Hot questions with hot answers.
Queries about illegal hits, fines, suspensions, witch hunts and blabber mouths.
And his players, his coaches, his organization clearly were not cloaking their feelings. They are here, in their estimation, despite the league's own version of headhunting.
What the league dished out, the Steelers took, they say. And won anyway. Reached Super Bowl XLV, anyway. Take that. And, another thing ... well.
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That is clearly the way they view it. That is the way they are wearing it. It shows.
"They certainly didn't do us any favors and at times seemed to throw roadblocks in our way getting here,'' said Steelers safety Ryan Clark said.
Linebacker James Harrison (above) added: "I think I've had a good season. And that has been overshadowed by their focus on me and the fines. I don't agree with that. It's been a lot of stuff for us all year.''
"Stuff'' like the league's investigation and eventual four-game suspension of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to start the season for violating the league's conduct policy. A roadblock deserved? It should have been fewer games suspended, the Steelers players say.
That was followed by mid-season mayhem, with the Steelers developing an identity for head-hunting hits. The league answered with a pointed crackdown and fines, especially toward Harrison.
Remember Steelers soft-spoken safety Troy Polamalu jumping in with his idea that the league's fine process stinks and that commissioner Roger Goodell has too much power?
During the playoffs, Steelers legend Dan Rooney dropped in from Ireland to say, essentially, that the owners were simply being greedy and needed to make a deal with the players. You think Rooney does that if the Steelers aren't already feeling feisty toward the league?
Oh, and the Steelers are very aware of Goodell quotes that surfaced this week about his views on the Roethlisberger discipline and process. They did not like him blabbing about it, period.
This disconnect likely will evaporate if the Steelers win Super Bowl XLV on Sunday night. Winning builds bridges.
Cools hot corners.
Mining for Jewels
After Green Bay's photo flap that started the week -- should injured players be included in the team photo? -- the Packers are happy to see the Steelers squirming. Thrilled to see them dealing with hot issues, hot corners.
"They probably have a little chip on their shoulders for a lot of different reasons,'' Packers cornerback Tramon Williams said. "But I don't think you even get to the Super Bowl unless you carry a little bit of that, in some way. Everybody in this game has some kind of chip on their shoulder, something to prove.''
Green Bay has a couple of actual "hot corners'' in Williams and Sam Shields.
These cornerbacks are the ultimate pair of show-you-something, prove-it-to-me players in Super Bowl XLV. Both were undrafted free agents, Williams in 2006 and Shields last April.
Pro personnel people across the league marvel at the fact that the Packers are in the Super Bowl relying so heavily on a pair of undrafted free agent cornerbacks. Williams has started all 19 Packers games and Shields as a nickel cornerback started six regular-season games and twice in the playoffs.
Cornerback is a skill position that often requires high draft picks to aptly fill.
Some call it pure Packers luck, this duo shining.
Others credit Green Bay for seeing jewels in Williams and Shields when others saw rocks.
Williams played at Louisiana Tech. He was cut in the Houston Texans 2006 camp. The Packers called him later, in November that year.
"They said I was the next guy in line, they needed me, and I don't know how I could have ever had a better Thanksgiving,'' Williams said. "I've just stayed humble. I worked as a teenager stocking groceries in a super market and had other jobs shoveling coal and cleaning tractors. I knew how to work hard from sunrise till the job was done.''
The Packers saw that. And believed in Williams' skill.
Shields played three seasons at receiver at the University of Miami and then played cornerback only as a senior. Not only was he green at cornerback, but NFL teams were scared off by an off-field incident a month before last year's draft.
"I was at a family member's house in Sarasota to pick up my daughter and it was raided for drugs,'' Shields said. "I just happened to be there. I was charged along with the others, but all charges against me were dropped a month later. I got free agent calls from Chicago, Detroit, the Giants and New Orleans. Green Bay was interested. I chose Green Bay.''
Williams this season led the Packers with six interceptions, with all six coming in the team's last 12 games. He also led in passes defended (23). Shields is fresh off a banner NFC championship game vs. Chicago: Two interceptions, a forced fumble and a sack.
Green Bay secondary/cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt, Jr., has tutored both of these hot corners in noteworthy style. Whitt used flip cards from the sidelines to help Shields in his learning curve. Whitt called Williams a prize pupil.
"When we started out, we had to try to hide Sam in the defense, but now he has come on to the point where he is a factor,'' Whitt said. "He's got skill and he's worked at it. Iron sharpens iron. Tramon is a coach's dream. You only have to tell him something once. He learns it, he gets it. He is the only defensive player who has not missed a practice for us this entire year. Both of them are sort of walk-on NFL guys.
"Both of them developed that extra edge. They just keep proving how much they belong. Nothing has been given to them.''
A sentiment the Steelers understand.
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