For the Denver Broncos, the 29-23 overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wildcard Round of the 2011 playoffs represented a week of euphoria, followed by an offseason with renewed resolve. The football culture in Denver became about championships again.
For the Steelers, it has meant nothing but anguish.
Now LaMarr Woodley has given the Broncos bulletin-board material for their 2012 Week One rematch in September. You can hear the angst in the linebacker’s voice as he told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, “What gives you motivation is not playing in the Super Bowl, getting eliminated in the first round, losing to a team we had no business losing to. It’s a team we should have easily beat. That’s motivation, watching teams play the week after us.”
In many senses, Woodley is right. The Steelers were heavily favored against the Tim Tebow-led Denver Broncos. They were paying their players $27.4 million more than the Broncos. The 8-8 Broncos were on a three-game losing streak. The Steelers had every reason to expect to win.
But at the end of the day, they didn’t, and that’s why Woodley’s comments both reek of misplaced entitlement and add fuel to Denver’s fire. There’s no such thing as an “easy” victory in the NFL. Every team has “every business” losing to every other in the NFL. That competitive balance is why this league reigns supreme across the professional sports landscape, period.
Pin that sports page of the Tribune-Review to every Broncos player’s locker before OTA’s resume this week, John Fox. The Broncos may have squeaked out that win in overtime, but it was the the Steelers who had to claw back to tie the game in regulation. The Steelers were plain out-physicalled in the first half. Woodley had “no business” making those comments at all.