- Will the Steelers quit, or will they continue to fight to the bitter end?
- This is uncharted territory for the Tomlin era.
- Steelers Nation is going to learn a lot in these next three weeks.
- Dermontti Dawson, Jerome Bettis, and Levon Kirkland fought to the end, but by the final game the list of guys who were mailing it in outnumbered those who were not.
2003 told a different tail. This Steelers team started off at 2-6 and ultimately finished at 6-10. A 6-10 record is nothing to be proud of, but that Pittsburgh Steelers squad contested every blade of grass until being eliminated at Baltimore in sudden death overtime in the season finale.
The difference in the reaction between 1998 & 1999 and 2003 revealed a lot about how Bill Cowher had grown as a coach and about how the Steelers had matured as an organization.
No one inside or outside Steelers Nation would ever question Bill Cowher’s ability to inspire his players. Yet that inspiration had a double edge. Over-confidence was Cowher’s Achilles Heal. When his teams came out flat, they came out flat. The 2003 season showed that Cowher had corrected that tendency.
Of course the Cowher-Donahoe feud, oft referenced here, also played a part in in the 1990’s. Football is a brutal support, and players are far less likely to lay it on the line in a “Playing for Pride” game when the Director of Football Operations is undercutting the head coach.
The Pittsburgh Steelers from 2003 to 2013
Mike Tomlin has already vowed to put a premium on winning during these final games of 2013. There will be no playing for draft position, no experimenting with young players for the sake of sake.
- No, Mike Tomlin will play to win, as he should.
Mike Tomlin’s approach is the right one to take. Ben Roethlisberger echoed similar sentiments after the Dolphins loss. So have several other members of the Steelers locker room. Steelers Nation can take Tomlin and Roethlisberger’s words at face value. As for the rest? Well, its very easy to say the words.
So the question remains, Mike Tomlin has vowed to fight to the end. Will is players follow him?
Yes, Steelers Nation will learn a lot in these next three weeks.
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