Is trying to beat a team three times in one season difficult?
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin says his team doesn't buy into that ''hocus-pocus'' stuff, and apparently it is just that - a myth.
The Steelers have already earned two wins over the Baltimore Ravens before they face off for a third time in Sunday's AFC Championship Game.
The Baltimore Sun recently researched that only 18 previous times in the NFL did a team that won two regular-season games over an opponent earn a chance to face that team for a third time. And only seven of those 18 times did the 0-2 team bounce back to take the more important game.
In fact, the Steelers themselves have completed the three-game sweep twice, both coming against the Cleveland Browns in 1994 and 2002. Since 1978, the Steelers are 7-0 when facing a team for the third time, regardless of how the first two meetings went.
The Ravens are hoping the third time is a charm against the Steelers on Sunday, but history suggests otherwise.
Bill Cowher won't have a problem finding a job whenever he wants to return to coaching, but his options may be limited in the future.
The way teams enjoyed so much success this year with rookie or second-year head coaches, the trend may be for teams to hire young and up-and-coming guys, much like the Denver Broncos recently did.
Three of the four coaches still remaining in the playoffs have two years or less experience as head coaches. Two other first-year coaches led their teams to the playoffs.
The recent unsuccessful runs of re-tread coaches Bill Parcells and Joe Gibbs won't help Cowher's cause either. His reputation may also take a little bit of hit if Tomlin gets the Steelers to the Super Bowl in just his second year.
n The Steelers probably need to build an early lead against the Ravens on Sunday to keep the crowd into the game and keep the pressure on rookie quarterback Joe Flacco.
The Steelers have been fortunate to pull out two close games against the Ravens, but the odds won't be on their side in another tight contest.
n Historically, the Steelers haven't been able to do much on the ground against the Ravens - they didn't get much in the previous two meetings this season and have only had two 100-yard rushers against them in the last 23 meetings.
The Steelers may have a completely different game plan, offensively, than what they used last week.
n The bye really helped the Steelers last week in giving Ben Roethlisberger extra time to recover from his concussion.
That same bye should help the Steelers even more this week, because the Ravens haven't had a week off in 18 weeks. Their defense was on the field a long time against Tennessee.
Buck Frank can be reached at 946-7461 or firstname.lastname@example.org.