Bill Polian said that he and Tony Dungy had an understanding that he could get his team up to play with just a little bit more intensity just a few times per year. It makes sense. Football players are human and their effort is likely to be somewhat consistent to their abilities most of the time with a little bit of fluctuation up or down. To think that you can get a team up to play at maximum level every single Sunday is unrealistic. Will Rob Chudzinski be able to do that this weekend with his team? Is there any way to make a modern NFL player feel a rivalry the same way fans have been raised to respect it? I’m not so sure.
Of course it helps that the Steelers are a divisional opponent. Competing in the division is important to any NFL player simply because it is the easiest gateway to the NFL playoffs. If you can’t handle your business against the guys who are all scheduled twice per season, year-in and year-out, how are you ever going to make meaningful strides toward winning a Super Bowl? Even then though, does that put the Steelers on any different level for players on the Cleveland Browns roster than when they play Baltimore or Cincinnati? [Read more...]