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01-21-2009, 07:57 AM
Steelers coach sticks to regular schedule
By Scott Brown, TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, January 21, 2009


The trade-off of going to the Super Bowl for Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is ceding a certain amount of control if not sanity after this week.

For that reason, the Steelers will start implementing their game plan for the Arizona Cardinals today even though Super Bowl XLIII won't be played until Feb. 1.

"We're taking this week in terms of preparing ourselves as if we're going to play Sunday," Tomlin said, "because, to be quite frank, it's not normalcy waiting for us on the other end."

What is waiting for the Steelers when they arrive in Tampa next Monday is one distraction after another and an environment that is not exactly conducive for teams to prepare for any game, much less the crowning one of the NFL season.

There are mandatory media sessions that are attended by reporters from all over the world. There are requests ranging from tickets to autographs that the players also have to deal with.

Everything, it seems, is magnified when it comes to the Super Bowl.

And one thing that can factor into the outcome of the Super Bowl is how teams deal with the week leading up to the game.

"It's crazy; you are going to be pulled in a million different directions," said Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner, who is preparing for his third Super Bowl. "The more uptight you get with it, the less you enjoy it, and I think the harder it is for you to prepare and play because you are thinking about everything else."

The good news for the Steelers is they'll have at least some idea of what to expect when they step off their plane Monday in Tampa, Fla., and step into the klieg lights that always accompany the Super Bowl.

Tomlin experienced the Super Bowl as an assistant coach with Tampa Bay in 2003. Meanwhile, 15 of the Steelers' starters as well as one specialist were on the team that won the Super Bowl in 2006.

Not that keeping the full attention of his team, even one that is laden with veterans, will be easy for Tomlin once the Steelers get to Tampa.

That is why the Steelers are starting their preparation for the Cardinals early.

Tomlin said the coaches will go to Tampa with the mindset that adjustments to the game plan can be made. But he wants his players to have a good grasp of the game plan before they leave Pittsburgh and before the demands on them increase exponentially.

"We've got a nice blend of veterans and guys that have been there," Tomlin said when asked if it is possible to prepare for the week leading up to the Super Bowl. "It's never been our goal to (just) get to the Super Bowl. I think our guys will keep that perspective, that we're going to do the job."

"We know we haven't done anything yet," Steelers wide receiver Nate Washington said. "The things we've done already are the things we expected to do."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_608086.html