It’s been nearly six months, and yet the Steelers still feel the sting of defeat. Of course, I’m referring to last January, when the Tim Tebow-led Broncos stunned Pittsburgh during the wild card playoffs.
Looking back (begrudgingly, I’m sure), it’s a game that has stuck in the craw of several members of the black and gold, including linebackers LaMarr Woodley and Larry Foote.
“What gives you motivation is not playing in the Super Bowl, getting eliminated in the first round, losing to a team we had no business losing to,” linebacker Lamar Woodley told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “It’s a team we should have easily beat. That’s motivation, watching teams play the week after us.”
If you recall, the score was knotted at 23-23 when, during the first play of overtime, Tebow connected with receiver Demaryius Thomas, who took a simple slant 80 yards to glory. It was the defining moment of the Broncos’ Cinderella-like season, but an absolutely crushing blow to the heavily-favored Steelers.
“When you lose in that manner, the game sticks with you,” said Foote. “It’s going to stick with us forever.”
Fortunately for the downtrodden bunch, they won’t have to wait long to exact their revenge; both teams will meet in the opening Sunday Night Football contest this season. However, the Broncos have undergone a few changes, especially at quarterback, swapping out Tebow for some guy named Peyton Manning.
Even before these comments, it was shaping up to be a great matchup, with Manning orchestrating his brand of offense against Pittsburgh’s vaunted defense. Now, with the bulletin board freshly supplied, there’s no other game on the Week 1 slate that looks more appealing.
[Hat tip to NFL.com]
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