So, with that as Pittsburgh’s last memory of the 2011 season, the Broncos expect the Steelers to have thoughts of revenge on their minds.
“They’re going to come in with a lot of energy, there’s no doubt about it,” safety
“The Pittsburgh Steelers have been a powerhouse in the NFL,” he said. “To get knocked out in the first round by the Denver Broncos team last year, they might have some stuff on their mind this year, first game coming back."
On the other side, Pittsburgh Head Coach Mike Tomlin downplayed the significance of added motivation from last season’s playoff matchup. With the free-agent and rookie additions by both teams, the rosters are significantly different from the squads that squared off in January.
In fact, just 47 of the 88 players that appeared in that game remain on the teams’ rosters – Denver returns 21 players from that game while Pittsburgh retained 26.
“No, that’s a different team as far as I’m concerned, personally,” Tomlin said. “We better remain focused on the challenges that are in front of us this weekend as opposed to looking back at something that happened months ago.”
Broncos Head Coach John Fox echoed that sentiment and said that what happened is in the past, and this year’s matchup will hinge on the two teams that step foot on the grass at Sports Authority Field.
“Usually that’s history,” he said. “History doesn’t have too much importance on the present. So for right now, our focus is on the present. Their team’s different, our team’s different -- whoever plays the best will win.”
With the NFL calendar turning from 2011 to 2012, every team enters Week 1 with a 0-0 record.
Denver enjoyed its victory last season, but has hit fast forward and is focused on a strong start to a fresh slate.
“At the end of the day, that’s last year,” Vickerson said. “This is a new year. They changed some stuff and we’ve changed some stuff. It’s a whole new ballgame.”
“I know it’s probably motivation for them, obviously, they got knocked out by us last year and they want to come back and prove something,” he said. “At the same time, it’s a new year -- both teams look a little different.
"And we’ve got something to prove as well.”