DALLAS — Instead of focusing on the eight Super Bowl trips and six Lombardi trophies, Steelers defensive line coach John Mitchell likes to talk about these numbers: four and nine.
That's four players he's coached on the Pittsburgh roster for nine or more seasons.
Mitchell's veteran linemen — Casey Hampton, Brett Keisel, Aaron Smith and Chris Hoke — may not be the Steel Curtain of the 1970s, but they speak to a larger truth. They were brought to the team, given time to develop and never jettisoned when the going got tough. And through it all, they were coached to play a single, specific style.
In short, that's the "Steeler Way" — an unwavering devotion to getting one kind of player and playing one brand of football.