The one for the thumb. In 2005, the Pittsburgh Steelers finally achieved what they had been chasing since the 70s dynasty. Speaking to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette during Super Bowl week, Bill Cowher credited, of all people, Bill Belichick for helping in that cause.
“When they lost to Denver,” Cowher told the PPG, “Bill called me up and said ‘Hey, congratulations, good luck, do you need anything? Want to know anything on Denver?’”
After upsetting the Indianapolis Colts, the Steelers traveled to Denver to face the Broncos in the AFC Title Game. Denver had beaten New England 27-13, a rare ugly game for Tom Brady, who threw two interceptions as the Patriots turned the ball over five times that day.
Cowher didn’t specify exactly what Belichick told him but anything he said had to have been helpful. Pittsburgh dominated from the word go, putting up 24 first half points in a 34-17 victory. Cowher again leaned on Belichick’s advice in preparing for the Super Bowl. It largely revolved around the non-football stuff. Dealing with Super Bowl week and the differences with the pre-game and halftime events, far different than a regular season or even playoff outing.
“He said at halftime, take your pads off. Put some food in there. It’s a long halftime. It’s like two different games [regular season versus Super Bowl]. I never thought about it that way, never looked at it that way.”
Of course, 2005 wasn’t Cowher’s first Super Bowl as the Steelers’ head coach. He took them there a decade earlier only to lose to Dallas by ten (this is the part where you tell me about Neil O’Donnell). But the world was different the time before, 1995, the lights and cameras shining brighter the second time around. And again, Pittsburgh would go on to be victorious and hoist that 5th Lombardi, knocking off the Seattle Seahawks 21-10.
So even though the Patriots may very well tie the Steelers in Super Bowl rings come Sunday evening, thank – at least a little bit – Bill Belichick for getting Pittsburgh to six before anyone else. They’ll always be able to claim that.