The 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers got hot in December and finished with 11 regular-season victories in preparation for a championship run.
Sound familiar? This year's Steelers are finding their form and have a chance to finish with 11 wins. As the NFL's sixth-best team in ESPN's Power Rankings, the Steelers could be the biggest threat to the Patriots in the AFC.
Heath Miller sees where this is going, and he's having none of it. As one of three current Steelers that played for the 2005 Super Bowl champs (Ben Roethlisberger and James Harrison are the others), Miller is keeping the proper perspective.
I asked Miller if he noticed similarities to 2005 with this group. Basically, his message was clear: The Steelers haven't done anything yet, and all teams take on different personalities.
"It’s far too early to make any comparisons," Miller said. "We’ve got three games left and we’re not even in the playoffs. We’re just trying to get into the tournament. Obviously it seems we’re playing pretty good football, but we’ve got three more games to continue to play good football."
That 2005 team was heavily reliant on established veterans and was coming off a 15-1 season, Miller points out. The current team has vocal leaders but is more of a "mix," Miller said -- some have been a part of deep playoff runs, some have no idea what to expect.
Most of the Steelers' defensive front seven is composed of first-round or second-round picks from the last five years. No player from the offensive line was a part of the 2005 or 2008 Super Bowl-winning teams.
But different makeups can lead to similar results if the toughness quotient checks out, Miller said.
"This team, a lot of guys haven't been down a long playoff road before, maybe not as seasoned as that team, but every team is different," Miller said. "Everybody’s just trying to pitch in and do their job."
One quality that Miller sees as a common thread -- he sees selflessness with this group. The offensive line embodies that mindset, he said.
That's probably a good place to start.