Pittsburgh's Whisenhunt Stays Focused

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

DETROIT -- Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt said he is not letting the possibility of interviewing for the Oakland Raiders' head coaching job next week distract him from his Super Bowl responsibilities.

"To be a head coaching candidate is an honor," Whisenhunt said. "But we've been so focused the last seven weeks on not getting eliminated, all of that other stuff has been pushed to the side."

The Raiders still are looking for a replacement for the fired Norv Turner and are the last remaining NFL team with a head coaching vacancy. Under NFL rules, Whisenhunt is not eligible to be hired by another club before the Steelers' season is over.

Whisenhunt and Steelers Coach Bill Cowher are known for being unafraid to unveil a few gadget plays on offense, and Whisenhunt said the two have some possibilities in mind for Sunday's game.

"There's a couple things we're excited about," he said. "I don't know if they'll come up or not."

Coaches Live on Venus

Cowher and Seahawks Coach Mike Holmgren have more in common than lengthy tenures with their teams -- they are the alpha males at home as well as at work. Of course, at home they're also the only males.

Cowher has three daughters and Holmgren has four daughters, a situation that is a regular topic of conversation for the coaches.

"I have seen his girls grow up and he has seen my girls grow up, and it's fun," Holmgren said. "I've always said that I have a lot of young men I deal with every day and have done it most of my life, so to go home and deal with the girls is actually a pleasure. They are very much involved in the football part of it. They are not shy at all about phoning me on Monday and telling me I went to the play-action a little too much on first down."

Diplomatic Steelers Fan

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's travels usually take her to far-flung capitals, but this weekend she's planning a journey closer to home and close to her football fan's heart.

Rice says she will attend the Super Bowl, and she's picking the Pittsburgh Steelers to win -- even though she doubted the team as it advanced through the playoffs.

"I picked Pittsburgh to beat Cincinnati; I have picked against them every game since," Rice ruefully told reporters Tuesday. "I'm not picking against them again."

That's not to say she's become a real Steelers fan. Rice is loyal to the Cleveland Browns.

Drive Much, Shaun?

Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander, the league's most valuable player, admittedly is naive about the city in which this Super Bowl is being played. His knowledge of Detroit is limited to music. "Motown started here, that's about it," Alexander said of his limited knowledge. . . .

Technically, Ford Field is not a dome. The roof is made of steel. At domed stadiums, a fiberglass-fabric material is supported by air -- such as at the Pontiac Silverdome, site of Super Bowl XVI in 1982. Ford Field, which opened in 2002, has a concourse with exposed brick, a towering glass wall and a warehouse on one side that is nearly a century old. . . .

And now, a glimpse into the private life of Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger: Saying, "I have no personal life," he admitted that it's now so difficult to go out in public it's easier to meet women on the Internet than in person. And the worst part about being at the Super Bowl? Leaving his Rottweiler, Zeus, at home. "If I could have my dog here it would be perfect, but Coach Cowher wouldn't let me bring him," he said.

Bulletin Board Material

"We're definitely ready."

Outspoken Pittsburgh linebacker Joey Porter , leaving no wiggle room on the defense's state of preparedness.

-- Mark Maske, Jason La Canfora and Wire Services

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