Coach Tomlin recently dismissed, as means for motivation, the sight of Titans running back LenDale White stomping on the Terrible Towel following the Titans' 31-14 victory over the Steelers last December in Nashville.
“What happened last year for us is in our rearview mirror. I talked quite frankly about that. What the '08 Steelers did last year is history.”
You bet your sweet patootie it’s “history!”
It’s now part of the long and most extraordinarily decorated “history” of the greatest professional football team on this planet!
As for last year’s blatant and deliberate desecration of Myron Cope’s beloved Terrible Towel? "I'm not getting into that," Tomlin said. "If that is a motivating factor for us as we prepare for this game, we've got big problems."
After being utterly humiliated on the football field by the Tennessee Titans in Week 16 last year, a game which secured home field advantage throughout the ensuing AFC playoffs to the Titans (and would have done the same for our Steelers), using a punkish and “in your face” stomping of a Steelers fan’s beloved game day trinket as motivation for his players would seem just a little bit light-efforted from my estimation.
There’s way more riding on this game than that!
There’s the importance of opening up the new season with a victory in front of some damn proud hometown fans who will be celebrating their Steelers recent championship with excessive fervor. While every game matters, the first home game sets the tone.
There’s the high expectations of success for a defending Super Bowl Champion who returns 19 of 22 starters to a roster just loaded with talent…and what is the measure of success? Well it’s not going to be considered a successful season unless these Pittsburgh Steelers defend their championship. That alone is the only acceptable measure of success for any serious NFL team, yet alone a defending champion.
There are the very real prospects of facing a Super Bowl “hangover” by losing this game and then going on the road over the next two weeks into hostile and hungry venues (Chicago and Cincinnati) where expectations are running high out of the gates for measurable success in 2009.
Follow those by coming back home in Week Four to face a San Diego Chargers team heavily favored to make a Super Bowl run in 2009. A loss in Week 1 would not sit very pretty for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
There’s the humiliation and ceaseless gloating that would fall hard upon the Steelers and their fans from an opening night prime time national audience who will be rooting hard to see the defending Super Bowl Champions go down hard on their home turf!
And then there’s the opponent themselves…the Tennessee Titans...the AFC’s winningest team from 2008…the team that played “lights out” football against the Black-n-Gold in Week 16 last season en route to a very convincing win, and in the process gaining nationally recognized media prominence as the “best team in the AFC” heading into last year’s postseason.
Oh, there's plenty riding on this game alright, Mr. Tomlin! You, sir, are absolutely right!
If THAT (the mere juvenile and tasteless stomping of a Terrible Towel last season) is a motivating factor for the Pittsburgh Steelers as they prepare for this football game, then indeed you've got big big problems.
As for the Tennessee Titans…they're the ones with the “big big problems!” For, it was the Tennessee Titans who desecrated Myron Cope’s legacy. And make no mistake about this, those who tread on “The Towel” are doomed!