machine will run with this quote should they advance.

they will report that hines thinks the nfc opponent is inferior when in reality, hes just saying hes playing this game like its his last.