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Super Bowl XLIII: ‘Steel Curtain’ is back in Pittsburgh

BY ALAN ROBINSON Published: January 30, 2009
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/> Parity and the salary cap may not allow this Steelers defense to win four Super Bowls, send four players to the Hall of Fame or get pasted across cereal boxes. But if the Steelers beat Arizona in the Super Bowl on Sunday— and they do it by controlling Larry Fitzgerald and Kurt Warner — the accomplishments of this defense almost demand that it be included among the best of the best.

"That defense, whoa, that’s the measuring stick,” the Cardinals’ Karlos Dansby said.

LeBeau, at 71 the NFL’s oldest assistant coach, builds defenses that are innovative, adaptive and close-knit — his players actually call him Dad. Linebacker Larry Foote has seen game plans tossed during a brief sideline huddle and LeBeau draw up a brand new approach in seconds.

"We know he’ll always come up with something,” cornerback Deshea Townsend said.

The Steelers finished 55 yards away from becoming the first defense since the 1970 NFL merger to allow the fewest yards, rushing yards, passing yards and points in a season.