The Pittsburgh Steelers spent all fall claiming the chatter generated by various off-the-field issues was only so much background noise.
Through Mike Wallace's contract status to the relationship between quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Todd Haley to the injury problems that kept bold-faced players out of the lineup for long stretches, the Steelers insisted they were focused.
Standing in the corner of a quiet locker room after an 8-8 season ended with a 24-10 win over rudderless Cleveland, wide receiver Antonio Brown begged to differ.
''We wasted a lot of energy worrying about things that were out of our control, pointing a finger here, pointing a finger there,'' Brown said. ''People mad here. People mad there. And as a team collectively you can't have that.''
And the Steelers know they can't have another season like 2012, one that included flashes of brilliance but also too many times where they shrank from the task. Pittsburgh lost five games by a field goal, most of them th...