PITTSBURGH - If the Pittsburgh Steelers pull this off and win next Sunday's Super Bowl, it will be an amazing feat.
Not because they'd be the first team to win seven Lombardi trophies, but because of what they've been through this year.
If center Maurkice Pouncey can't play, they'll be without three of their five original offensive linemen. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was suspended for the first four games. His projected backups, Byron Leftwich and Dennis Dixon, were both injured.
They gave away their most productive receiver (Santonio Holmes) because of his off-field behavior.
Aaron Smith, their best defensive lineman, has again missed more than half of the season. Safety Troy Polamalu sat out some games, was limited in others.
The Steelers made an in-season change at kicker and had to find a punter after Daniel Sepulveda was injured.
They've functioned with essentially one running back: Aside from Rashard Mendenhall, no one has 250 yards rushing.
The system works against them. In the last 10 drafts, their highest position has been 11th, then 15th. Otherwise, they haven't drafted higher than 18th. They've been 27th or lower five times.
Yet, here they are, thanks to a resourceful personnel department and a coach who makes players believe his oft-repeated assertion that the standard remains the same no matter who plays.
Give the NHL credit for trying something new to spice up the All-Star game.
This year's twist was having a player draft. Captains Eric Staal and Nicklas Lidstrom chose teams, the way a pick-up game would unfold.
The two Penguins representatives, goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and defenseman Kris Letang, wound up on opposing teams.
Ultimately, though, it doesn't mean anything.
The All-Star game is a no-checking affair that bears little resemblance to real NHL hockey.
Look out: Steelers novelty songs will be breaking out all week.
It's easier that ever to get one out, thanks to the Internet.
People have been making Steelers songs for 35 years and exactly two have caught on: The original Steelers Polka by Jimmy Pol and "Here We Go" by Roger Wood and the Fan Club.
Both have been updated over the years to reflect personnel changes on the team.
Many have tried, but those are the ones that have endured.
Anybody remember "Steel It Steelers" by Freddie Waters?
Didn't think so.
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org