Facing Favre & Co. has (most of) the Steelers pumped
October 23, 2009
Even the Super Bowl champs get pumped when they prepare to play an unbeaten team with a legend at quarterback, the league's best running back and a stout defense.
At least some of them will admit as much.
The prospect of playing against Brett Favre, Adrian Peterson and Jared Allen and the Williams Wall of the Minnesota Vikings defense Sunday at Heinz Field can excite even a 34-year-old Pro Bowl linebacker with two Super Bowl rings.
"Oh, yeah, if you don't get excited about this game, then you don't need to be playing," said defensive co-captain James Farrior. "We're going against one of the best teams in the league right now, who have the hottest quarterback in the league, the best running back, a pretty good offensive line."
There were players sticking to the weekly line that every game is the same no matter the opponent, such as nose tackle Casey Hampton.
"It's going to be a challenge, man, but it's never about the other team; it's always about us."
Not even with the fact the Vikings are riding high at 6-0 and their defense barely nosed out the Steelers' as the top run-stoppers in the NFL last season?
"It don't matter, man," Hampton said. "It's early in the season; anybody could be undefeated. That don't matter. It's all about being hot at the end. Being unbeaten early has no significance right now."
Other teammates say playing this type of game is special, particularly after consecutive games against the Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns, who have one victory apiece.
"It's going to be a good test," said guard Chris Kemoeatu, who might have to contend with both Kevin Williams and Pat Williams, the Vikings' dynamic tackle tandem. "We're going to have fun.
"We're excited, probably a little bit more excited than the past couple of weeks. We finally get to go out there and ... you know."
Play a good team?
"It's kind of like that feeling when the [New York] Giants came to town last year," said safety Ryan Clark. "It's a real big game; you know people are going to be watching. It sets us up to be 5-2, which is important and get an opportunity to give them their first loss. To beat a quality team and have that confidence rolling into the bye week is going to be big.
"And it's going to be fun. You get up for all of them, but I'll admit you practice a little bit harder this week."
Tickets to the game are the most expensive of the weekend on the secondary market, college or pro. Steelers tickets, most of which go for $80 each face value, are selling on average for $485 on the secondary market, according to FanSnap.com, a ticket search engine.
That comes as bad news even to football players.
"Woooowee," Farrior said. "Is that right? I still have to get some. All my friends and family want to see Brett Favre, too."