Steelers strive to be remembered

The Steelers are four-point favorites against the Seahawks in the Super Bowl, a role coach Bill Cowher wishes were reversed.

"Everybody in life pulls for the underdog," Cowher said. If you can play that role, why not? I don't know if there is a favorite or an underdog. When you get to the Super Bowl, you have two football teams that earned the right to be there. You work hard to travel this path. If you're not able to finish the deal you'll be forgotten."

The Steelers have thrived on their underdog role the past two weeks and many have embraced the idea that it's them against the world. Actually, they were 3-point favorites against Cincinnati before they were 10-point underdogs to Indianapolis and 3-point underdogs to Denver.

Cowher went so far as to say his Super Bowl team is not "great."

"We aren't suddenly this great team that's the best team in football," Cowher said. "We aren't. We haven't been." They were, he reminded everyone, 7-5 at one time and had to win their final four games just to make the playoffs as a Wild Card team."

"We're no different, it's the same group of guys who are in there," Cowher said. "You can't forget how you created the opportunity to get to this point. I'm going to make sure they understand that. We've done nothing, nothing at all. We've created a golden opportunity."

Pittsburgh has not won a Super Bowl in 26 years, not since its fourth in six years in January 1980. They made Super Bowl XXX following the 1995 season but lost to Dallas 27-17, a game that wasn't decided until a late Neil O'Donnell interception set up a Cowboys touchdown.

The Steelers have had some "golden" opportunities since then. They've lost three AFC Championship Games at home since January 1998 and Cowher's legacy so far has been one of a great regular season coach but one who has not won the big one. Losing those three AFC title games after losing in the Super Bowl makes a victory Feb. 5 more urgent for the Steelers coach of 14 years.

"The longer you stay in it the more you cherish it," said Cowher, 48. "You go early, that was my fourth year, you don't think about it. You realize how hard it is to get back there."

"We'll cherish it. We'll enjoy it, but like I said before, the most important thing is to not lose sight of what you're trying to do. That's an opportunity to win a championship."

Only one player on the Steelers' 53-man roster has ever been in a Super Bowl, cornerback Willie Williams, who was there 10 years ago and left as a free agent to play for another team -- the Seattle Seahawks.

"Getting there is one thing," Cowher said, "but it's not so much personal as it is for this organization, for these players and some of the guys that have been through some of the tough losses in some of the AFC Championship Games."

Pittsburgh can become the first team from the AFC to win five Super Bowls and match the number of victories for Dallas and San Francisco.

"You have a chance to put your name up there with some of the great teams," Cowher said. "That's the opportunity that you're selling to your players. They don't remember who lost the game. They remember who won the game."


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