One year ago, it was easier. The Steelers were still considered a 6-10 team that was judged to have significant offensive line problems and a secondary lacking speed. Their offense had been saddled with a running attack that had been next-to-worst in the whole league the previous season, and their defense went through too many stretches where it made a whole bunch of tackles but too few big plays.
?I think if you look at last year, everyone looked at who we lost the year before,? said Coach Bill Cowher back in March. ?Coming into the (2004) season, a lot of people said no way we were even as good as a 6-10 team.?
Sports Illustrated predicted the Steelers to finish third in the AFC North, behind Baltimore and Cincinnati. The Sporting News? list of the 100 top players in the league included only three Steelers ? Kendrell Bell was No. 56, Hines Ward was No. 71 and Alan Faneca was No. 75. Only one of Pro Football Weekly?s panel of six prognosticators had the Steelers finishing as high as second in their division. Nobody had them making the playoffs.
This was precisely the motivation the Steelers used from the first day of training camp until they had fashioned the 15-1 record that was the best in franchise history. And they did it with the same core of players who were on the team that finished 6-10 the year before, with the only newcomers to the organization among the starting 22 being Duce Staley, Ben Roethlisberger and Willie Williams.
It's so funny how basically the same group of guys went from being a 6-10 team with no respect to a 15-1 team with a little. Just though it was interesting...http://secure2.steelers.com/article/53148/
-here's the rest of the article!!!