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Old 01-04-2009, 11:00 AM   #1
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Default Steelers defense harkens to Curtain days

Steelers defense harkens to Curtain days
By Mike Bires, Times Sports Staff
Published: Sunday, January 4, 2009 12:15 AM EST


PITTSBURGH — The Steelers’ stingy defense has accomplished just about everything it set out to do so far. About the only thing missing is a clever nickname.

The Steelers’ historic defensive units from the 1970s were known as the “Steel Curtain.” The Steelers’ defense of the mid-1990s was tagged “Blitzburgh.”

But as the modern-day Steelers enter the playoffs leading the NFL in nine defensive categories, they don’t want a nickname. At least they don’t right now.

“I’ve heard a few of the nicknames that people have suggested,” cornerback Deshea Townsend said. “I wasn’t crazy about most of them. But to tell you the truth, we don’t want a nickname. You can’t get a nickname until you win it all.

“The true mark of a great defense is a championship. A championship gives you the right to say you’re truly a great defense.”

So it’s Super Bowl or bust for the ball-hawking, hard-hitting Steeler defenders, who allow a league-low average of 13.9 points per game.

During the Steel Curtain era, the Steelers won four Super Bowls.

Even in 1995 when All-Pro cornerback Rod Woodson missed the entire season with a knee injury, the Blitzburgh defense helped the Steelers reach Super Bowl XXX, where they lost to the Dallas Cowboys.

“If you really want to be a great defense, you have to win the big games, the important ones, because people don’t remember great defenses that don’t win championships,” strong safety Troy Polamalu said. “We have an opportunity to do that, to be remembered.”

This season en route to winning the AFC North Division title, the Steelers were hoping to become the first team in the Super Bowl era to lead the NFL in total defense, run defense, pass defense and scoring defense. It accomplished three of those goals, but finished second to the Minnesota Vikings in stopping the run.

The last team to lead the league in total defense, rushing defense and passing defense was the 1991 Philadelphia Eagles. But that is nothing more than a trivia answer because the Eagles didn’t win any kind of championship that year. In fact, they finished 10-6 and didn’t qualify for the playoffs.

“Now it’s up to us to close the deal and win the Super Bowl so the whole world will remember (our defense),” linebacker Larry Foote said.

“Defense wins championships, no doubt about it. So if we want to be remembered, if we want to stand up among the great defenses of all time, we have to win the Super Bowl.”

Foote’s point is well taken despite the fact that in the last two years, the Indianapolis Colts and New York Giants weren’t exactly the most dominating defensive teams to win Super Bowls.

In 2006, the Colts entered the playoffs ranked 23rd in scoring defense at 22.5 points per game. Last year, the Giants ranked 17th at 21.9.

Still, since the start of this decade, not one team that led the NFL in scoring offense went on to win a Super Bowl. Conversely, three teams first in scoring defense hoisted the Lombardi Trophy (the 2003 Patriots, the 2002 Buccaneers and the 2000 Ravens).

Over the past eight seasons, teams that led the NFL in scoring offense were 7-7 in postseason play, including 0-3 in the Super Bowl. Teams first in scoring defense were 11-5 in the playoffs, including 3-0 in the Super Bowl.

“Nobody will remember any of the things we’ve accomplished (on defense) if we don’t go to the Super Bowl,” linebacker James Farrior said. “That’s been our goal all along. You got to get to the big game. We’re just two wins away.”

Maybe they’ll have a nickname by then.

http://www.timesonline.com/articles/...3113562647.txt
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Old 01-04-2009, 11:44 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers defense harkens to Curtain days

Quote:
Over the past eight seasons, teams that led the NFL in scoring offense were 7-7 in postseason play, including 0-3 in the Super Bowl. Teams first in scoring defense were 11-5 in the playoffs, including 3-0 in the Super Bowl......

“I’ve heard a few of the nicknames that people have suggested,” cornerback Deshea Townsend said. “I wasn’t crazy about most of them. But to tell you the truth, we don’t want a nickname. You can’t get a nickname until you win it all.
Well Deshea, I certainly hope we will soon earn the right to have a nickname....
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Old 01-04-2009, 11:46 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers defense harkens to Curtain days

we need to take care of business ONE week at a time....
play ourr kind of defense.

If we do that....NO one can stop us.
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Old 01-04-2009, 12:09 PM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers defense harkens to Curtain days

Win the whole thing and then we can talk about nicknames and where this defense ranks compared to other great ones.
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