Head Coach Mike Tomlin has continuously stated that this is an entirely new season.
"The thing I'm going to sell to our football team, we're not attempting to repeat. That special group of men that were in that locker room at the end of that game, that's gone forever. There will be 53 new men in there. A lot of the faces will be the same, but nothing stays the same in this game. Those that remain, the roles will change. Some will ascend, some will descend. "Our focus will be about being the one at the end of the season. I think repeating and defending Super Bowl championships in today's NFL is something of a misnomer" says Tomlin.
This should be the perfect attitude to take into the upcoming season. Teams will often fall into the trap of eyeing the prize instead of enjoying the journey; the Steelers will not allow this.
Going into the year it would be a let down to the fans if the team followed up with anything less than an AFC North title and another appearance in the AFC Championship game. Missing the playoffs is not an option.
Staying healthy will be a key in the Steelers advancement to the postseason. With a lot of rookies and unproven guys filling the back up roles, Pittsburgh may not be able to afford having a few guys behind the learning curve.
The Steelers always seem to have players ready to go and Mike Tomlin has proven to be a great coach who will get the best out of his players,so I would not worry about it too much.
If there is one thing you learn when you watch the Steelers, it's that they always have a guy ready to go whether it is Ben Roethlisberger, Willie Parker, Bryant McFadden, or Lawrence Timmons. All of these guys made a big splash when they first entered the line-up, and I have faith that the coaching staff will be able to do the same again this year.
Pittsburgh's veteran leadership will also be a huge key to keeping focus and not looking ahead. A lot of the guys now have two Super Bowl rings and with Big Ben and Ward leading the offense and Ike Taylor and James Harrison being the leaders on defense, there is a great nucleus.
The Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns appear to be in a rebuilding mode, so the Baltimore Ravens will be the biggest threat to derail the Pittsburgh hopes. Quarterback Joe Flacco will have another season under his belt and should be more comfortable when he faces the Steelers defense. Protection is always an issue in Pittsburgh and with the loss of Bryant McFadden, the secondary could be a minor concern.
As long as the Steelers buy in to what Tomlin is preaching, you won't hear the word repeat and Pittsburgh should sail to another AFC North Championship.
If you are looking for a monumental collapse or a Super Bowl hangover... look elsewhere, I don't see it happening here.