Still Room To Grow

You've heard the Steelers described as many things. Troy Polamalu came up with a new one this week: "obedient."

Pittsburgh -- You've heard the Steelers described as many things. Troy Polamalu came up with a new one this week: "obedient."

That's a characteristic that doesn't normally leap off the vide screen or get bandied about on SportsCenter or the NFL Network. But Polamalu is convinced it's what helps define a team that's made it to the Super Bowl three times in the last six seasons.

"I think we have an incredibly humble team," Polamalu assessed. "We have an incredibly obedient team. We have as much of a family as you could ever have here in this locker room.

"I think those are things that I feel could be a huge difference." Schematically, Polamalu also cites the presence of offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, play-callers Polamalu considers "two of the best coordinators in the NFL," as difference-makers in Pittsburgh.

But he's also a big believer in intangibles such as obedience.

"A lot of teams, for example, when the coach says, ‘We're going to go full pads today,' you'll just hear a lot of moans and groans or stuff like that," Polamalu said. "We'll actually be enthusiastic about it, just try to make the best out of any situation.

"Also, you don't ever have guys just kind of doing their own thing, either. Everybody buys into the program.

"Another really awesome characteristic of this team is you can't get away with anything. If you do something selfish or arrogant nobody in this locker room will let you get away with that.

"I think that's all part of our family relationship that we have."

So they've got that going for them, which is … nice.

They also have the aforementioned coordinating expertise.

They have their share of All-Pro caliber players, history, tradition and a maniacal fan base that helps to promote a home-field advantage even on the road.

But what the Steelers don't have, and what Polamalu will never assume, is an inside track to the Super Bowl.

Having climbed that mountain three times in the last six seasons, and having done so most recently only to slip and fail to reach the summit, Polamalu has a keen appreciation of just how difficult such a climb can become.

Optimism abounds and expectations are justifiably high this time around, but Polamalu is convinced none of that stuff will matter much once the ball is kicked off on Sunday in Baltimore.

"We'll see," was as far as he was willing to go in terms of a prediction. "I've honestly been in (training) camps and said, ‘We can do it this year,' and we've had a horrible year. And there have been camps (when he felt), ‘Man, this is going to be a tough road for us. We don't have as much talent as we've had in the past.' And we've just steamrolled everybody.

"I try not to feel anything any more."

The Steelers' individual and collective humility demands such an approach.

But their team obedience suggests they'll willingly embrace whatever it is that's asked of them along the way.

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