View Full Version : Toweling off:Steelers focused on winning not revenge

09-09-2009, 07:12 PM
Toweling off:Steelers focused on winning not revenge
By F. Dale Lolley, Staff writer

PITTSBURGH - The people who make the NFL schedule certainly have a sense for the dramatic.

When the Steelers won the Super Bowl in February, they were locked in as the host of the NFL's Thursday night regular season-opening game. The defending Super Bowl champion has opened at home on Thursday night since the league added the game to its schedule.

With the exception of scheduling the Steelers to open with a rematch of the AFC Championship game against Baltimore - something the Ravens requested not happen - the league could not have chosen a better opponent than the Tennessee Titans.

Not only was Tennessee the last team to beat Pittsburgh - 31-14 in Nashville in Week 15 last year - the Titans also raised the ire of some Steelers and pretty much every Pittsburgh fan when some of their players made a production out of stomping on Terrible Towels following that victory.

"Hopefully, if we do see them again, we can right the wrong and not allow them to step on that towel," Steelers cornerback Deshea Townsend said following that game. "I am sure they are very emotional over there. I am sure it was good to win and show a little respect for our towel. We won't forget it."

At the time, the Steelers anticipated having to go back to Tennessee to face the Titans in the playoffs. The regular-season victory over Pittsburgh clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs for Tennessee.

But the Titans were upset by Baltimore in their first postseason game and the Steelers went on to win the Super Bowl.

Apparently, winning the Super Bowl has changed the Steelers' opinion of past grievances.

"That was last year," said Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward. "We're not worried about that. We're worried about this year."

That's because, as defending Super Bowl champions, the Steelers must be focused on the present. Every game they play this season will be like a playoff contest.

Titans head coach Jeff Fisher also is understandably trying to downplay the incident.

"We addressed it after the ballgame here last year. It hasn't really come up since," said Fisher. "I was anticipating it coming up. It's something that happened in the past. It was something that took place in an emotional moment. The players now understand the significance of the towel and the tradition behind the towel and the organization. They certainly aren't going to carry their own towels out there and stomp on them before kickoff.

"We got on a roll and won games last year, then the guys got excited about winning. It was certainly not a personal thing that the players directed towards the tradition and the history of the organization or to the fans."

With the Steelers coming off their record sixth Super Bowl victory, there will be plenty of hoopla surrounding the game.

"It's Pittsburgh, Pa., and it's football season, so it's that buzz in the air," said Tomlin. "It's an added bonus that we get to do it on Thursday night, in prime time, with all the things that come with the kickoff game. It's a good vibe, it's a good feeling and it's an exciting thing to be a part of."

It should be exciting if you like to watch top-notch defenses.

Pittsburgh led the league in nearly every meaningful defensive statistic in 2008. Tennessee, meanwhile, ranked seventh in total defense and trailed only the Steelers in points allowed.

"They've got a great defensive scheme and their defensive line coach does a good job of rotating linemen in and out of the game to keep them fresh," said right guard Trai Essex, the Steelers' only new starter on offense. "It's going to be a stiff test."

In the last meeting, Tennessee sacked Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger five times, intercepted him twice and forced five Steelers fumbles.

The Steelers hope they have fixed those problems on the offensive line and that playing at Heinz Field will tip things in their favor.

"There's a lot of things that pump fans up that have nothing to do with playing, winning and losing," said Tomlin. "This is going to be two top-quality teams. They're going to play because it's opening night and both teams need to get off to a great start. The things that motivate these teams is the competition and essence of the game as opposed to some footnote or something that happened in the past."


Pittsburgh linebacker Lawrence Timmons did not practice Tuesday because of a high ankle sprain and is not expected to play in the opener. He would be replaced by Keyaron Fox, one of the special teams captains.

Fox played four seasons with Kansas City from 2004-07, but did not start any games for Pittsburgh last season.

Linebacker James Farrior says of Fox, "He's showed all the coaches he knows what to do, and they trust him a lot more now."

Copyright Observer Publishing Co.

09-09-2009, 07:25 PM
Good to see the Steelers are not being big headed and eying the revenge. They are playing this season like any other one and trying to repeat. They have their minds set on playing every game with the same mentality, smash mouth Steeler football.

09-09-2009, 07:31 PM
Not only do the Steelers have the hearts of champions, they are one class act.

Take note.

Galax Steeler
09-10-2009, 03:35 AM
They have to come in and concentrate on the game. If they come in with revenge on there minds and try to pay back White for what he done then that could cost us the game one way or the other.

09-10-2009, 04:32 AM
If this team needed to be motivated by Lendale White and a towel stomping I would be really worried about the season ahead.

This is a new season and this team realises they need to be totally focused as every team will be gunning to knock off the superbowl champs.

09-10-2009, 05:37 AM
Hines says it best . . .

"That was last year," said Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward. "We're not worried about that. We're worried about this year."


09-10-2009, 05:38 AM
If this team needed to be motivated by Lendale White and a towel stomping I would be really worried about the season ahead.

..... if 'em Stilers concentrate on the task at-hand (doing their job, winning this football game, and nothing-more), it'll result in all the revenge ever needed.

Lock Down
09-10-2009, 05:41 AM
Don't believe there is revenge to extract Winning the championship can be a reminder for the Titans that there antics come off as particularly ridiculous when in the end they didn't live up to their billing as the #1 seed. Stomp on the towels but they are still looking up at the Steelers.

09-10-2009, 07:52 AM
Repeat, not revenge. Our mission is to repeat, not get revenge on some ringless playoff choke artists. The Titties just happen to be in the way. At the end of the day, we're the team with Six. They're the team with nothing.

Victory is revenge enough. Just take care of business and the rest will take care of itself. Showcase WHY we won XLIII and why we are the champs, not getting revenge on some reskinned Oilers.

Let the Titans blab about how they owned us and stomped on the towel. It got them the usual thing they always got: Nothing. That's why the Steelers are winners, and why the Oilertitans are still seeking their first piece of the pie.