Pittsburgh Steelers: Heart of A Champion

TJ JenkinsAnalyst IApril 21, 2009

PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 28:  Hines Ward #86 of the Pittsburgh Steelers outruns the tackle of D'Qwell Jackson #52 of the Cleveland Browns after a fourth quarter catch at Heinz Field December 28, 2008 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh won the game 31-0.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

So, the Pittsburgh Steelers just won yet another Super Bowl, so does that mean that they’re going to take a few months off and get out of shape? I don’t think so.

A great Greek philosopher named Aristotle once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.”

The Pittsburgh Steelers embody this quote to the letter. That’s not taking away anything from the other 31 teams in the NFL; they all put in the hours in the weight room and on the practice field as well. But the Pittsburgh Steelers have had an offseason that’s been shorter than every team in the league, sans the Arizona Cardinals.

Every report I’ve read has claimed that Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison was back in the weight room only two days after the Steelers' sixth Super Bowl win and that third string wide receiver Limas Sweed started his conditioning workouts two weeks after the big game.

Looking back at the Steelers Super Bowl win in Super Bowl XL and the season following, there was a definite let down for fans and players as the team finished the season at a mediocre 8-8. The aura in the locker room all but proves that this won’t be the case for the 2009 season.

Another motivating factor for the reigning champions has to be the fact that they could match the New England Patriots dynasty, which have won three times this decade. Or, if you’re like most fans and want to set lofty goals and expectations, you could allude to the fact that they technically have a shot to duplicate the four titles won by the Steeler greats of the past, in the 1970s.

I, however, am not going to go out on a limb and say that the team is going to win two more right now. Maybe next year I’ll get cocky and say something like that, you just never know.

The champs are returning what is essentially the same squad, minus starting cornerback Bryant McFadden (with the Arizona Cardinals) and former third string receiver Nate Washington (with the Tennessee Titans via free agency).

The two most vocal Steelers about the issue are two that are entering the final year of their contracts: Super Bowl XL MVP Hines Ward and massive nose tackle Casey Hampton. They’re both hungry to prove that they deserve another contract and I don’t see either of them getting extended this off-season, it’s just not the Pittsburgh way it seems. James Harrison was a special exception.

The players seem determined, with three of them coming off of season-ending injuries and practicing on Monday. Those players are Charlie Batch, Daniel Sepulveda and Rashard Mendenhall. Two of the three are going to be pivotal pieces in a Super Bowl run this season, with Batch likely not seeing much playing time.

The Steelers are, and always have been, built on a tradition of excellence. Coupled with the fact that their schedule is incredibly easy, as compared to last year's, the fact that they’ve had some players emerge in the past few seasons, and their history of draft success, the 2009 season is going to be a good one for Steelers fans everywhere.