There are only a few times during the year that we really get to hear from certain segments of the Pittsburgh Steelers organization. When it comes to the executives and the front office, their time is the offseason. President Art Rooney II gets his comments in at select moments, including early in training camp.
Fortunately, we got one of those moments earlier today when Rooney spoke to Ed Bouchette and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Among the things that he told the veteran reporter is that while he doesn’t believe the team lacks focus, he added, “I think our guys understand that you can’t look past somebody, particularly this year”.
That was essentially his message to the team, to throttle it back. “I think this is a team that believes it can win a championship and that’s good”, he said. “But like every other team, we have to take it a week at a time and never look past an opponent. This schedule will be a challenge”.
The Steelers were bombarded with criticism throughout the second half of the season for certain comments that suggested that they were only anticipating a future showdown with the New England Patriots, who defeated them in the AFC Championship Game in the following season and went on to win the Super Bowl.
Many blame their lack of focus for their loss this past season to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Divisional Round, the only opponent who had beaten them handily earlier in the season. Their other two losses came back one score. One of them came in overtime, and the other involved a go-ahead touchdown that was controversially overturned.
“It’s one of those games that I think, hopefully, guys look back at it and say we have to be better than that when it comes to playoff time”, Rooney said of that Jaguars loss. “That’s what you want, you want to be building, getting better each week, playing your best at the end. You don’t want to be in that situation”.
The President also admitted that he felt “there are times when we could be more focused”. He made reference to the proliferation of social media and the need for his players to be aware of how that can get out of hand.
Rooney is not the only one on the team who hopes the Steelers are more focused on taking the season one game at a time. David DeCastro said as much earlier in the week. “I hope people realize it after last year and all the BS”, he said.
“I hope guys just realize it’s one game at a time. Don’t let your head get too big. We have a big week, Week 1. That’s all we should care about. Obviously the big goal is in the back of your head as it should be, but don’t overlook anyone in the National Football League. It’s just ridiculous”.