'We're All One'

Mike Prisuta remembers when the Steelers used to chase the ghost of the old dynasty. But those from the dynasty prefer to call it one big family of champions these days.

Brett Keisel stood at the foot of the podium amid the din at Heinz Field just a few feet away from where Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier were helping to celebrate the Steelers' latest AFC Championship.

The difference between Keisel, who had just earned a shot at his third Super Bowl ring, and a couple of the franchise's four-ringed alumni, seemed just about right.

"You know, we're just trying to win No. 7," Keisel said, "get to Seventh Heaven, that's all."

And that about sums things up as the Steelers' countdown to Dallas continues.

It isn't so much about the potential Team of the 2000s pulling to within a Super Bowl championship of matching the Team of the 1970s; it's about another one for the Steelers, period.

Whether a particular player is going for his first ring or came up just short of one for the thumb isn't the point.

What matters to these guys is the franchise.

"We're all the same history, all the same family," Harris said.

"This is just an extension, we just keep it going. I feel like I'm a part of the six and hopefully part of the seven. It's not us and them; no, we're all one."

They are now, at least.

Hines Ward maintained it's been that way since Super Bowl XL.

"For so many years when I was playing early in my career I was tired of seeing the 1970s team come back for reunions," Ward said. "It seemed like they were coming back every year. "You just want to feel a part of that team, a part of the organization, because it was almost like ‘if we don't win a Super Bowl we're not a part of this organization because they won so many.' So to win two and now going on our way to see if we can win three, you feel a part of that Team of the 1970s and it's just great."

Art Rooney II sees similarities between the dynastic Steelers of the 1970s and the current bunch, which is perhaps one win away from relatively equal footing from an historical perspective, beyond having the logo on only one side of the helmet.

"We have a great core group of guys and I think that's what it takes," Rooney II said. "We had that in the 1970s. There's just a special group of veterans on this team. We've been able to add some young guys that made a difference. All the pieces came together."

As far as that special group of veterans from yesteryear is concerned, to borrow a mangled phrase from Bill Cowher, never have they been more prouder.

Ask Franco. "Just to be part of this, to be up here, that feeling of going to the Super Bowl once again is just incredible," he gushed. "It never gets old.

"This team, I mean, they fought back through so much this year. To go to the Super Bowl in Dallas ... wow."


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