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Old 12-15-2008, 09:15 PM   #1
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Default Home-field hoo-hah? Steelers might want to stay away

Home-field hoo-hah? Steelers might want to stay away
Dec. 15, 2008
By Clark Judge
CBSSports.com Senior Writer
http://www.sportsline.com/nfl/story/11174001

The Pittsburgh Steelers know what's ahead of them, and they can't wait to get there. With defeats of Tennessee and Cleveland the next two weeks, the Steelers gain the almighty home-field advantage through the upcoming playoffs.

"It's going to be a dogfight," said wide receiver Nate Washington, "and we're ready for it. The opportunity is out there. We've just got to make it."

Terrific. Only let me add one note of caution, fellas: Be careful what you wish for.

Everyone in the NFL wants to be home for the playoffs, but there's one AFC team where the home-field factor actually has been a disadvantage ... and you're looking at it.

Four times in the past 16 years, the Steelers had home-field advantage entering the playoffs -- 1992, 1994, 2001 and 2004 -- and four times they failed to make it to the Super Bowl. Three times they lost the conference championship game, and once they were bounced in the divisional round.

Staying home for the playoffs is supposed to be an enormous advantage ... and usually it is ... but not in Pittsburgh. In fact, over their past eight playoff games at home the Steelers are 4-4, with one victory in OT and another where they had to rally from a 17-point second-half deficit.

In 1995 they were the AFC's No. 2 seed but hosted the conference championship game after Indianapolis knocked off top seed Kansas City. The Steelers won, advancing to Super Bowl XXX, where they lost to Dallas.

Two years later, the same thing happened -- with Pittsburgh playing the conference championship game at home after the top-seeded Chiefs bowed out again, this time to Denver. And this time Broncos prevailed and went on to win the Super Bowl.

It doesn't take an Einstein to figure out what home-field advantage means when it happens to Pittsburgh -- almost nothing. Dating back to 1992, the Steelers are 1-4 in conference championship games at home and 0-4 when they hold home-field advantage entering the playoffs.

That means they haven't been the No. 1 seed and graduated magna cum laude from the AFC playoffs since ... well, since 1979, when Terry Bradshaw was the quarterback, Chuck Noll the coach and the Terrible Towels the rage.

Maybe that's why after Sunday's defeat of Baltimore, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger cautioned teammates not to get too caught up in the implications of next weekend's game at Tennessee. Roethlisberger shrugged when asked about the game, saying "there's no pressure" on the Steelers because they already won their division and clinched a first-round bye.

In Pittsburgh, the bye is more important because, as history tells us, home-field advantage really doesn't work for the Steelers. In fact, it's more like a home-field disadvantage.

But that doesn't make Pittsburgh unique. Of the past 14 clubs that gained home-field advantage entering the AFC playoffs, only four -- or 25 percent -- went on to the Super Bowl.

Yeah, I know, misery loves company and all that. Except here, there are only two AFC teams that, over the past 14 seasons, blew the home-field advantage more than once: One was Pittsburgh (three times); the other was Kansas City (twice).

The Steelers did make it to the Super Bowl in 2005, but they got there by a circuitous route. First, it was a playoff game in Cincinnati. Then, a playoff game in Indianapolis. Finally, they took their act to Denver and won the conference championship game there.

Then they went to Detroit and walked off with Super Bowl XL.

I think you get the idea. When the Steelers are home ... for whatever reason ... they have trouble closing a deal. But when they went on the road in January 2006, they were downright dominant, conquering their three playoff opponents by a combined score of 86-52.

Wide receiver Hines Ward was on that team, and when asked Sunday about the importance of gaining the home-field advantage, he parsed his words carefully -- a sign that he understands there are no guarantees, especially when you're in Pittsburgh.

"We have another big game," he said of this weekend's trip to Tennessee. "We would love to have that No. 1 spot and try to get the easiest path there (to the Super Bowl). But in the AFC I don't think there is any easy way."

He has that right.

Now, I know what you're thinking: So what's the message for the Steelers against Tennessee? Just lose, baby? Of course not. Maybe this year's Steelers can do what others have not and beat the odds at home.

All I'm saying is that if they lose Sunday's game, all is not lost. And maybe, just maybe, that was what Roethlisberger was telling his teammates. The pressure is gone because while you want home-field advantage, maybe you really don't.

Not in Pittsburgh.

"It's not like we have to win," Roethlisberger said. "I mean, we want to win, but we don't have to. I think we can go and play more relaxed and have fun, and I think it will be another great game."

Now that's more like it.

(Well let us see if Tomlin can break the cycle since all those AFC title loses were under Cowher. Of course it didn't help that the Patriots were cheating. - mesa)
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Old 12-15-2008, 09:22 PM   #2
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Default Re: Home-field hoo-hah? Steelers might want to stay away

We want home field advantage. Period. Although Tennessee is one of the less hostile places in the AFC. I'd rather play there than places like New England, Baltimore, and Indy.
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Old 12-15-2008, 09:25 PM   #3
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Default Re: Home-field hoo-hah? Steelers might want to stay away

WTH is this "hoo hah" stuff around here lately? Sounds like something that is laying in a baby's diaper.

I think these Steelers are on a steam roll now and like the 2005 SB team, nothing is going to stop them. I didn't believe that this team was going to make it to the SB up until right before the Rats game, but after that game, they sold me lock, stock and barrel on being a Super Bowl contender (and possible favorite). I'm VERY proud of our boyz!

With regard to their bad luck playing at home in past playoff games, what's past is past. Time to put it behind us and keep rollin' forward until we get to Tampa on February 1, 2009!
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Old 12-15-2008, 09:27 PM   #4
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Default Re: Home-field hoo-hah? Steelers might want to stay away

Quote:
Originally Posted by HometownGal View Post
WTH is this "hoo hah" stuff around here lately? Sounds like something that is laying in a baby's diaper.

I think these Steelers are on a steam roll now and like the 2005 SB team, nothing is going to stop them. I didn't believe that this team was going to make it to the SB up until right before the Rats game, but after that game, they sold me lock, stock and barrel on being a Super Bowl contender (and possible favorite). I'm VERY proud of our boyz!

With regard to their bad luck playing at home in past playoff games, what's past is past. Time to put it behind us and keep rollin' forward until we get to Tampa on February 1, 2009!
hoo-ha - 3 dictionary results

hoo-ha
   /n. ˈhuˌhɑ; interj. ˌhuˈhɑ/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [n. hoo-hah; interj. hoo-hah] Show IPA Pronunciation
Informal.
–noun
1. an uproarious commotion.
–interjection
2. (used to express mock surprise or excitement.)
Also, hoo-hah.

Origin:
1930–35; prob. < Yiddish hu-ha to-do, uproar, exclamation of surprise; cf. Pol hu-ha exclamation of joy
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Old 12-15-2008, 09:29 PM   #5
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Default Re: Home-field hoo-hah? Steelers might want to stay away

Quote:
Originally Posted by HometownGal View Post
WTH is this "hoo hah" stuff around here lately? Sounds like something that is laying in a baby's diaper.

I think these Steelers are on a steam roll now and like the 2005 SB team, nothing is going to stop them. I didn't believe that this team was going to make it to the SB up until right before the Rats game, but after that game, they sold me lock, stock and barrel on being a Super Bowl contender (and possible favorite). I'm VERY proud of our boyz!

With regard to their bad luck playing at home in past playoff games, what's past is past. Time to put it behind us and keep rollin' forward until we get to Tampa on February 1, 2009!
I agree. I havent felt this confident about our team since 05. I know that this team can beat any team in the NFL right now. No body wants to play us.
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Old 12-15-2008, 09:30 PM   #6
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Default Re: Home-field hoo-hah? Steelers might want to stay away

Quote:
Originally Posted by HometownGal View Post
WTH is this "hoo hah" stuff around here lately? Sounds like something that is laying in a baby's diaper.

I think these Steelers are on a steam roll now and like the 2005 SB team, nothing is going to stop them. I didn't believe that this team was going to make it to the SB up until right before the Rats game, but after that game, they sold me lock, stock and barrel on being a Super Bowl contender (and possible favorite). I'm VERY proud of our boyz!

With regard to their bad luck playing at home in past playoff games, what's past is past. Time to put it behind us and keep rollin' forward until we get to Tampa on February 1, 2009!
All Bad Luck must end eventually.
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Old 12-15-2008, 09:54 PM   #7
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Default Re: Home-field hoo-hah? Steelers might want to stay away

Like Ben said, no pressure cause we won the division and the bye. If we get homefield great, if not whatever. Its all about winning, dosn't matter who's house its in
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Old 12-15-2008, 10:08 PM   #8
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Default Re: Home-field hoo-hah? Steelers might want to stay away

You can't control where you play. But you can control how you play.

I don't care how they do it, or where they do it. Home or on the road. The Steelers have to get it done. If they're going to tank this game because they're afraid of some Home playoff game demons, then this team does not deserve to win it all and should just quit the season right now.

Except the Steelers are not that type of team. They'll fight to the end. They've faced tough competition and injuries to starters all season and pulled an 11-3 record out of it.
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Old 12-15-2008, 10:18 PM   #9
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Default Re: Home-field hoo-hah? Steelers might want to stay away

That was during the Cowher regime. There's a new sheriff in town. Give me home field and let's see what happens.
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Old 12-15-2008, 11:24 PM   #10
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Default Re: Home-field hoo-hah? Steelers might want to stay away

This is all a load of balogna. We have killed several demons this year already. We beat Jacksonville. At their house. We beat New England. At their house. We beat the Ravens. At their house. We beat the 4:15 game jinx. We can WHIP THE CRAP out of that losing at home in the playoffs jinx. Keep the faith. This team is for real.
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