Nine of the 22 Steelers’ starters were here in 2005 when Pittsburgh became the first team to win the Super Bowl as a No. 6 seed in the playoffs.
A number of other key players from the team that won three-straight road games before beating Seattle in the Super Bowl are still here, including Hines Ward, Larry Foote and Bryant McFadden.
But as the Steelers try to become the fourth team since 2005 to win the Super Bowl as a wild-card team they are aware that history won’t block Von Miller in Denver, tackle Ray Rice in Baltimore or cover Rob Gronkowski in New England.
“This is a new team and a new year,” said tight end Heath Miller, who was a rookie on the team that won its final eighth games in 2005, with six of those victories coming away from Heinz Field. “I am sure it will be good stuff for you guys to write about this week. It has no bearing on what is going to happen this weekend.”
And the only way the Steelers will play again at Heinz Field this season is if they advance to the AFC title game as the No. 5 seed and the sixth-seeded Bengals also make it that far.
A lasting Kardashian marriage is a safer bet than that scenario playing out.
There is value to what the Steelers accomplished in 2005, going on the road in the playoffs and winning, but James Farrior acknowledged it is limited.
“The only comforting thing is that we’ve done it before,” the Steelers’ defensive captain said. “That could help us in the locker room. I don’t know if it’s going to help us on the field.”
What would help the Steelers is if they do a better job of running the ball and stopping the run on the road than they did during the regular season.
The Steelers averaged 137.9 rushing yards at home this season and 100 away from Heinz Field. They gave up an average of 88.3 rushing yards at home, but that number swelled to 111.4 in road games.
That discrepancy doesn’t preclude the Steelers from making a lengthy postseason run. But it may not bode well for them either.
“I have faith in this group,” left tackle Max Starks said, “that we can be dominating whether we are at home or on the road.”
We’ll find out soon enough.
— Scott Brown