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Old 02-03-2009, 08:06 PM   #1
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Default Steelers challenge Patriots for supremacy

Steelers challenge Patriots for supremacy
Duel for decade
By Ron Borges | Tuesday, February 3, 2009 | http://www.bostonherald.com | N.E.
http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/f...ome&position=1

TAMPA - The Pittsburgh Steelers’ thrilling, last-minute victory against the Arizona Cardinals Sunday night in Super Bowl XLIII opened up a new debate for next season, the final year in the first decade of the new millenium.

After the decade opened, the Patriots [team stats] quickly became a dynasty and, in the opinion of many, a team that had done something in the salary cap era that would not be duplicated. With a year to go, the Steelers now have the opportunity to match the Pats’ three Super Bowl championships and re-open what had appeared to be a closed debate - who is the best pro football organization of the new century?

If the Steelers can repeat, and that remains a big if, they will have won three Super Bowl titles since the dawning of the new century. Same as the Patriots. They will have won two in a row. Same as the Patriots. The only thing the Patriots would hold over them is that they won their three in four years and under one coach, Bill Belichick.

But that would leave little else to separate the two, and the debate about which team is superior would be left in a muddle. The Patriots could argue they reached the Super Bowl four times in seven years, but if they do they’d have to also explain away the fact they besmirched a nearly historic season by losing to the underdog New York Giants and NRA member Plaxico Burress in Super Bowl XLII, ruining a perfect record but helping some kids in Central America, who received boxloads of free T-shirts proclaiming the greatness of the 19-0 team that wasn’t.

Asked about the possibility of repeating yesterday, only hours after he’d seen his team blow a 13-point lead and then score the winning touchdown with 35 seconds to play, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was typically circumspect about a historic battle with the Patriots next season.

“For us, for me, and the thing I’m going to sell to our football team is that we are not attempting to repeat,” Tomlin insisted. “That special group of men in that locker room last night at the end of that game - that’s gone forever. There will be a new 53-man (roster). A lot of the faces will be the same, but nothing stays the same in this game.

“A few will come and go. Those who remain, the roles will change. Some will ascend, some will descend. That’s the nature of today’s NFL. Our focus will be about being the one at the end of the season and we are no different than anybody else in that regard. I think repeating and defending Super Bowl champions in today’s NFL is somewhat of a misnomer. When I walk down the hallway and look at the championships of the Steelers from the ’70s, it’s the same pictures and same positions in those photos in terms of the Steel Curtain and so forth. That’s not the reality of today’s NFL, to be quite honest with you.

“We are going to roll up our sleeves at the appropriate time and start with a new group of men - hopefully a lot of them will be the same - and go about our business of trying to compete in ’09. You won’t hear me say words like repeat or defending because it will be brand new. This group will always be special to me, but sometime soon, that group will assume its place with others in history. It will be just that - history.”

Belichick has taken much the same approach with the Patriots, winning three times with a core led by quarterback Tom Brady [stats] and defensive players Richard Seymour [stats] and Tedy Bruschi [stats], but the cast has changed markedly during the years. Now Brady, the bedrock of all Belichick has achieved, remains a question mark with dueling camps claiming his knee is either ahead of or behind schedule (something impossible even for Tom Terrific) and will or won’t be ready when next season opens.

Unable to reach the playoffs without him a year after a record-setting 18-1 campaign, Brady’s importance is beyond debate. The same is true of the need to shore up a secondary that has yet to adequately replace Ty Law, let alone Asante Samuel [stats].

The Patriots have been portrayed as the model franchise of the salary cap era, but now lurking over their shoulder stand the mighty Steelers.

“The issue has been, and hopefully will continue to be, winning in this game indefinitely for the Pittsburgh Steelers,” Mr. I’m Not Talking To My Team About Repeating said. “That’s where the focus is.”

Thought so, which is what will make 2009 a particularly interesting season.
Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/f...icleid=1149651
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:08 PM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers challenge Patriots for supremacy

What challenge? They haven't won dick in almost five years now and we have won 2 of the last 4 SBs.
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:17 PM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers challenge Patriots for supremacy

with another Super Bowl victory next year, Stillers > Patriots *
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:45 PM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers challenge Patriots for supremacy

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What challenge? They haven't won dick in almost five years now and we have won 2 of the last 4 SBs.
Don't cry for us.
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:53 PM   #5
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Don't cry for us.
We can't cry for you - our eyes are too busy admiring SIX Lombardi trophies.
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:54 PM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers challenge Patriots for supremacy

Who really cares...Lets just go about our business...Forget the Patriots
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:58 PM   #7
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Who really cares...Lets just go about our business...Forget the Patriots

exactly as soon as you start watching your rival you lose sight of you goal
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:58 PM   #8
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Who really cares...Lets just go about our business...Forget the Patriots
Agreed. We'll worry about the "challenge" if they actually make it to the playoffs with us next year!
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:59 PM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers challenge Patriots for supremacy

it would be a fitting end to the decade if the Steelers can beat the Pats in the AFC title game next year to go on and win in Miami and make it 3 for the decade.
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Old 02-03-2009, 09:00 PM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers challenge Patriots for supremacy

IMHO, Spygate will forever taint those three Lombardi trophies that the Patriots* have.
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