Steelers relish underdog status
It doesn’t make much sense to the Steelers, either.
But here is Pittsburgh, fresh off its 24-19 win over the New York Jets in the AFC Championship on Sunday night, installed by the Las Vegas oddsmakers as about a three-point underdog against Green Bay (13-6), the NFC’s No. 6 seed.
“I kind of don’t understand what everybody sees that we don’t see,” Steelers defensive back Ike Taylor said.
For a team that wasn’t picked my many to win its division, told it would get off to a rocky start without its suspended quarterback for the first four games and fought through it all to get to the franchise’s record-tying eighth Super Bowl, being the underdog is a role the Steelers are eager to embrace.
“I think we do our best when we’re underdogs,” Steelers defensive lineman Chris Hoke said.
Maybe Hoke is on to something. The franchise’s most recent run of championships began when it slipped into the playoffs as a No. 6 seed, upset three teams with better records on the road and beat the NFC’s top seed, Seattle, in the Super Bowl.
Nineteen players from that team are on this roster in a season in which it played its first four games with a third-, and then a fourth-string quarterback.
Ben Roethlisberger was suspended by the league until Week 5, and backup Byron Leftwich sustained a knee sprain during the preseason. That meant Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch quarterbacked the Steelers to a surprising 3-1 start. Four months later, they’re packing their bags for Dallas.
“We like to go into every game as underdogs,” receiver Mike Wallace said.