As Usual, Steelers Winning Without The Glitz

Don't know how many interviews I've seen here this season where Ben Roethlisberger is talking about the team reflecting the hard-work attitude of its city.

When you think about it, it's true. I've been to Pittsburgh. It's old, worn-down in places. But for some reason, you don't see the warts of the city as much as you respect it for being a little old-fashioned and rough around the edges.

That's the Steelers team to a tee.

What is flashy about them? Nothing, really, other than Polamalu's hair.

They don't have a lot of superstar guys. You wouldn't call Roethlisberger a celebrity quarterback, as Bill Parcells used to say. Their top receiver isn't real fast, just tough as nails. And we're going to see how tough this week when Hines Ward returns from a sprained MCL injury.

Honestly, unless your nose is fixed on NFL news on a daily basis, you're probably not going to know a lot about guys like James Harrison, Nate Washington, Mewelde Moore or Ryan Clark.

They're not all superstars, but you wouldn't know that by watching them play.

The fact is that's the way the Steelers were back in the 70s, too. Look at the stats of guys like Lynn Swann and John Stallworth . . . you won't be blown away.

But they were the top players on SUPERSTAR teams, therefore, they are now Hall-of-Famers.

And there is nothing wrong with that. In a way, after watching this Cowboys team for the last few years, it's actually kind of refreshing.

Now for the record, I wouldn't mind seeing Arizona pull off the win on Sunday. However, all year long the Steelers have been just good enough. That's why judging this team can be somewhat deceiving.

You see them barely pull out a win here and need overtime to win there, or a late pick for a touchdown like they did to beat Dallas, and you can be duped into thinking the Steelers are just skating by.

But in reality, that's how they win. They know, at the end of the game, they are physically the tougher team and will prevail.

For the most part, it's true.

I can remember standing on that Heinz Field turf back in December, watching the Steelers march down the field for a game-tying touchdown. Now, the way the Cowboys had controlled the game, I honestly thought they would still find a way to win somehow.

Then it happened, on the jumbotron. Just before the ensuing kickoff of a tie game, the Steelers played a musical video to the Rocky theme, splicing in a few of the hardest hits I've ever seen by Steelers players. It was a great video, probably because it just so happens to be one of my favorite movies of all time.

But nonetheless, I'm watching this video and hearing the crowd just go crazy. I'm thinking to myself, 'how can you beat this?' I mean, you can possibly overcome the cold and the wind, and maybe this stifling Pittsburgh defense and its fans. But a Rocky video on top?

No way. And sure enough, moments later, there goes Deshea Townsend the other way with an interception to win the game.

OK, so the Steelers didn't just win the game because of a video. They win because of an attitude. They win because they believe they will.

They win because their franchise believes it will. The Steelers believe in what they're doing all the time. If an above-average player wants to test the free agent market, the Steelers let him walk. That's because they believe in the franchise first, then the players.

So as the Steelers take the field Sunday, primed to win yet another title, they'll probably get a huge play from some guy named Carey Davis or Gary Davis.

Even their best players aren't really star players - not yet anyway.

The way the Steelers won back in the 70s, or the way they are winning now. It begs the question: do superstar players make great teams, or do great teams make the superstar players?

In Pittsburgh, it seems to be the latter.

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