LATROBE, Pa. - It's been almost seven months since the Steelers walked off the field following their loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.
It's not something they need to be reminded about, not something they want to be reminded about. But it's something that is still with them. Something they haven't fully shaken off.
"You never want to come up short, especially being that close, one game away from the Super Bowl," said Artie Burns. "Nobody wants to have that feeling. That is motivating us for this season."
And that kind of motivation can be a good thing, it can be healthy. It keeps the team all on the same page, all with one goal in mind.
"It's always in the back of our mind until we win the Super Bowl," said Eli Rogers. "When we win it, it won't be there. We know we fell short last year by one game. It's tough. The fire burns inside there every day. We have only one goal in mind.
"This team has Super Bowl potential. That's all that is on our mind. We came up short last year and we only have one thing on our mind, winning the Super Bowl."
Names have changed since that day in Foxborough, but the goal hasn't. This is a group that believes in themselves and don't want to deal with the disappointment of coming up short again.
"It's a bad feeling when you are one game away from playing in the Super Bowl and you lose that game," said Anthony Chickillo. "I am sure everyone still has a sour taste in their mouth for the way it ended. We just need to get the season going so that we can work toward that goal again."
As they are set to return to the field for the preseason opener against the New York Giants on Friday night, even if it isn't the same 53-man roster that will be around for opening day, it will be a motivating factor because they know the potential is there to reach the ultimate goal.
"We want to come back this year, and not be the same, but go further and win the big game," said Bud Dupree. "We have the potential to do it."
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