The League

Charles Mann
Pro Bowl Defensive Lineman

Charles Mann

A 12-year veteran lineman, elected four times to the Pro Bowl.

Best to Be the Dog


Being the underdog is best position to be in, anyone who has played pro sports will tell you that. You never want to be the favorite.

A coach's job of motivating a team becomes easy when no thinks your team stands a chance. All he has to do is grab a newspaper article where the other team isn't giving you a hope or a prayer. That drives you nuts.

For starters, any pro athlete is at most one click from being cocky anyway. You have to have a little swagger already built into you to get to that level. Then the coach will coddle that attitude by telling you again and again how everyone thinks the Steelers are going to march all over you.

Then you take that energy and you start looking at the film. A coach like Whisenhunt is going to show his players the games where the Steelers lost. He's going to show them Pittsburgh's weaknesses. Show them how their defense broke down. What tendencies and mistakes are they prone to. Study how people whoop them and then use those same tactics. See how Philly smashed up Big Ben, we're gonna hit 'em even worse! In that you build up the confidence further.

Then in front of the cameras you do the opposite. You keep pumping up Pittsburgh. You talk to the press and say wow they're defense is so tough, it's gonna be hard for us to beat them.

That's what we did in Super Bowl XXVI against the Buffalo Bills. In 1991 they had the Red Gun offense that was "so tough." Jim Kelly was on fire and no one gave us Redskins much of chance. Their players were even bragging about who would be going to Disney World for winning MVP honors, would it be Kelly, Reed, Thomas?

Out of our locker room we played right along, saying how talented they were. Behind the scenes though, we said we're gonna put our foot in them. Coach Gibbs put up clippings from the paper around the locker room. He kept pounding home the message. Reiterating it over and over. We had no pressure on us, no one expected us. It was a great position to be in, and it worked to the tune of 37-24.

By Charles Mann  |  January 22, 2009; 11:48 AM ET  | Category:  Arizona Cardinals , Pittsburgh Steelers , Washington Redskins Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Consistency Counts | Next: January 22nd Winner: JOHANN_CAT


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What a crock regarding the statement from Charles Mann that "no one gave us Redskins much of chance" in that game. I just checked what the betting line was in Vegas for Super Bowl XXVI, and the Redskins were seven point favorites over the Bills. Doesn't sound like such an underdog to me...

Posted by: Backnine2000 | January 23, 2009 1:51 PM

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