The Steelers won Super Bowls after the 2005 and 2008 seasons and 18 of their players have rings from each of them. A 19th, Antwaan Randle El, played a key role in their victory in Super Bowl XL in Detroit, then left as a free agent to sign with Washington, but returned this season.
By contrast, the only Packers player with a Super Bowl ring is John Kuhn — and he won it while on Pittsburgh's practice squad. Does Super Bowl experience matter much anyway?
The Steelers had not been to a Super Bowl in 10 years and had not won the game in 26 when they added their fifth Lombardi Trophy in XL. All that Super Bowl experience did little for the New England Patriots in XLII. And what was their recent experience in the game worth to the Indianapolis Colts when they lost to first-timer New Orleans last year? It didn't help the Rams, either, in XXXVI. And, of course, it didn't help the heavily favored Packers, who had their shot at back-to-back titles shot down by Denver in Super Bowl XXXII.
"We have some guys that have been there, but a lot of our key guys who have been making plays throughout the whole year really have never been to the Super Bowl," Steelers safety Ryan Clark said. "It's their first time. I am pretty sure that the guys will have lots of anxiety, can't sleep, putting too much effort into it. We just have to slow the tempo down and treat it like any other practice."
The others: linebacker James Harrison, wide receiver Hines Ward, linebacker James Farrior, cornerback Ike Taylor, defensive end Aaron Smith, nose tackles Casey Hampton and Chris Hoke, defensive end Brett Keisel, safety Troy Polamalu, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, tight end Heath Miller, offensive lineman Trai Essex, left guard Chris Kemoeatu, linebacker Larry Foote and cornerback Bryant McFadden.
"Man, it never gets old," Taylor said of having another berth in the Super Bowl. "I'm just blessed, this is my third trip in eight years."
Another player making his first trip is not so young. Tackle Flozell Adams has played 13 seasons and in his first 12 in Dallas, the Cowboys went 1-6 in the playoffs. Now he will get there with the Steelers — and play in the Cowboys' stadium.
"It could be Dallas, Pittsburgh — wherever the Super Bowl's going to be that's all that matters to me," Adams said. "As long as it's the Super Bowl, that's all I'm going for."
— Rookie Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey's status for Super Bowl XLV is in serious doubt due to what the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says is a broken bone in his left ankle along with ligament damage.
"We are definitely sad that he won't be able to be with us in the Super Bowl," left guard Chris Kemoeatu told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review after Wednesday's practice. "Definitely I feel bad for him. We just have to win it for him."
Pouncey has a cast on the ankle and hasn't been made available to the media. Doug Legursky would get the start against Green Bay.
— Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said if he coaches in 2011, it will be for the Steelers.
An ESPN report over the weekend indicated LeBeau would consider joining the staff of former Pittsburgh assistant Ken Whisenhunt in Arizona. The Cardinals fired Bill Davis after the season.
But the 73-year-old LeBeau said he will finish his career with the Steelers.
"I promise you, if I'm coaching, it will be the Pittsburgh Steelers," LeBeau told the NFL Network.
— Outrushing the New York Jets 135-1 in the first half of the AFC Championship Game was stunning to many, but not to Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton.
"That's what we do, man, we stop the run."
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