The year was 1999 and the Bill Cowher had just finished an uninspiring 6-10 season. The Steelers offense was well non-existent and while the run defense was OK the pass defense was a major weak point. The special teams were nothing spectacular either. The year before the Steelers finished 7-9. It was the first time Bill Cowher had finished with consecutive losing seasons in his coaching career at Pittsburgh.
Many had wondered if Bill was the right coach for the Steelers. This being his 7th year as head coach and never delivering a Super Bowl ring for a organization that ranked tied for #2 at the present time, behind San Fransisco, for the most super bowl wins all time. The steelers had been to three AFC Championship Games and being favored in all three to only win one. That one win followed by a subsequent loss the the hated Dallas Cowboys with 'that guy' (his name has been forever banned from my memory) throwing two inexcusable interceptions that cost the Steelers their then record tying fifth super bowl win.
I remember thinking no matter what these are still my steelers. I love everything they represent and stand for and love how they play; even in defeat I feel like they are one of the best teams in the NFL. The best thing about the steelers is on the rare occasion that they do have a losing season you can still tell that they have the talent to turn it around to compete next year. You know that the team will be diligent in the draft to get younger, better, and faster.
The same can be said about the 2009 Steelers. No matter the cause of our recent downfall, I'm sure we all feel that this team will be able to bounce back in 2010. They have too much talent and now they have motivation to avenge the death of their 2009 season. There are a lot of things that will be determined between now and then. For example, do we extend Casey Hampton or try to trade up to get Suh of Nebraska. Sure we'd have to give half the draft away, but if you've seen this guy play he appears worth it. Or, do we keep Hampton and address the Safety/Defensive Back position. I feel the latter is more pressing. I never imagined this defense being this bad without Troy. Of course you expect a drop off, but these guys cleared the cliff. Troy is an all-time great but we need to be ready for when he goes out the game in case of injury as he has proven to be prone to. That is the only knock on his game.
I love these steelers and want the best for them. Just like when Cowher was coach, who had shown less than Tomlin has at this point in their coaching careers comparatively. There is no two ways about it. All this non-sense about Tomlin riding Cowher's coat-tails to a Super Bowl like John Gruden did to Dungy seriously missed the 2007 season. Tomlin had improved the passing defense and the special teams in 2008, something Cowher never did even with Coach Dad. Does ben have something to do with that? Yes but before you go too far, how many super bowls has Bill Bellicheat won without Tom Brady, how many has Dungy won without Peyton Manning? If Brett Farve doesn't play brilliantly in the first half of this season - Childress would be getting the pink slip right about now. The coach success is directly dependent on the success of the Quarterback. Even for the Baltimore team that won the Super Bowl team, they still needed the QB to not screw things up for the defense. One bad year following a Super Bowl win does not merits a firing. There are changes that need to be made that is for sure. But not at the head coach level, that is the last straw scenario.
So heres to the 2009 season we barely knew thee, and we will support and love our Steelers to the bitter end. I welcome the 2010 season where the steelers go on a revenge tour in the division and remind everyone this has and will always be our division. This team has way too much talent not to and giving the Steelers a good position in the draft is a death sentence especially in the first round. Ben, Hampton, Santonio, are all pro-bowl players who the steelers selected in the earlier portions of the first round. I expect nothing less this year whomever that may be. So get your terrible towels, your Steelers Jersey, and lets win 3 in a row so we can avoid Tomlin's first losing season.