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BlitzburghRockCity
04-02-2008, 06:59 AM
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08093/869714-66.stm?cmpid=HBEHTML


Wednesday, April 02, 2008
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Fans of the AFC North can only hope the scramble for the 2008 division championship will be as entertaining as the scrapping that went on at breakfast yesterday among the teams' four coaches to predict a winner.

Mike Tomlin, coach of the defending champion Steelers, picked the Cleveland Browns to win it.

Browns coach Romeo Crennel had a good laugh at that one and said his team first must find a way to beat the Steelers before it can think of winning the division. The Browns have lost nine in a row to the Steelers -- six under Crennel -- and 15 of their past 16 meetings.

Pittsburgh native Marvin Lewis, the Cincinnati Bengals coach who got his start in the pros with the Steelers under Bill Cowher, said the Steelers are the team to beat.
Only Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh declined to join the fray, perhaps because this is his first turn as a head coach.

Quite logically, none of the four beat his breast and declared his own team as the favorite to win the AFC North.

"You have to like what Cleveland has done," Tomlin reasoned. "They finished strong last year and have a good football team, they have all the major components back. They signed [quarterback Derek] Anderson to a long-term deal. They fortified their defensive front, some acquisitions, some big men who can play.

"So, they're probably the favorites at this point."

But?

"But there's no question anybody's capable of winning this thing."

The Browns certainly have been the talk of the division since the end of last season for all the moves they made. They traded a second-round draft pick to Green Bay for defensive tackle Corey Williams and sent a third-round draft choice and former Duquesne University cornerback Leigh Bodden to Detroit for defensive tackle/end Shaun Rogers.

Cleveland also signed free-agent wide receiver Donte Stallworth from the New England Patriots.

The Browns tied the Steelers with a 10-6 record but lost the tiebreaker because Cleveland lost both games to them. The combination of the Browns' additions and the Steelers' losses in four of their final five games last season has many picking the Browns to win their first division title since the old Browns did it in 1989.

Handicappers at Bodog put the Steelers as favorites among North teams to win the AFC championship at 11-1. The Browns are slightly behind at 12-1 with the Bengals 20-1 and the Ravens 25-1.

"I still think the Steelers are the team to beat," said Lewis, giving the most complete divisional assessment of the four coaches. "They won the division last year. They won the division two of the last four years.

"I think Cleveland continues to improve and did some things this offseason that will continue to help them."

Among the reasons Lewis likes the Steelers is the play of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who earned a Pro Bowl berth last season, one year after his season of distress.

Roethlisberger was one reason the Browns made their two trades for defensive linemen, Crennel said.

"The second game against Pittsburgh the last two years, we've been ahead in those games with a good chance to win," Crennel said. "We just didn't get it done. Their quarterback made plays for them and he won the games for them basically. So, hopefully, we can neutralize him a little bit with some of the guys we added to the team and be able to get over the hump."

The past three North Division championships were won by the Steelers, Ravens (2006) and Bengals (2005, although the Steelers went on to win the Super Bowl as a wild-card playoff team).

The Steelers remain the only team in the division to win a playoff game since Baltimore last did so in 2001. Cincinnati last won a playoff game in 1990 and Cleveland in '89.

And as for Tomlin picking the Browns this time around?

"Well of course that is what Mike would say," Crennel said. "I don't begrudge him saying that, and if I were in his position, I would say that also. So that's why I'm telling you [the Steelers] are the favorite and we have to catch [them] because we haven't beaten Pittsburgh, and until we beat Pittsburgh we probably won't win the division."


It's always funny to see who the rival coaches will pick to win the division each year at these meetings...I would love it to see a coach actually pick his own team to win just to see what everyone would say :lol:

ItAintEasyBeingPeazy
04-02-2008, 09:55 AM
Good Read. It's funny how these guys are nice and civil during the offseason, and come September they'll be out for blood.Gotta love it.
It does seem like the Brownies are gearing up for a serious push this year..may have our hands full with those knuckleheads, that is if Derek Anderson plays like he did last year.

DIESELMAN
04-02-2008, 10:12 AM
The path to the AFC North Crown will always go through Pittsburgh. We are the most consistent team in the division, except for the occasional down year where one of the other 3 have a 1 year wonder season, we will always be the team to beat. :cope::cope::cope::cope::cope:

TEEMONT
04-02-2008, 12:48 PM
I don't understand why you wouldn't pick yourself to win. What kind of message does that send to your players? What kind of message does it send to your fans?

I know Tomlin is ****ing around and really expects to win it, but come on dude, let those nuts drop.

BlitzburghRockCity
04-02-2008, 12:50 PM
I don't think Cowher ever picked us to win either, I guess it's just a gentlemens agreement to pick another team and avoid any bulletin board material :dunno: :bluelol:

AZ_Steeler
04-02-2008, 12:51 PM
I know Tomlin isn't going to pick his team so he picked the next best, but you gotta wonder becasue the Browns have made some really good moves this of season. They were right there in both games against the Steelers last year so they are getting close.

But yes, the road should always go through the defending divisional champion until they are dethroned.

$teelersRule
04-02-2008, 01:42 PM
I know Tomlin isn't going to pick his team so he picked the next best, but you gotta wonder becasue the Browns have made some really good moves this of season. They were right there in both games against the Steelers last year so they are getting close.

But yes, the road should always go through the defending divisional champion until they are dethroned.

they were not right in there at all the first game the steelers blew them out, i think it was 34-7 or something like that.. that was before they promoted DA i will still take it though:yellowthumb:

Stlrs4Life
04-02-2008, 05:09 PM
So, they are all saying the politically correct things. Doesn't matter to me either way. Let's see who shows up during the season.

K Train
04-02-2008, 05:14 PM
i would just say....us

lol give them something to talk about

BlacknGold Bleeder
04-02-2008, 09:34 PM
Nice read but that's about it. We have the toughest schedule in the division and hopefully that don't drag us down, but we always seem to win the divisional matchups so who knows !! GO STEELERS !!!:tt02::cope::tt02::cope:

BlitzburghRockCity
04-03-2008, 09:25 AM
i would just say....us

lol give them something to talk about


Cowher did that after we won SBXL, at the celebration parade in Pittsburgh..remember they Who Dey We Dey chant he did? :lol: then we went onto the next season to split games with cincy and get swept by the Ratbirds :evilshake:

yinzer
04-03-2008, 12:59 PM
tomlin better stop messing around. he needs to be letting EVERYBODY know, press included, that WE ARE THE TEAM TO BEAT!! screw the clowns. a few moves in FA doesn't mean squat. the bottom line is, derek andersack is no ben roethlisberger.

SteelerSteve
04-29-2008, 10:56 PM
I like the respect that the other guys are giving Ben:yellowthumb: