PITTSBURGH (AP) - The stomping their Terrible Towel took on the Tennessee Titans' sideline last December was nothing compared to the trampling the Pittsburgh Steelers took on the field.
The Titans were Steelers-like in the way they manhandled Pittsburgh up front, hurried Ben Roethlisberger into mistakes, and were more physical. Tennessee's 31-14 victory on Dec. 21 was Pittsburgh's only loss in its final 10 games, and it made fans of both teams eager for the rematch.
It never took place - until now.
The Titans and Steelers, teams that always stay in character amid the constant changes that swirl around them in the NFL, open the new season Thursday night by playing the game that was anticipated in January.
The Steelers cooperated - they won the Super Bowl - but the Titans were derailed by Baltimore in the divisional round, and the Ravens then lost to Pittsburgh. The Titans started 10-0, finished 13-3 and have spent the last seven-plus months pondering how their season got away from them.
To the Steelers, the most indelible image of that Titans rout was running back LenDale White and several teammates tromping on Terrible Towels. The sideline stomp has been replayed countless times in Pittsburgh.