Before this season even started, most people outside of Steeler Nation counted this football team out. Very few pundits picked the Steelers to win the division, much less win the AFC North.© 2011 Steelers Universe
They traded away Santonio Holmes. Ben Roethlisberger was suspended for six, and then just four games. Everyone thought at best the Steelers would go 2-2 in those first four games. Instead we went 3-1.
We lost our right tackle before the season even began. We were starting a rookie at center. Then we lost our left tackle for the season. The offensive line really wasn't very improved from last season when the Steelers missed the playoffs with a 9-7 record.
But look at us now. We went 12-4 during the regular season, won the AFC North and got the #2 seed in the playoffs.
Then we faced the Baltimore Ravens in the divisional round. All the talk was about Joe Flacco and his 4-2 (at that time) playoff record, all those games coming on the road. The Ravens defense was so "great". So many people figured the Ravens would win that game. But what happened? The Steelers punched them in the mouth and took their lunch money.
After that game, most people were saying the Steelers would lose to the Patriots. However, the next day the New York Jets beat the Patriots. Oh my! Now the Jets were coming to Pittsburgh for a chance to play in the Super Bowl.
While a lot of the media was picking the Steelers, there were plenty of people saying the Jets would win. Steelers haters, New York media, some other members of the media. The Jets beat the "mighty" Patriots, they beat the Steelers in the regular season. No way the Steelers would win. If the Patriots' offensive line couldn't protect Tom Brady, no way Ben Roethlisberger would be able to do anything, especially against the Jets secondary.
Ben's stats were not pretty. They often are not. However, he extended plays and got positive yardage on plays that easily could have gone for a loss. It's those hidden yards that don't show up in the box score. If not for those plays, the Steelers could have easily lost the game.
Now the Steelers head to Dallas, Texas to play the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV. I am sure a ton of people are going to pick the Packers to win the game. They have all the "sexy" players: Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews, Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, Charles Woodson. The media is going to gravitate towards them.
And you know what? That is fine with me. The Steelers thrive on being the underdog. Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward, Heath Miller, James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley (who has a sack in every playoff game of his career), Ziggy Hood. I would take this group of guys over anyone, including the Green Bay Packers.
So go ahead, pick against the Pittsburgh Steelers. They will dominate the line of scrimmage. They will stop the run. The offense will grind out the tough yards. You've been picking against them all season, and they have been proving you wrong.
Seven will be heaven!