View Full Version : Avoiding repeat of '06 nightmare is issue for Steelers

Galax Steeler
07-31-2009, 03:50 AM
Sometime tonight, after the Steelers report to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, after coach Mike Tomlin puts them through their run test, after their first dinner of training camp together, a senior member of the roster will talk about being a Super Bowl champion.

He won't talk much about Super Bowl XLIII, nor even so much about Super Bowl XLIV, but of what occurred in the aftermath of Super Bowl XL. No Steelers team ever fell so flat as reigning champion than did the 2006 edition, and many from that team hope there is a lesson there for this one.

"Coming back after that Super Bowl," said one captain, Hines Ward, "I think we had that profanityfilterprofanityfilterprofanityfilterprofa nityfilteriness where [we thought] we could just walk in and walk over anybody."

Instead, the Steelers turned into welcome mats, losing six of their first eight games. Despite a second-half surge, they finished 8-8 in 2006 and out of the playoffs. Coach Bill Cowher topped off one of their most unsatisfactory seasons when he resigned.

"That's the most disappointing thing," Ward said. "You win the Super Bowl and come out the next year and don't even make the playoffs. A lot of guys are still on the team, and we reflect on that."

The current 80-man roster includes 21 who experienced both a Super Bowl victory followed by an 8-8 season. That should be enough to recall the pitfalls and to point out different paths for them to follow this time.

"A lot of guys on this team have experience winning a Super Bowl and seeing what happened the following season," cornerback Deshea Townsend said. "With experience, it makes you better. I'm sure we'll take that experience we have from the first time and try to make it better."

And what did they learn?

"We definitely can't walk into anybody's stadium and think just because we're champs we can go out and not practice and not put in the time and energy and go out and prepare ourselves like we're going in for a battle," Ward said.

Five times, the Steelers have entered a season as Super Bowl champions. Twice, they did not reach the postseason (1980, 2006) and once they lost in the AFC championship game (1976). Twice, they followed with a second consecutive Super Bowl victory (1975, '79).

Today, they report to training camp for the sixth time as reigning champions, and some might say they are due to make it again. Ward was outspoken all spring about how that 2006 team did not take its task seriously enough, and he promised things would be different this season.

"I just think the guys we have on this team -- not to knock the guys we had on our other team, but there's a purpose. The last time we went there, we really didn't come out and do what we were supposed to do the following year, and I think a lot of guys remember that."

Ward also thinks that keeping the Super Bowl team of last season mostly intact should help. The Steelers return 20 of 22 starters from the team that lined up against the Arizona Cardinals in Tampa Feb. 1. The only ones missing are cornerback Bryant McFadden, who shared time with new starter William Gay, and linebacker Larry Foote, who likely would have given way to first-round 2007 draft choice, Lawrence Timmons, anyway.

They also lost No. 3 wide receiver Nate Washington, whose job may be the most difficult to fill. Among the candidates are Limas Sweed, their second-round draft choice in 2008, and a third-round pick from this year, Mike Wallace.

"Both of those guys are right in the mix, along with Dallas Baker and all those guys," said Ward. "With the loss of Nate Washington, we don't have the guy who has the experience to go out there and play if Santonio [Holmes] or I were to go down."

Holmes and Ward are the only experienced wide receivers besides Shaun McDonald, signed in May as a free agent from the Detroit Lions. All looked good in the spring, but, starting this weekend, the playing field changes.

"It's different when you put the pads on -- going across the middle, getting hit, going one on one, it's a totally different ballgame," Ward noted. "We'll see what type of talents and skills they have in training camp."


Justin Otstott
07-31-2009, 10:33 AM
Good article! I am glad they remember the 2006 season and will make sure to not make the same mistakes.

07-31-2009, 10:36 AM
I think the vets on our team have made it their mission to not have another SB hangover. We have more components in place now 1, being a motivated coach not 1 who just wanted to retire and 2, players who have been there and know how to avoid being complacent. I think we will be fine but I just hope that Ben's civil suite doesn't become a distraction.

Fire Haley
07-31-2009, 11:52 AM
What did they learn?

Cowher is gone. Keep Ben off his motorcycle and there should be no problem.

07-31-2009, 12:44 PM
cowher had already checked out...im not worried in the least bit of this happening again

07-31-2009, 05:22 PM
I think it is kinda funny how these things are now coming out before camp...

"Steelers are worried about Sweed--Twitter"

Or (my interp. of this article) Steelers are worried about failing again after a SB.

Thank goodness I will be gone for a week and by the time I get back, we will have HARD EVIDENCE to start discussing, instead of tweets and he said she said news articles.

Fire Haley
07-31-2009, 07:30 PM
DUH - don't feed the trolls.

I give a class on how to spot them - in my free clinic.

08-01-2009, 07:26 AM
What did they learn?

Cowher is gone. Keep Ben off his motorcycle and there should be no problem.

seriously.... ben was walking around in a coma..... he should have stayed off the field the first 8 games that season.... we would have been 12-4

repeat of 2006 my arse....

08-01-2009, 02:36 PM
i think this team is far too talented to have another hangover

08-01-2009, 02:47 PM
I think the Steelers are going to SHOCK THE WORLD this year and shut up those Patriot slobberknockers that are everywhere. The Patriots are toast and Belicheat is entering the end of his career as the jackA$$, conniving, cheating, hoody wearing jerk that he is. It makes me sick every time an analyst slobbers all over him like he is the best coach ever to come down the pipe. I call BS. Tomlin has more class in his little finger than that jerk has in his whole body. Listening to him hem and haw about Michael Vick made me want to reach through the screen and smack him.