As is the usual custom in sports, comparisons are inevitable. Therefore with the 2015 Pittsburgh Steelers entering the playoffs as the sixth seed, it’s only natural to compare them to the Super Bowl team of 2005.
Like this year, that team started the playoffs in Cincinnati and would need to win on the road in order to win the championship. They of course did just that and many are hoping that lightning will strike twice. I certainly wish for that as well but make no mistake – these are very different teams.
Besides the most obvious difference, the head coaches, these two teams were built differently especially on offense where the running game was still the first option behind Jerome Bettis and Willie Parker. The offensive line was much better in ’05 and the only edge I’d give to the current Steelers is in the wide receiver department. The QB is a bit of a wash don’t ya think? (In terms that Ben is Ben)
Where the talent pool was the most different was on defense and if you look at the starters across the board there is very little comparison. While you can make an argument for Stephon Tuitt and Cam Heyward, the defensive end duo of Aaron Smith and Kimo Von Oelhoffen was as solid as it got and give me Casey Hampton all day over Steve McLendon at the nose.
The linebackers were also better overall led by Joey Porter and James Farrior who coupled with Clark Haggans and Larry Foote for a good group of backers. Lawrence Timmons and James Harrison could certainly rank with these guys but as an overall group the ’05 unit was better.
The biggest talent separation on defense was in the secondary where Troy Polamalu and Chris Hope anchored the safety positions and Deshea Townsend and Ike Taylor manned the corners. I’m not sure I’d trade any of those guys for any of the current secondary members.
Like any comparison there are a multitude of other factors like offensive and defensive systems, the era of the game and so on but all in all, the overall depth and talent of the 2005 team was better than this one but that doesn’t this team can’t do something special.
photo courtesy sportspyder.com