Providing the New England Patriots with added motivation is the last thing opposing teams want to do.
Just ask former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher.
In an interview on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher and Rich” on Friday, Cowher recalled a time he provided Bill Belichick and the Patriots with bulletin board material. In the lead up to the AFC title game in 2002, Cowher was forced to look ahead due to the upcoming schedule, which ended up being a huge mistake.
“There was no week in between the AFC Championship Game and the Super Bowl, so I had given out an itinerary on the Friday before, next week this is what the schedule is going to be,” Cowher said. “I had to give it out just for purposes. He got a hold of that and said ‘Look they’re already planning for next week.'”
Whether Cowher’s decision had any effect, the Patriots upset the Steelers 24-17 at Heinz Field en route to their first championship in franchise history.
Cowher was on the wrong side of bulletin board material in this particular case, but he believes it plays an important role in the game.
“These are men playing a boy’s game,” he said. “No matter what you’re playing, no matter what you’re getting paid, you take something personal. What you try to do each week is make every game personal. If I was playing against Bill Belichick’s team, I would tell our guys say nothing; there’s no reason to incite them. Stay quiet, be humble and just let your play talk.
“As head coaches, we’re always looking for a little bulletin board material. We’ll sit there, we see a quote, you’ll see us go down, I’ll give it to my man and say ‘Give me 53 copies of this.’ They’ll be sitting in their locker room, I’ll say nothing, but they will see the quote right there in their locker room. Message sent.”
We have a feeling the Patriots won’t need any added motivation heading into Sunday’s matchup with the New Orleans Saints.
Thumbnail photo via Stew Milne/USA TODAY Sports Images