Bill Cowher on Steelers-Chiefs NFL Wild Card Playoff game: 'I expect this game to be a lot closer'

Bill Cowher understands a thing or more when it concerns showing individuals incorrect. An undersized college linebacker who went undrafted, Cowher fought and eventually made an area on the Browns’ 53-man lineup. As the Steelers’ head coach, Cowher’s Steelers almost disturbed the Cowboys in Super Bowl XXX as a 13.5-point underdog. A years later on, his group made history by ending up being the very first 6th seed to win the Super Bowl. 

The Hall of Fame coach chuckled when he was informed of Ben Roethlisberger’s “we don’t have a chance” remarks leading up to Pittsburgh’s wild-card video game versus Kansas City. The video game is a rematch of the Chiefs’ 36-10 win over the Steelers back in Week 16, a result that likely added to the Steelers’ being a 12.5-point underdog. Cowher, whose 2005 group disturbed the Colts in the playoffs after losing peacefully in Indianapolis throughout the routine season, feels that the Steelers remain in a much better position having currently played the Chiefs this season. 

“You play a team a second time, there’s a little familiarity with that,” Cowher stated today. “I think the familiarity really benefits the team that loses. It slows down a little bit the more you play a team. That’s why you see all these close divisional games because they know each other so well. Playing a team for a second time is like that divisional game. 

“I anticipate this video game to be a lot better.” 

Cowher feels that Pittsburgh’s previous experience on defense need to assist them deal with the speed of the Chiefs’ offense, led by Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman. While they have had their battles this season (specifically versus the run), Cowher indicated the Steelers’ defense — particularly T.J. Watt, Cameron Heyward, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Joe Haden — as a reason he anticipates a more competitive video game. Cowher likewise mentioned the Steelers’ young playmakers on offense, particularly novices Najee Harris and Pat Freiermuth. Harris ran for 93 lawns versus a Chiefs defense that completed 31st in the NFL in typical yards-per-carry permitted. Freiermuth was non-active for the video game as he remained in the concussion procedure. 

Cowher likewise acknowledged that Roethlisberger will “have to play his best game” while preventing pricey errors. Pittsburgh dedicated 3 turnovers in their very first video game versus Kansas City. They did not require a turnover on defense after gathering 4 in their upset win over the Titans the previous week. 

“They cannot turn the football over,” Cowher stated. “That is the biggest thing, I think, going into this game. Find a way to keep it close going into the fourth quarter and all of a sudden, the pressure now goes to Kansas City. And having one of the best field goal kickers in the league (Chris Boswell), one of the best fourth quarter quarterbacks in the league. If they get this game to the fourth quarter, they may have a chance.”

Steelers gamers, from Roethlisberger to Heyward to receiver Diontae Johnson, have accepted their function of heavy underdog throughout sessions with the media. The technique resembles the method Cowher managed comparable scenarios throughout his 15 years as the Steelers’ coach. 

“Every game when I coached, I tried to make it personal,” he stated. “You want to go to something where you can challenge the players and make it personal. There’s nothing more, I would say, almost offensive as to be a double-digit underdog when you make the playoffs. Like, ‘Wow, you really don’t think we’re that good, do you.’ This is very easy for Mike Tomlin to make this game personal. I think that’s what Ben was alluding to. ‘OK, no one is giving us a chance. So we don’t really have anything to lose. So let’s go in there and have fun and play this game.’

“The enjoyable part is having the ability to show individuals incorrect. To do something nobody believes you can do. There’s no biggest complete satisfaction in sports than doing something that nobody believes you can do.”

Unlike the 2005 group, this Steelers group does not have a great deal of playoff experience sans Roethlisberger and Heyward. Conversely, the Steelers’ challenger has a wealth of postseason experience having actually played in the last 2 Super Bowls. That being stated, Cowher feels that the Steelers’ seasoned leaders need to have the ability to get the message throughout to their more youthful colleagues about what it indicates to play and have success in the postseason. 

“There’s a different pace to the game that happens when you get to playoff time,” Cowher stated. “Everything kind of gets amplified up one notch. If you’ve been there before, you understand that and you try to relay that to your teammates. The night before the game, the guys who have been there before, who have been to championships and have won a Super Bowl, they can talk about what it takes in the playoffs to get there, because everyone starts 0-0, and now is the time that real football starts.”

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