"You never want to be that guy in the meeting that everybody can point at and say, 'You let us down this week,'" Batch said of his unexpected opportunity. "People on this team take pride in being accountable. Even if a practice squad player is getting called up the Saturday before the game, the expectation for the level of play doesn't drop. Coach Tomlin always says, the standard is the standard."
The ultimate standard is winning Super Bowls—something no team has done more often than the Steelers, who have six Lombardi Trophies. But their two most recent titles, in 2005 and 2008, have been followed by disappointing seasons in which Pittsburgh failed to make the playoffs.
"We're playing with a chip on our shoulder," says Ward. "We want to get back to the postseason. It feels great to be 3--0, especially when nobody on this earth probably picked us to be here. What greater feeling can you have than to play before the entire world and prove to people that they were wrong?
"We know there's a lot of football left, but the learning experience from what we went through last year will pay dividends this season. We've been through the tough times. We know the disappointment. We don't want to feel that again."
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