The 12 teams in the playoffs include five teams that weren't in the playoffs last year, including the Denver Broncos. Is this NFL parity with a capital "P"?
I think not only this year exemplifies that, but probably recent years in general. It's tough to be consistently competitive in this league and I think that's what makes it the great game that it is.
Three of the last six Super Bowl champions have been wild card teams.
Wow, that is comforting to know considering that we are one. We don't care what has happened in recent history. We just feel very comfortable with the weapons at our disposal and that we are capable of walking this journey.
John Elway appears to have changed the culture of this franchise. Where do you see his imprint?
It's just the winning attitude, the can-do attitude. When I think about John Elway I think about two-minute drives and going the length of the field with minimal time left to go. That is really the personality this outfit has taken in that no game is out of their control. They stay in fights until the very end. They have won a bunch of significant games in a close manner.
Head Coach John Fox moves in after nine years in Carolina. How much has he brought with him in terms of schemes from there?
He brought a commitment to running the football. Obviously they were tops in the league this year in Denver. They had similar outcomes in Carolina as well. He has a commitment to running the football. He is going to have an attacking, big-play oriented defense and solid special teams.
Willis McGahee is fourth in rushing in the conference. What is he showing now that he may not have shown in Baltimore?
It's just more carries. Characteristics of the runner are exactly the same. He has great vision and pick. He is a nice jump cut runner. He is capable of being a featured runner. He has just shared snaps over the last few years with a man named Ray Rice in Baltimore.
What does quarterback Tim Tebow show you on video?
He is capable of making significant plays at significant moments. Albeit unconventional, he has a penchant for delivering when it's most needed. I think that is a sign of any great quarterback, but even larger than that any great leader.
Offensive tackle Ryan Clady was the 12th overall pick in 2008. Is his pedigree pretty obvious to you?
It is. He is a perennial Pro Bowl type guy to boot. He is very long, he has 38 inch arms. He had the longest arms in the draft when he came out. He continues to use that as a weapon. James Harrison has a long day in front of him over there dealing with that young man.
Do the Broncos still rely on the cut block?
Quite a bit. They're athletic and some zone scheme running and that's always associated with that.
Wide receiver Eric Decker has only 44 catches, but for eight touchdowns. Is that efficiency attributed to him or the Broncos system?
I think it's a little bit of both. He was a big-play guy at the University of Minnesota, made a bunch of big plays, got behind people, and changed field position for his team. I think here it's those talents along with their commitment to run and play-action opportunities associated with that has created the outcome for him.
Strong side linebacker Von Miller has jumped ahead of Elvis Dumervil in all statistical categories. Is he the defender that concerns Bruce Arians the most?
He has jumped ahead of a lot of defenders in the National Football League. This guy is instantly one of the very best in the world in what he does. He has that kind of talent. He also now has a year of production to prove it. We've got our hands full trying to block this guy to minimize his effect on this football game.
This year the Steelers defied their own personal history by winning 12 games coming off a Super Bowl appearance. What do you like most about this group?
They are a resilient bunch. They legitimately smile in the face of adversity. They embrace challenges. All of those characteristics are capable of serving us well here in January.
Last week in brutal conditions in Cleveland your kicker missed from 45 yards and the Browns marched down to have a first-and-goal from the four. Did Casey Hampton make the biggest play of the game, which was scoreless to that point?
It was one of the plays. We are not surprised by what Casey is capable of doing. He has been rock solid for us all year and no question that was one of his better moments.
Will Troy Polamalu feel the absence of Ryan Clark today? Will that make his adlib ability even less?
Not necessarily from a playing standpoint, but Ryan does so many unique things from a communication standpoint. Being a hub of communication that he is we are all going to have to carry a little bit more of that load this week, do a good job of pre-snap communication and sharing of information. Those are things that come with Ryan Clark's job description that doesn't often get publicized.
Will you sub more in the game because of conditions?
No plan to. We'll see how the game unfolds. We're very comfortable with our quality of depth. We're going to let these guys play and we're going to play and play to win.
What are the keys for the Steelers?
More than anything to come out fast and to really get comfortable in this hostile environment. We have to operate offensively. We can't beat ourselves. We have to minimize penalties, pre-snap and post. Obviously a good turnover or two would help us.