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Old 09-09-2009, 07:33 PM   #1
mesaSteeler
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Default Patriots, Steelers battle for 'Team of Decade' title

Patriots, Steelers battle for 'Team of Decade' title
by Alex Marvez
http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/1...ecade%27-title

Alex Marvez is a Senior NFL Writer for FOXSports.com. He's covered the NFL for 14 seasons as a beat writer and is the president of the Pro Football Writers of America.

The on-field skirmishes between Rodney Harrison and Jerome Bettis are finished.

But both retired stars will gladly engage in a war or words when asked about one of the NFL's hottest topics entering the 2009 season: Should New England or Pittsburgh be crowned the unofficial "Team of the Decade" if the Steelers repeat as Super Bowl champions?

"Tell him hands down it's the Patriots," Harrison boasted in a telephone interview.

Countered a laughing Bettis: "Being brainwashed in the (Bill) Belichick system, you expect him to say that."

Although such ribbing is good-natured, the strong feelings both have about their former teams is understandable. Harrison was a standout Patriots safety and leader on two of the franchise's three championship squads this decade. Bettis the NFL's fifth all-time leading rusher played 10 of his 13 NFL seasons in Pittsburgh. He also was a key cog in the ground attack that helped the 2005 Steelers win Super Bowl XL before retiring.

Bettis acknowledges Pittsburgh must match New England's three Super Bowl titles since 2000 to make a legitimate "Team of the Decade" boast. If that happens, Harrison and Bettis both have strong arguments.

New England has a better overall record in the past nine years. The Patriots have an NFL-best mark of 102-42 in the regular season and 14-3 in the playoffs, including victories over Pittsburgh in the 2001 and 2004 AFC title games. The Steelers are 94-49-1 and 10-4 respectively. New England's six division titles also edge Pittsburgh's five in that span.

Until February 2008, New England was considered a "Team of the Decade" shoo-in like predecessors Dallas (1990s), San Francisco (1980s) and Pittsburgh (1970s) even after the Spygate controversy. The 2007 Patriots became the first team to enter a Super Bowl with an 18-0 record since the NFL adopted a 16-game regular-season schedule in 1978. And in its championship seasons of 2003 and 2004, New England strung together a league-record 21-game winning streak that ended at the hands of you guessed it Pittsburgh.

"To accomplish two things that have never been done before speaks volumes," said Harrison, who played with New England from 2003 to 2008 after spending his first nine seasons in San Diego.

But in a "what-have-you-done-for-me-lately" sports culture, the Steelers are starting to nudge New England from the spotlight. New England's hopes for a perfect 2007 campaign were dashed when the Patriots were upset by the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII. By missing the playoffs last year despite an 11-5 record, New England's streak without another Lombardi Trophy reached four seasons.

Pittsburgh has won two NFL titles in that span, including last year's nail-biter victory over Arizona in Super Bowl XLIII.

"To be the team of the decade, you've got to be complete from start to finish," Bettis said.

There are common threads between the Steelers and Patriots besides winning. Each has big-time quarterbacks (New England's Tom Brady and Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger). Both franchises also thrived under likely Hall of Fame coaches in Belichick and Bill Cowher. Belichick rebuilt New England from a 5-11 squad in his first season in 2000 to a Super Bowl winner the following year. Cowher coached the Steelers from 1992 to 2006 before retiring and handing the reins to Mike Tomlin. At age 36, Tomlin became the youngest coach to ever win a Super Bowl title last season.

"I look at the Steelers as almost a replica of the Patriots," Harrison said. "They just win games. They're always thinking about team first. They're not flashy. They have talented guys but not a bunch of 'me' guys like T.O. (Buffalo wide receiver Terrell Owens) and Pacman (Jones)."

The Steelers and Patriots have enjoyed a decade of dominance through different methodologies. Pittsburgh's roster remains built almost entirely through the draft. Belichick who has final say over New England's personnel moves is much more active in trades and free-agent signings. Such maneuvering has netted players like Harrison, running back Corey Dillon, linebacker Junior Seau, and wide receivers Randy Moss and Wes Welker.

"Bill has brought in a bunch of guys that everyone considered old and washed up and gotten them to play together and win," said Harrison, who was 30 years old when released by San Diego in the 2003 offseason. "That formula is pretty special."

Not surprisingly, Harrison and Bettis rate New England and Pittsburgh as their respective AFC frontrunners entering this season. Harrison's rationale stems from extra motivation for New England combined with the pressure Pittsburgh will face as defending champion.

"Normally for teams coming off a Super Bowl win, a sense of complacency kicks in," Harrison said. "Everyone is gunning for you, so it's hard to replicate last season. Pittsburgh can't sneak up on anyone. They're going to get everyone's best game whether it's the best team or worst.

"The Patriots are hungry after missing the playoffs. A lot of guys are really upset over there. They had a good offseason by adding a lot of veterans. The thing they have to watch for is keeping Tom healthy."

Harrison also acknowledges New England has defensive questions after significant personnel upheaval since 2008. Harrison and linebacker Tedy Bruschi retired. Defensive end Richard Seymour a five-time Pro Bowl selection since being drafted by New England in 2001 was traded Sunday to Oakland. Mike Vrabel was dealt to Kansas City in February and fellow linebacker Junior Seau wasn't re-signed. Those five players combined had 68 NFL seasons of experience as well as exhaustive knowledge of New England's complex defense that Belichick now has to try and replace.

"Is there a leadership void? Yes," Harrison admits. "Of course they will be missed. But there's a lot of talent and other leadership on this team. The young guys are going to have to step up."

Pittsburgh doesn't have that concern. The Steelers enter Thursday night's season-opener against visiting Tennessee with 10 of 11 starters returning from the NFL's top-ranked defense in 2008.

"The Patriots' defense is going to be good, but it's not as dominant as the Steelers'," Bettis said. "Defense wins championships."

So do the Steelers and Patriots. At least that's something Bettis and Harrison can agree upon.

(The stinking New England scum CHEATED their way to Superbowls. They are epitome of corruption. They are not the team of any decade. I have more respect for the Clowns or the Ratbirds than I do for the reeking Cheatriots. By the way there is a poll with the article on which team is the team of the decade and the evil filth are winning. Use the URL with article to vote. - mesa)
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Old 09-09-2009, 09:02 PM   #2
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Default Re: Patriots, Steelers battle for 'Team of Decade' title

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Originally Posted by mesaSteeler View Post
...(The stinking New England scum CHEATED their way to Superbowls. They are epitome of corruption. They are not the team of any decade. I have more respect for the Clowns or the Ratbirds than I do for the reeking Cheatriots. By the way there is a poll with the article on which team is the team of the decade and the evil filth are winning. Use the URL with article to vote. - mesa)
Cheating a-holes can rot in hell. They've ruined everything 4 other 31 teams & the whole league. When it comes 2 respect I'd take the Browns & the Bengals over cheating profanityfilterprofanityfilterprofanityfilterprofa nityfilterprofanityfilterprofanityfilters as they don't cheat. There is NOTHING 2 debate over this subject.
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Old 09-09-2009, 09:10 PM   #3
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Default Re: Patriots, Steelers battle for 'Team of Decade' title

If you have to cheat your way to a Super Bowl championship, then you shouldn't even be discussed in any "Team of the Decade" discussion. End of story.
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Old 09-09-2009, 09:13 PM   #4
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Default Re: Patriots, Steelers battle for 'Team of Decade' title

If the Steelers win their seventh Super Bowl after this season, it's theirs.

3-0 vs 4-1. Team of a Decade doesn't lose when they get there, especially a monumental choke job like the Pats had against the Giants.

Also, the Steelers didn't cheat their way to Super Bowls, unlike the Patriots.
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Old 09-09-2009, 09:18 PM   #5
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Default Re: Patriots, Steelers battle for 'Team of Decade' title

Only a bozo from fixed news could write such B.S. The cheatriots have 0 legitimate championships.



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Old 09-09-2009, 09:19 PM   #6
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Default Re: Patriots, Steelers battle for 'Team of Decade' title

The Cheats* can't smell where the Steelers shit last in addition to them cheating their way to a couple of Lombardis, so that's an easy decision. My gut tells me that these Steelers will win a 7th Lombardi be it this season or next season and the Splats* will be watching the Super Bowl where they've watched it the last couple of seasons - from their sofas.
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Old 09-09-2009, 09:23 PM   #7
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Default Re: Patriots, Steelers battle for 'Team of Decade' title

Who cares.

We play for Lombardi's ... not for epitaphs.

All I care about is who wins THIS year ... head-to-head.

But that ain't even gonna happen because ... the Pastriots won't even be winning their division again.
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Old 09-09-2009, 09:25 PM   #8
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Default Re: Patriots, Steelers battle for 'Team of Decade' title

I don't see how the Pats are even in this race. THEY CHEATED. They Steelers didn't cheat and they win games. The Cheatriots are a joke and I have no respect for that entire franchise and ownership. Not just being a homer, but the Steelers take this hands down because they just win, no if or buts!
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Old 09-09-2009, 09:31 PM   #9
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Default Re: Patriots, Steelers battle for 'Team of Decade' title

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Originally Posted by SteelersMongol View Post
Cheating a-holes can rot in hell. They've ruined everything 4 other 31 teams & the whole league. When it comes 2 respect I'd take the Browns & the Bengals over cheating profanityfilterprofanityfilterprofanityfilterprofa nityfilterprofanityfilterprofanityfilters as they don't cheat. There is NOTHING 2 debate over this subject.
Black and Gold passion from Mongolia. I freekin LOVE IT!!!

Seriously people. Those cheating bastards won 3 SBs by 3 points each. The margin of cheating. Every one of those games was in doubt and two were won by the kicker. We lost the 2001 AFCCG by special teams. They cheated us out of the 2004 AFCCG because, as Hines said, they knew what was coming on both sides of the ball.

I do, in fact, have more respect for the stains and the bungholes. And I don't respect them at all.

Ask yourself this. If the cheats had been in that slugfest we remember as the 2008 AFCCG, who would have won it? We would have beaten them senseless. As it was, we concussed three rats out of that game.
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Old 09-09-2009, 09:45 PM   #10
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Default Re: Patriots, Steelers battle for 'Team of Decade' title

Imagine if we hadn't gotten robbed of the 2001 game...the 2004 game I'd love to jump on the bandwagon saying that their cheating was the cause, but I don't know, we got rocked that game, its too easy of an excuse, don't want to get lazy.

But yeah, no question about it; if the Steelers repeat they win it because they're not tainted by controversy. Also, another major IF here but its possible, if they go completely undefeated then no one will doubt it. Of course I doubt it will happen. The Pats got what they deserved for running up the score and trying to be glory hogs going for records. We have the only record that really counts - most Superbowl wins!

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If the Steelers win their seventh Super Bowl after this season, it's theirs.

3-0 vs 3-1. Team of a Decade doesn't lose when they get there, especially a monumental choke job like the Pats had against the Giants.

Also, the Steelers didn't cheat their way to Super Bowls, unlike the Patriots.
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