Coach Mike Tomlin is buying into the Steelers-Patriots hype.
And, per ESPN, he's helping to turn up the heat.
"It's good to be in the kitchen. The kitchen's in Pittsburgh, PA, this week in the National Football League, and at Heinz Field," Tomlin said of his team's showdown with New England in arguably the biggest game of the NFL season. "That's where you want to be in the middle of December. We don't take it for granted."
Tomlin wasn't shying away from the buzz three weeks ago, when he predicted Patriots-Steelers "fireworks" during an on-camera interview with NBC's Tony Dungy, outlining how the Week 15 game will determine seedings and a playoff rematch.
That plan has come to fruition, with Sunday's matchup likely determining home-field advantage and the No. 1 AFC seed. The Steelers lead the conference at 11-2; the Patriots fell to 10-3 with a 27-20 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Monday night.
Asked about whether he'll quell the game's hype with his players this week, Tomlin said, "Man, I love it."
"It's good to be in big games. It's better to be in big games than ones nobody's watching," he said. "We better be appreciative of this spot and not resistant in any way, but embrace it. This is what we've been fighting for since March, to be in these types of games against these types of people. Why would you fight that? It's an awesome thing."