Steelers' WR Ward discusses guarding against Super Bowl 'hangover'
July 18, 2:34 AM
Pittsburgh Steelers Examiner
After starting off the 2006 season with a 28-17 thrilling victory over the Miami Dolphins, the Super Bowl XL defending champion Steelers thought they were well on their way to another title.
That didn’t come for two years.
The Steelers went on to lose six of their next seven games and finish the 2006-2007 season with an 8-8 record to become the first team to miss the playoffs after winning a championship since the 2002 Buccaneers.
Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward believes his team will be much better prepared for it this time around, after winning Super Bowl XLIII in February.
“I think a lot of those guys we have on our team, we had on our team that won super bowl 40 and we experienced that kind of hangover that following year”, Ward said during an interview on Mike and Mike in the Morning on ESPN Radio.
“Coach (Mike) Tomlin put in the mindset of us not trying to repeat, just going out and doing the little things. What happened last year is what happened last year, it’s always a new year”.
“Luckily for us, we got our main nucleus of guys still in tact.”
Ward is right about that.
20 of the 22 starters on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball return this year. Invaluable to a super bowl team in an era which sees many players leave because of the salary cap.
“For me, I’ll put the (super bowl) ring up and not wear it around”, Ward said.
“It’s a great honor, but after the espy’s and all that stuff is over with, I think its time to get back and everybody’s starting from square one.”
If the Steelers do suffer the dreaded super bowl 'hangover', the majority of the responsibility will fall on third-year coach Mike Tomlin. Ward said he expects Tomlin to be calm and cool like always, and if you don’t follow his lead you could end up on the… news?
“He does what he calls the Tomlin news. It’s not the local news paper, it’s the news within”, Ward said.
“He likes to handle his business within house. If a player is late, he’s going to put him on the board and let him know he’s late, if you mess up, jump off sides you will be on the Tomlin news. Not really punishment but more be held accountable for your actions and it’s right there in front of the whole team that you’re letting them down.”