The six-time Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers arrived in Dallas on Monday to begin their preparations in earnest for Super Bowl XLV. On Monday, after checking into their hotel, the Steelers conducted their first of several press conferences of the week. I’ll be in Dallas as of Tuesday night, and will do my best to supplement the outstanding job the press does with some unique coverage of my own. For now, let’s continue with our review of what various members of the Steelers had to say during their Monday press conference. Next up: Hines Ward.
Other Monday Press Conference Transcriptions:
- Brett Keisel (on SB Nation Pittsburgh)
- James Farrior (on SB Nation Pittsburgh)
- Mike Tomlin (on BTSC)
- LaMarr Woodley (on BTSC)
QUOTES FROM PITTSBURGH STEELERS PRESS CONFERENCE
WIDE RECEIVER HINES WARD
(On the number one thing that they coach the younger players about)
"You know, just what to expect. You get all the gifts sitting in the room. I think a lot of guys kind of over packed, really not knowing. They were just excited to be here; for a lot of guys, some anxiety. When you get here, you get the police escort and the helicopter following you and all the guys have the cameras and whatnot. It's still fun to see the younger guys and also fun to see the veteran guys. I still enjoy it."
(On the irony of going for their seventh Super Bowl in Cowboys Stadium)
"It is kind of ironic. The two organizations that have had their wars over the years, their battles over the years. For us to be playing in Dallas' stadium for a chance to win the Super Bowl is kind of ironic, but it would be a great thing to do."
(On his thoughts regarding the offensive linemen wearing Flozell Adams Michigan State jerseys on the plane)
"It's awesome. For a guy who spent his whole career here in Dallas, that's just the respect involved. There are always a lot of storylines on our team, but Flo game to our team with an opportunity to try and play in a Super Bowl. Now he'll get that opportunity and hopefully we can win it for him."
(On the Packers being named the favorites to win the Super Bowl)
"We like to play as the underdog-as long as we keep winning. We know they have a great team. You just have to be good on that particular day. Whatever team does that is going to win the Super Bowl."
(On what LB James Farrior gives the team that is not seen on the field)
"He's the heart and soul, our emotional leader. We have a bunch of leaders, but James comes around each and every Sunday and he's a true professional. He works hard at it. He teaches the other guys. He's still out there making plays for our team. James Farrior is kind of the unsung hero of our linebacking crew. You have James and Wood (LaMarr Woodley) on the side and Lawrence Timmons is an emerging superstar. Right there, every time we look at defensive plays, you're always seeing James right there making plays. I love the guy."
(On what the most powerful thing Farrior has said pregame)
"He's just a straight shooter. He's always just saying we have to be the most physical team. He's always challenging everybody and he justifies that each and every Sunday he steps on the field. You're looking at this guy making some crazy plays play after play after play. After 14 years in the league, he can still play at a high level like he's doing. We're happy for him. He's our superstar."
(On how much of this team is Tomlin's team than two years ago)
"I think this team is kind of different because of all the adversity that we had to go through. Not having Ben (Roethlisberger) there for the first four games, having Troy (Polamalu) missing three games, Aaron Smith out, playing musical chairs with the offensive linemen, (Tomlin) has done an phenomenal job of just plugging in guys and putting them in and that's what the part of the 53-man roster is all about. It was a great job by Coach Tomlin and Kevin Colbert, our player personnel guy. Our hats are off to those guys. They are the reason we all put it together and are playing in the Super Bowl."
(On if it's ironic that Packers coach Mike McCarthy grew up in Pittsburgh and now is facing the Steelers)
"It's a story. I know he has relatives and they're kind of, ‘Will you be cheering for the Steelers or cheering for him?' It's a great storyline. It's kind of ironic for him having grown up in Pittsburgh and coaching in his first Super Bowl against a team he admired growing up as a child. It's a great storyline. It's one of the many stories of the Super Bowl."
(On having more Super Bowl experience than the Packers)
"We don't get caught up in the experience in that we have more experience. You still have to play the game. For us, it's a comfort level of being here before. A lot of guys have experienced this. At the end of the day, it doesn't give us an advantage or disadvantage. You still have to play the game. If you look at the Giants, a lot of their players, when they played the Patriots, had never played in the Super Bowl, but they went out there and got the job done. I just think the familiarity of what we go through in the Super Bowl, it just depends on how each person can take it. Some people can get overwhelmed by it. Some people are comfortable with it. I think we have a lot of guys who are comfortable with it."
(On how much motivation they get from being the underdog)
"That's not our motivation. Our motivation is to win the Lombardi Trophy, regardless of if we're underdogs or not underdogs. We're not a flashy team. Not having (Maurkice) Pouncey doesn't help either. You still have to play the game regardless of if you're underdogs. That's just part of the story and something to talk about. We as players, we don't make the odds. We still have to go out there and play the game. We've been the underdogs kind of for the past two weeks it seems like. No one picked us. Coach Cowher picked the Jets against us. It still doesn't matter to us. We still have to play the game."
(On if there is a silver lining to Ben Roethlisberger's suspension in that it helped team chemistry)
"That's what has made this year and this whole team so special. By not having Ben, a lot of people wrote us off and really didn't give us credit. Dennis Dixon came in and did a phenomenal job. Charlie Batch came in and did a phenomenal job. We found a way to be 3-1. We were maybe a minute and ten seconds away from starting out 4-0. Now you have Ben coming back and he had to prove everybody wrong, that he's a changed man. To have that hunger and desire and determination that he wants to go out and he wants to lead this team and have another great year, he's done that. I think by going through that it made us a closer team, because we had different guys stepping up. That's the reason that we're here."
(On if he thinks the League viewed the Steelers differently than the rest of the League in regards to fines and suspensions this year)
"I don't know. You just look at some of the fines that James Harrison had. They're good football plays. I think what the League is trying to do-it's a fine line between trying to protect the players and still playing this game, a violent game as it is. We don't get caught up in fines. Like I said, Coach Tomlin tells us to continue playing the way we've always played and move on from there. As players like James, myself and some of the other guys, we're going to continue to play like we've always been playing because if we don't, then we're cheating this team and cheating this organization by not going out there and playing our style of football."
(On why Ben Roethlisberger is not viewed in the same top echelon as other elite quarterbacks)
"It's the style of play. Just listening to the media, it's kind of ‘backyard' play. I thought to be determined as a great quarterback is all wins and losses and what you've done in the postseason and what you've done in the Super Bowl. I don't think anybody on that list can sit there and have just as many wins and Super Bowl wins other than (Tom) Brady that's out there. We love him. He's our great quarterback. That's a question you have to ask yourselves. Do you put Ben in the top echelon? It will always be a great debate about that. We as players, one thing I know about him is that he's a winner. Every time that guy is in my huddle, it's another great opportunity to win a ball game. I think the guy has what, ten postseason wins? There are a lot of guys that have a worse postseason record than he does and they're on that list above him. The guy has won two Super Bowls and is playing in his third. I don't know what more you want out of your starting quarterback."
(On how much he has thought about the possibility of retirement)
"I haven't thought about that. The question that occurred during the week was if this was going to be the last game because of the lockout. To be honest, I haven't put any thought into it. I know Jerome (Bettis) went out on top. He won the game. The way Coach Tomlin has been taking care of me and stuff like that, I feel good. This is probably the first year in the last three or four years that I'm finally healthy at this point and being able to play in the postseason. I feel good. Whenever that time comes, trust me, I'll let you guys know. I don't foresee this being my last game."
(On if Coach Tomlin has adjusted his coaching from their last Super Bowl team)
"Well it's his team now. When he first inherited the team, a lot of those players were under Coach Cowher and did things Coach Cowher's way. Mike Tomlin was very militant when he came here. He wanted to see who would challenge his authority and he got rid of some of the guys that questioned his authority a little bit. He kept the guys that followed what he wanted. Once he got a full year or two of the guys he knows and sees everyday at practice, then he let up a little bit. He gave guys off time and stuff like that. I think guys love playing for him. He's just a pro's coach and he stands up for everybody."
(On how often they talked about the Super Bowl during the preseason)
"I think that's everyone. I think that's everybody's goal when you start training camp. Every time we get the opportunity to walk into our organization, we see six Lombardi Trophies. Expectations are very high in Pittsburgh. I remember winning the second Super Bowl and the next day the question was if we were going to win it again next year. That's what expectations are. Every year, we go into training camp, that's all we preach about: the Super Bowl. Some teams can talk about the Super Bowl, but they're just pretenders. Every year, we have a legitimate chance of making it to the playoffs and we all know once you make the playoffs and make a run, you get the opportunity to go to the Super Bowl."