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New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick has a history of using the Pittsburgh Steelers' words against them.

Steelers coach Bill Cowher provided major motivation to Patriots title run

Ryan Wooden

Former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher was a big believer in bulletin board material during his time as a head coach, as is New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

Cowher used to have a staffer read all the newspapers looking for anything negative that he could use to motivate his squad, according to a report from Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Which is why it’s surprising that he made the mistake of providing Belichick with ammunition before the 2001 AFC Championship Game.

The Steelers made mention of the fact that they devoted a day of their practice week — back when there was no bye between the conference title games and the championship — to prep for the Super Bowl and were, in essence, looking past the Patriots. New England took notice and made mention of it serving as motivation after scoring the upset win.

That story has some renewed interest in 2017 because current Steelers coach Mike Tomlin recently made comments acknowledging that not only were the Steelers looking ahead to their Week 15 matchup with the Patriots but that they were already penciling the two teams into the AFC Championship Game.

That’s not so much of an insult or bulletin board material for the Patriots, but it is a shot at the Bengals and Steelers — who they play in Week 13 and 14 — and anybody they play in the divisional round.