Still, Tomlin has continued to push. His Steelers have won two AFC North titles in as many years while compiling a 22-10 regular-season record.
Now Tomlin attempts to become the seventh coach — the others are Lombardi, Shula, Noll, Jimmy Johnson, Mike Shanahan and Belichick — to author a Super Bowl repeat.
This season's first four weeks should reveal whether the Steelers have become complacent. Following tonight's opener, Pittsburgh plays at Chicago, a trendy choice to win the NFC, at division rival Cincinnati and home against AFC West favorite San Diego.
That's a pretty fair quarterback quartet — Kerry Collins, Jay Cutler, Carson Palmer and Philip Rivers — to challenge the NFL's most imposing defense.
"We're just trying to build our football team for '09," Tomlin said. "We hope that it's championship-caliber. We respect the journey. We kind of know what the destination is about because we've got a lot of people that have been there. But we're going to remain focused on the journey."
David Teel can be reached at 247-4636 or by e-mail at email@example.com. For more from Teel, read his blog at dailypress.com/teeltime.
Tonight's gameWHO: Tennessee at Pittsburgh.
WHEN: 8:30 p.m.
TV: NBC 10 12.
On PAGE 5: Complete NFL schedule.