Next year. That’s what many Steelers players and fans were talking about after Pittsburgh’s 31-25 loss to the Packers in Super Bowl XLV.

Next year will be “our” year or the seventh title can wait has been the line. So if anyone out there is shedding tears over Steelers, don’t.

As shaky as Ben Roethlisberger looked at times and as well as Aaron Rogers, who was scary good, played, Pittsburgh is an organization you don’t ever have to worry about. All you had to do was listen to Steelers coach Mike Tomlin after the game to get an idea of where his mind was. There were no excuses, no complaints about the referees or the injuries.

“They made plays guys,” Tomlin said. “It was probably less about what we were unable to do and more about what they were able to do…We can sit here and make excuses or you guys can. I will not. What I will do is say that Green Bay played a good football game.”

Tomlin isn’t the type of man who is going to dwell on what should have or could have been. His players aren’t either. The Packers outplayed the Steelers during the game’s most important moments.

Even outspoken linebacker James Harrison didn’t make any excuses. “They got turnovers and capitalized on them,” Harrison said. “It seemed like we couldn’t get the bleeding stopped at the right time.”

Harrison’s sentiment notwithstanding, there is no doubt this team, which played the first four games without Roethlisberger, will be in the hunt next season.

Roethlisberger is 28, running back Rashard Mendenhall is 23, while Mike Wallace, 24, who emerged as one of the NFL’s top deep threats, expects to be back next year in full effect.

Defensively, Pittsburgh will have to make some decision about a few of its older players like linebacker James Farrior, 35, and defensive tackle, Casey Hampton, 33, but you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who will doubt the Steelers resolve.