The Pittsburgh Steelers began the 2012 NFL regular season in their usual seat at the head of the table. By the end, they were left with nothing but scraps of cartilage and broken bones on the floor.
It taught veteran linebacker Larry Foote lessons he already knew. Be grateful when things are going good. Never settle for good enough. Good doesn't stay good on its own. An inch is all that separates Good from Bad.
“We got humbled last year. We watched everybody in the playoffs, watched the team east of us (the Ravens) win the whole thing. So what we’re smelling like, we don’t prefer to smell it.”
Foote knows the pain of watching a rival gorging on the riches you've become accustomed to only intensifies the pangs of starvation when you fail to punch your own meal ticket.
“Couple plays here and there, we could have been easily 12-4, but that’s how the game goes, you know? It’s truly a game of inches, and it’s a game of inches when it comes to your standing and the seeds. So you’ve got to finish them close games, and find a way to get into the playoffs.”
A single solitary inch may not seem like much in the present, but they add up in a hurry; and before you know it, your team is 8-8 and spending the winter on the wrong side of a television screen.
Foote is not the only player who is seeking to satisfy an appetite in 2013, and their hunger is being passed on to a younger generation preparing to carry the franchise into the future.
“You can’t make it in this league if you’re not hungry. It’s too demanding every single day. You’ve got to be consistent year in and year out, so if you don’t have that mentality that I have, you won’t make it to 12 [years in the league].”
The Steelers will continue to work to take back their seat throughout training camp straight into the season, and indulge in the fruits of their labors when the work is finally done.
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