Wednesday, November 29, 2006

My Big Fat Greek Blog Entry

I watched four games this weekend. Broncos versus Chiefs. 49ers versus the Rams. Bears versus the Patriots. And Green Bay versus Seattle. That’s a lot of NFL football to watch, especially when you’re supposed to be a father, husband, writer, reader, cat owner, snow ball chucker, garbage taker outer, bathroom user, hypochondriac worrier, video game player, Christmas shopper, college basketball fanatic, college football fanatic, hockey fanatic, and all around professional time waster.

And yet I never feel like I know as much as I should know or could know about the game. I think perhaps I am alone in this insecurity, however, since if you spend any time around sports fans, they’ll begin to tell you all kinds of things that simply aren’t so and they’ll be so certain about it you’d think they’d spent loads of time researching the thing—though of course they didn’t.

My wife has a theory about what has gone wrong in the world. She believes there are too many talking heads. Turn on any news program, go to any movie, spend a moment on any blog or messageboard, and you’ll have thousands of people telling you how much your life sucks and how you should hate every minute of it and, why it’s all ______ ‘s fault.

She’s right, of course; that is what’s wrong with the world. A big chunk of our unhappiness, our discontentedness, or dysfunctional emotions, stems from this constant barrage of stupidity that worms its way into our every wakened moment.

This is no less true in the sports world. Spend fifteen minutes on ESPN and you’ll think your team is the greatest thing that ever happened, spend the next ten on the NFL Network and you’ll want to flush your season’s tickets.

And if your team is 4-7…

Well, everyone on your team will be crap. You coach, one year removed from a Super Bowl, will be crap. Your QB, three years into his career will have already seen his best days. Your defense will have been pretenders all along. And every fan will have an opinion about what is wrong and what must be done to fix it. Never mind they watch one game a week, and not four. Never mind they tend bar, and never carried a football that didn’t say NERF on it somewhere.

Losing does that. But moreover, all this talk does that…

Sooner or later, you’ve got to shut it all out—with sooner being the much better option. I think you guys are at that point in your season. For the sake of your sanity, and for the good of common sense, you have to take all the talking heads, including me, including your local yokel idiot reporter, including your cousin Teddy, who thinks Hines Ward just has to go, and throw them out the window.

Really, I mean it.

Take a vacation. Not from here, but from the other media. Nothing there is going to help you figure out what has gone wrong with the Steelers. Nobody in the media knows more about the Steelers than you guys do. Certainly not me, and certainly not anyone at ESPN. They watch four games a week too, if that, and then they ask their “colleagues” about the other games. So they all end up thinking and saying the exact same thing—and half of it is wrong and the other half is dead wrong.

And as it is with sports, so it is with politics and religion and all the rest of it.

How many of us have read the Bible, the Koran, the Tao te Ching, the Book of Mormon, Dianetics, the Confessions of St. Augustine, the City of God by Saint Augustine, the Bhagavad Gita, the complete works of Nietzsche, a Defense of the Faith, Orthodoxy, and whatever other religious or religion-related works are out there?

And yet find me one dope on the internet who won’t tell you all you ever didn’t want to know about why God is stupid or why you oughta be on your knees right now. I’ll do it myself from time to time, being a dope in good standing, with the minor difference being I actually read all that crap. (Well, the Bible isn’t crap. Please, I’d love to keep this blog entry secular, but you guys really have no idea how long my purgatory is already. So repent, you bastards!)

My point is this. Almost nobody is qualified to talk about anything. And those who are qualified aren’t writing in message boards and blogs. And those coaches who can coach are on the sidelines, making millions, not sitting around like Bob Davies or Lee Corso or whatever other fool lost his job 60 years ago and decided to go into something a little easier. And what I just said about coaches goes double for players.

So keep this in mind if you happen to hear people talking crap about your team. Or telling you what’s wrong with your team. Or telling you who you need to kick off your team.

Or—for that matter— anything else.


Now that I made it clear that you should pay no attention to me, let’s talk about something else.

I was trying to think of the most overrated and underrated teams this year.

It’s a good question. Last year it was easy. Pittsburgh was the most underrated. No question about that.

Indy was the most overrated team. It wasn’t even close. They could have won the Super Bowl and they would have still been overrated. They simply were never one of the best NFL teams of all time, like they were being billed as.

But this year it’s much harder. Sure, Indy is still overrated, but they are not as overrated as last year, and in some way they are a little underrated, because people just naturally expect them to choke it away in the playoffs this year.

So it’s not Indy.

The Bears come to mind. I dislike the makeup of the Bears. They are Indy in reverse. Indy is all offense and no defense. Chicago is all defense and no offense. And what does Indy draft in the first round? Offense. And what does Chicago draft in the first round? Defense.

They are going nowhere with Grossman, though, and everyone knows it. I am tempted to call them overrated because I think too many people think they’re a shoo-in for the SB and I don’t think they are at all.

But that defense is pretty darn good. So I can’t call them the most overrated, since they are just a little overrated.

So what about Denver? Well, maybe earlier they could have held this title, but who is overrating them now? Not me. And not you either. Not with a rook coming in as QB and all that that entails. Nobody really thinks Jake Cutler is going to lead this team to the promised land.

Giants? When they were 6-2 and everyone had declared them locks for the second seed, yes. But now, after the collapse to the Titans? You can’t even get anyone to donate some petrol for that bandwagon.

New England? No. They’re flawed, and everyone knows it, but still pretty good, and everyone knows that too.

San Diego? They struggled against the Raiders, but they’re still a solid team. Lots of people like me think they are right where they deserve to be, as one of the favorites to go to the big game, but not a team that anyone would be shocked to see lose in the playoffs.

Dallas? I admit they might be overrated. They choked away that game to Washington. But I think this team is for real. And unless somehow T.O. implodes, they'll be in the Final Four, so you can’t well call them overrated.

The Seahawks? Heh. The Hawks couldn’t be overrated if they tried. Everybody knows we’re a joke, but a possibly dangerous one, at least at home.

You know what I think?

I don’t think anyone is overrated.

Or underrated.

At this moment in time, I think the whole league is rated about right. All the teams have flaws. All the teams have strengths. The contenders are who you think they are and the pretenders are who you think they are.

Last year Pittsburgh was underrated and Indy was overrated.

Last year the Hawks were underrated and Chicago was overrated.

This year nobody is either.

Last year Pittsburgh and Seattle were great teams and either team would have been a deserving champion.

This year nobody is great and the best you can say about anyone is that they’re not as mediocre as the next contender.

Is this parity in the NFL? Or is it a parody of the NFL?


I would like to say one thing.

The Hawks caught a break from the officials.

For years I have said, they have never caught a break from a bad call that turned a close game. Last night it happened when Jenkins was called for Roughing the Passer against Hasselbeck.

I can see why the ref made the call. It looked like Jenkins was swinging his arm at Hasselbeck’s head. But he wasn’t. It was just a bad call.

There really isn’t any point to this. I just wanted to mark the moment that something went the Seahawks way and they got something they didn’t deserve.

I still can hardly believe it.



Should a fan boo?

It’s a good question. You had a lot of booing this past week. Atlanta fans were booing the Falcons, obviously leading to Vick’s gesticulation of love. The Rams fans were booing their offense for handing off to their stud and league-leading rusher—during a win. And the Seahawks fans booed Jerramy Stevens after his 289832832nd drop.

I have never booed anyone in my life.

No, really. I haven’t. I don’t believe in it. I believe in criticism, but I figure it’s better to give that criticism in the form of full sentences, and not by muttering a monosyllabic groan that sounds like it came from a cow.

Also, I figure most people are trying their best. I always do. Even if a guy isn’t trying his best, I wonder if not trying his best is the best he can try right now.

Yeah, that hurts my head too.

I don’t know. Football games are expensive. If I paid $500 for a couple of tickets, I might want to express my displeasure by growing udders too. But I doubt it.

So booing is for cows.

Keep this in mind when you hit the comments button…


Hawks Biggest Obstacles:

1. San Diego
2. Dallas
3. Indy
4. Chicago
5. Baltimore
6. New Orleans
7. New England
8. Cincinatti
9. Kansas City
10. Denver


Pittsburgh over Tampa, Seattle over Denver, Baltimore over Cincinatti, Rams over Cards, Saints over 49ers, Arkansas over my Gators, Navy over my Army yet again, anybody with football pads over Notre Dame, Rambo over Rocky, blogs over message boards, Shaun Alexander over 100 yards finally, Cowher gone over Cowher limbo, Alastair Sim over all other Scrooges, regular suicide contest over that lame one Sonny came up with, purgatory over hell. Enjoy.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Week 12 Game Thread: Steelers at Ravens
Meet the Ravens Team Leaders
I'm tired and want to get to sleep. But I think you know what to do. It's Ravens week. And, unfortunately, it's playoff time already. This is Week 3 of the playoffs.
What am I giving thanks for? a.) The defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers. b.) Google image searches. Keywords? Ravens and mug shots.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Week 12 LOTW and Sonny's Fucked-Up Suicide Pool That I Made Up

Suicide Winner
Dunn (Chicago, San Diego, Indy, Patriots)
Jim is the proud owner of a Brenden Haywood Bobblehead doll!!!!
(Which looks like this, but is not Jerry Stackhouse and may or may not be broken!!!)
Rules for the New Game Below......

Lock of the Week Standings

Frankstown (2-0)
Signor (3-1)
Valvis (3-1)
Dunn (2-2)
Jon D. (1-1)
Matty Hu (1-0)
Arizona Steeler (1-2)
Sonny (1-2) -- Yeah that's right, I forgot to pick on my own blog.
Lauren (0-2)
Overall: 13-8 (62%)

Sonny's Fucked-Up Suicide Pool That I Made Up (SFUSPTIMU)
Okay, if this game sucks and nobody likes it, blame me. But I thought up a new kind of suicide game that might be fun. Rules are simple.
1.) Pick two NFL teams that ARE NOT PLAYING EACH OTHER.
2.) Pick the team that you think will score more points this week.
3.) If you're right you move on.
4.) You cannot use these teams again.
Example: Let's say I chose Cincinnati over Arizona last week. Cinci scored 31. Arizona scored 17. I would move on, but I could no longer use either Cinci or Arizona.
Sound like fun? I don't care. Just try it.
Week 12 Lines

NFL Lines For Week 12

Miami-2.5 At Detroit

At Dallas -11 Tampa Bay

At Kansas City -1 Denver

Jacksonville -3 At Buffalo

At NY Jets -6 Houston

At Baltimore -2.5 Pittsburgh

Cincinnati -3 At Cleveland

At Minnesota -6 Arizona

At St. Louis -5.5 San Francisco

At Atlanta -3 New Orleans

Carolina -4.5 At Washington

At New England -3 Chicago

At Indianapolis -9.5 Philadelphia

NY Giants -3 At Tennessee

At San Diego -13 Oakland

At Seattle -10 Green Bay

The Exact Moment You Know

First, give Jim Dunn a round of applause for winning he Suicide contest.

Also, Dunn wants to know what’s wrong with the Seahawks, and it’s a fair question. And though I’m not sure I have a good answer, I’ll try to answer it later on. But first I want to talk about something else.


A strange thing happened this Sunday. My Seahawks were eliminated from Super Bowl contention.

Wait a minute, Jim, you say. The Hawks lead that division. They are tied for the second seed in the conference. Pretty soon they’ll get back their stud players, like Hasselbeck, Engram, and Locklear. Nobody in the NFC looks that strong, including Chicago. There are 6 games left and you only play two with winning records, and one of those is at home, where you have lost three regular season games in the last three years. Surely you aren’t throwing in the towel on the season now.

I am doing exactly that.

It isn’t that the Hawks lost to the 49ers. Even good teams have bad games. San Diego, who I think is the best team out there, lost to a fair to middling Kansas City. Teams lose sometimes. A loss doesn’t necessarily spell doom. Look at the Steelers last year.

But there is a moment in every season when you know—when you become certain—that the season is headed for the penthouse or the doghouse. Last season, for me, it was the Dallas game. When Babs picked off Beldsoe and ran it back into field goal range, I didn’t even need to see the game-winning kick, I didn’t even need to see the rest of the games, I knew that season was special and that we’d be going to the Super Bowl.

And even when we struggled against San Francisco and Tennessee last year, I knew we were going to the Super Bowl. And even when the pundits pointed out we never won a playoff game, I knew we were going to the Super Bowl. And even when our MVP running back left in the first quarter of the Washington game with a concussion, I knew we were going to the Super Bowl. And even when nobody but Hawk fans picked the Seahawks to beat Carolina, mighty road warrior Carolina, can’t-be-stopped-Steve-Smith Carolina, defense is going to chew the Hawks up and shit them out Carolina, I knew we were going to the Super Bowl.

Destiny is destiny.

The season before, when we made it to the playoffs and lost to the Rams, I never held out much hope we’d make it to the big game. I’d stopped believing that when Hawks lost to the Rams the first time, giving up a 17 point fourth quarter lead. From that game on—despite the fact we were 3-1—I never thought we had a shot.

Every team has a moment like that in every season. The defining moment when you, as a fan, know your team in prime time or prime cut. I don’t think this phenomenon is special to me. Surely you Pittsburgh fans have felt it from time to time, season to season, that moment when, no matter how much you hoped you were wrong, you knew the season was over.

My moment for the Seahawks this year came when Seneca Wallace chucked away our last chance in San Francisco. That interception, while not the only reason we lost the game, was the exact moment I knew our season was no damn good and our team was no real contender. If destiny was on our side, we would have struggled in that game and won. It was an important game to win, and Super Bowl teams win the important ones, no matter how they struggle otherwise.

Holmgren can scream all he wants. Ain’t gonna change destiny. Hass can come back and Alexander can return to form. Ain’t gonna change destiny. We can win every game left on our schedule, win the division, get a bye and a home game. Ain’t gonna change destiny. You can hope against hope, wave your banners, rub your daughter’s Buddha belly for luck before games, eat nothing but blue cheese and limes until the Super Bowl, promise God you’ll go to church every non-football Sunday for the rest of your life, and it ain’t changing destiny.

The die are cast and you’re staring down pea-soup green snake eyes.

Destiny is destiny.


Now, what’s wrong with the Seahawks?

It would be easy to point to the injuries. Certainly you can’t ignore them. When you lose you stud RB and your stud QB and parts of your line and your TE and one of your best receivers for weeks and weeks, you’re going to have problems.

But it’s not injuries that are the key problem. Not really. It’s three things, in order from least important cause to greatest.

1. Timing

We’ve had unlucky timing. For some reason we have been getting people at their best. Like Chicago. They were ripping things up early on when we faced them, and they’ve cooled off considerably since then. It was just bad luck we faced them when we did. San Francisco is another example of bad timing. The couldn’t do squat early in the season, getting their doors blown off by most everyone, but they turned it around just in time to face us.

This sounds like excuse making, but it isn’t. A good team should win those games anyway. But there’s a difference between facing the Giants without five of their defensive starters, like the Bears did, and facing them with a full team. Those breaks went to us last year; this year they’re going to other teams.

2. Holmgren

Almost everything he’s done this year has been stupid. And not just stupid, but stubbornly stupid.

I don’t want to give you a big run down of mistakes he’s made, the getting away from the run game after game when it’s working, the going for an unnecessary first down when the game is all but rapped up and all you have to do is kick a chip shot field goal, the ridiculously predictable and repetitive play-calling that goes Sunday after Sunday like this:

1st Down: pass (Incomplete.)

2nd Down run (2 yards.)

3rd Down pass (complete for 6 yards.)

4th Down: punt.

No, let’s not go through it all because I don’t think you want to be bored by it and I certainly don’t want to relive it. But let’s look at one play in microcosm.

It’s late in the fourth quarter and you’re facing fourth and two, down by six points. Your MVP RB has made a return to the field this very day, but he hasn’t done squat. He’s got about 30 or so yards for the entire game.

Meanwhile, you have your backup QB in the game, who has struggled with his throwing all day, but who has quick feet.

The Niners are going to stack the box.

What do you do?

Why, you hand the ball off to Alexander, of course.

This is Holmgren’s problem. Arrogance. He believes that he should never have to call a play that will deceive the opposing team, but merely do the same old plays over and over again while doing them better than anybody else.

And that’s a fine philosophy unless—unless it isn’t fucking working.

If it’s not working the whole game, why do you think it will work with the game on the line? Why not fake the hand-off, roll Wallace out, and give him an option to either run or throw for the first down?

What? Running to the left? Are you trying to make everyone remember that the Hawks screwed up and lost Hutchinson? Are you trying to rub that gaff in to show your displeasure to Ruskell and front office? Cause that’s the only way that playcall makes any damn sense.

I love Holmgren. He’s a great head coach and an even better human being, but he’s had his head up his ass this entire season. Hopefully he can turn it around.

Or who knows how far we’ll fall.

3. Toughness

The team is soft.

I can’t tell you how much it pains me to say that.

I am not soft. I come from the hardest section of Jersey City. I spent most of my childhood with my stomach growling and fighting gangs of kids twice my size who liked to set skinny white kids on fire because they saw Roots and held a grudge. I’m an ex-amateur boxer, a body builder, and I spent some time toting a gun and a grenade around in defense of my country.

And I like the Seattle Cottonhawks.

Hell, it’s a miracle some of them can stand, having jelly for a spine.

This is not true of all the players. Matt Hasselbeck, Walter Jones, Bobby Engram, and DJ Hackett are excused from this discussion. The rest of them are soft. Some are just kinda soft, like Darryl Jackson. And some of so soft they’ll have a second career as pillows, like Jerramy Stevens.

Stevens is so soft he got kneed in the nuts on national television and giggled like a schoolgirl. Had to have Robbie Tobeck defend his honor like they were pinned or something. And Robbie is like 4 foot 2. That’s how soft Stevens is.

The Seattle Seafeathers.

The defense is not excused from this conversation. Soft, soft, soft, right down the line. I tried to think of one exception and failed. Maybe Lofa Tatupu, maybe Rocky Benard. Maybe. But no, probably not.

Hill and Tatupu were not soft last year. But something seems to have happened to them in the meanwhile. Maybe they got here and the soft disease took them over. One year in and already they fit right in. Soft, soft, soft.


It isn’t just missing tackles, it’s shying away from contact. It isn’t just not getting the yards, it’s avoiding the hit. It isn’t just missing the game, it’s missing it when you could play.

You want to know what’s wrong with the Hawks, Dunn?

200 + yards to Frank Gore.

Are you kidding me?

They’d probably give up 100+ to Al Gore.

That’s what’s wrong with em, Dunn.


And again, you have to lay it on Holmgren’s doorstep. And also Ruskell’s. After hearing all the Ruskell talk about bringing in “character” guys, I wish he’d bring in some players with the character to show up for work on Sundays, take the hits, and dish some out.

Cause it’s getting kinda embarrassing for a big strapping fellow like myself to say I like the Seattle Softhawks.

Seattle’s Main Obstacles:

1. Everyone, it seems


Baltimore over Pittsburgh, Cincinatti over Cleveland, Tough Favre over Soft Seattle, Rams over the 49ers, New England over Chicago, USC or the SEC champions over a lame rematch, anybody over Joe Theismann, please, black people over Kramer, destiny over hope, at least for now, turkey over stuffing. Happy Thanksgiving, and enjoy.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Week 11 Steelers-Browns Game Thread

He may have mentioned it before. But in case you forgot. He's a soldier.

Leave your Steelers-Browns game comments here. The Steelers, who seem to have lost that road jersey mojo, look for their first road win of the season. Personally, I would like to see if they can exploit a weak Browns run defense and dominate the TOP in a game...control the ball and the clock....and play some old fashioned low-turnover, smashmouth football.

Hopefully the SteelForReal gameday curse with continue with Lieutenant Winslow up top.

I'll be out of town and away from my computer. Hope to see some comments (about a win) upon my return. Until then, I leave you with this:

Friday, November 17, 2006

Browns Week LOTW and Suicide Pool

Who's gonna be the big winner tonight? Jimmy, that's who. Now which one? We're not certain

Lines to Ponder for LOTW

At Kansas City -9.5 Oakland
Indianapolis -1.5 At Dallas
At New Orleans -3.5 Cincinnati
Pittsburgh -3.5 At Cleveland
At Philadelphia -13 Tennessee
At Baltimore -4 Atlanta
At Carolina -6.5 St. Louis
At Houston -2.5 Buffalo
New England -6 At Green Bay

At Tampa Bay -3.5 Washington
Chicago -7 At NY Jets
At Miami -3.5 Minnesota
At Arizona -2 Detroit
Seattle -3.5 At San Francisco
At Denver -2.5 San Diego

Monday Night Football Line
At Jacksonville -3.5 NY Giants

Suicide Survivors

Dunn (Chicago, San Diego and Indy) and Valvis (San Diego, Giants, Denver)

Lock of the Week Standings

Signor (3-0)

Dunn (2-1)

Valvis (2-1)

Frankstown (1-0)

Anonymous (1-0)

Matty Hu (1-0)

Jon D. (1-1)

Arizona Steeler (1-1)

Sonny (1-2)

Lauren (0-2)


Overall: 13-8 (62%)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Photo Caption of the Week

So, I'll start things off.

"Yo, Smoot, this ain't Lake Minnetonka."

"15 yards for ass interference."

"Dude, I just plaaaaayyyyy for San Francisco."

Better Never Than Late, But I’m Going to Make You Suffer Through One Anyway

Sorry about this being late. I know you all wait with great expectation to read whatever I spew forth from this keyboard, but you have to realize that you are just a few of the millions who long for my company. And of course, Pittsburgh fans are a low priority for me.

Seriously, I overslept. My dog ate my blog entry. My wife has a crush on the Smiling Bob character in those Enzyte commercials.

Wait, how did that slip in here?

I watched just about all the games this weekend. I try to do that. I don’t mind being a complete homer, but I don’t want to be a stupid complete homer. Fortunately, those games I don’t get to watch totally, I get to see in short (10-15 minutes) summaries on the NFL Replay section of On Demand. These are invaluable, if incomplete, as you can watch all the games in the league in under three hours.

Anyway, having watched all the games, in this suspect manner, I think a good idea would be to summarize what I thought of them and what I think of the teams here at the half way plus one mark.


I saw that Dunn picked this for his suicide game, which made sense on the face of it, but I knew to stay away from it. A classic let-down game that played out that way. The Colts continue to struggle against the league’s lesser lights and the national press continues to say that it’s not only no big deal, why, it’s positively great! What the Colts need is lots and lots of one point victories where they look like idiots most of the game. The more a team struggles, the better that team is. According to this logic, Arizona should be Super Bowl Champs this year, beating the Raiders 1-0.

Buffalo is Buffalo. They’ll be shuffling off now.


Gays versus goons, and the gays won. The 49ers are playing much better. In the past two weeks, they’ve beaten the Vikings and their 90 year old QB and Detroit and their never-been QB. Now they’re talking about the playoffs in San Francisco, which is kinda like talking about snow in hell.

Detroit was some people’s sleeper pick in the NFC. Looks more like a coma pick now.


Cincinatti gave up 42 points in the second half. I don’t even know how that is possible by a professional team. 42 points. In a half. Double that up and you have given up 84 points in a game. These are professionals, mind you. 42 points. These were not defensive scores. They were offensive points. Let me put it for you this way— in ten games this past week, the two teams combined didn’t account for 42 points the entire game. I will not pick the Bengals to win another game this year.

San Diego is a stud team capable of winning the Super Bowl. Their problem is the same problem the Bears have. They start a first-year starter at QB. Those teams do not win Super Bowls, as you Steeler fans found out with Ben after a 15-1 rookie season.


Cleveland is playing better, but the Atlanta love fest is over, thank Jesus. Vick is a joke, and he has been a joke since Day 1. The guy isn’t an NFL QB, not because he can’t make the throws downfield, which of course is troublesome, but because he hasn’t the bearing to be a team leader. You see that bearing in some guys. Like Favre, Brady, Manning, Hasselbeck, and—I’ll throw you a bone—Roethlisberger. You don’t see it with Vick. I’ll give you an example—here’s a paraphrased quote that Vick said in each of his last two news conferences, both losses to sorry teams:

“Maybe I could have done something more. I’m the captain of this ship. I could have maybe made a play.”

Maybe? Are you freaking kidding me? Who else is going to make the play if not the freaking QB? Especially one that is supposed to redefine the position? Especially one who gets paid what he gets paid? What, should the right guard make a play? Maybe the mascot should have swooped in and made a play. Instead, you have this loser dropping the ball when he’s not even hit. Now I know why his name is Vick. Give him a cough drop. He’s a choker.

The Browns are tied with the Steelers and breathing down the Bengals neck. At the beginning of the season, if you had said that, you’d have wondered how the Browns got so good. As it stands now, they’re improved, which is something, I guess.


Okay, Baltimore won. Anybody impressed? Me neither. You can’t get down 26-7 to the Titans and expect me to think you're a serious contender. I don’t care you have, in true troll-speak, the greatest defense in the history of the universe times a hundred billion multiplied by infinity, go, go, Ravens! And since I’m a Seahawks fan, and all I do is complain about officiating, I’ll say the Titans got jobbed by the officials in this one. And therefore, so did the Steelers.

The Titans are rebuilding. Vince Young looks good so far.


I love the Redskins. They’re like an inept Yankees. All they do is spend money and help the economy, and all they do is lose. The game hasn’t passed Joe Gibbs by, the game has passed Dan Snyder by. And it has passed Al Davis by. And it has passed Jerry Jones by. And it has passed by all the prick owners who think they are bigger than the game, and know more about the game than anyone, just because they have a lot of money. The game has passed by jobbing your fans to pay through the nose for average players and even more average assistant coaches. The game has passed by winning just because your name is the Redskins, the Cowboys, the Raiders, the Steelers. In this new NFL, you have to earn your place in the Super Bowl, not just outspend your opponent, not just flash your credentials at the door. And that’s what makes the NFL the best of the sporting leagues. I’m happy to see the Redskins implode, if for that message coming through loud and clear, even if it means seeing a class guy like Gibbs suffer because of it.

Philadelphia is one of a number of schizophrenic teams that includes Jacksonville, Atlanta, Carolina, and New England that look like world-beaters one week and egg- beaters the next. They’re a hard read. If they get hot, they could be a Super Bowl winner. If they don’t, they might not have a winning record. With all these teams it seems prudent to split the difference. A borderline playoff team that is, at best, one and done.


This is one game I didn’t watch. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. It’s too painful. However, I did catch the replays and the 92384383209 ESPN pundits debating on whether Favre would play another 10 years or at least until the rapture disappeared everyone but me, Borat, and Bill Clinton. Here’s my opinion on Bret Favre’s retirement. He will retire when he retires. I don’t care when that will be. I don’t give a turkey’s tail feather if it’s tomorrow or ten billion years from now. Green Bay is an average team. They have been an average team since a year after Holmgren left. Why the QB of an average team merits this much discussion I don’t know. It’s almost as bad as handing over your network to an average Dallas Cowboys receiver.

Minnesota, after beating Seattle, has not won. This is the Beating-the-Super-Bowl-Loser Curse. Pittsburgh is suffering the same thing. The good news for Minnesota is this curse seems to last only half a season, but by then they should be long out of the playoff picture. It would help, however, if they got an offense. Because there’s also the Have-No-Offense Curse, which loses you a lot of games.


The always good philosophy of Our-Coach-Is-So-Smart-And-Our-System-Is-So-Perfect-That-We-Don’t-Need-Any-Talented-Players is finally starting to show its fruit here. This same philosophy let the Steelers get rid of Hope and Von O and Randel El and has contributed to this season’s struggles. When will teams learn? Sure, you don’t want to spend too much to keep players. But you should pay the asking price or a close proximity of that. I believe most players, save jerkwads like Steve Hutchinson, will act in good faith with the team they presently are on. All you need to be as an organization is fair. The Patriots, probably after they jettisoned Lawyer Malloy, really believed they could plug any player into any position and win Super Bowls. (Or any coach into an coaching spot and win Super Bowls.) That might be true of one player. Or even two. But when you get to that third or fourth player, especially if it’s on the same side of the ball, it is no longer true. And God help you if there are injuries. New England could certainly use Deion Branch now. But I’m glad the guy is in a Seahawks uniform.

It’s hard to read this Jets team too. Add them to the schitzo lot. It’s especially hard to know what to think of this New England win. Have they really turned the corner? Or did a former NE coach simply have enough intimate knowledge of his former team to pull out an upset that otherwise would never happen. Again, I’ll split the difference. The Jets are an 7-9 or 8-8 team, which, considering where they were projected to be at the beginning of the season, is one hell of a job by both their coaches and players, especially Chad Pennington.

As for all that talk about NE England being such a class organization—- We’ve been hearing that crap for years and years, haven’t we?—- that's some classy head coach who thinks a handshake with a former assistant is as distasteful as giving a handjob to Osama bin Laden.


You play to win the game. But Herm always loses these kinds of games. I love the guy. My favorite coach in the league. He’s everything I would every have wanted my dad to be. Tough, funny, hardworking, fair. (My dad was tough, anyway.) But the guy is a mediocre head coach.

As a Gator fan, we used to say that Ron Zook coaches well enough to just lose the game. I feel that way about Herm too. You’re never going to have a bad season with him. You’re not going to have many losing seasons. But you’re not going to win a Super Bowl either. I’m not sure why, but it has something to do with his conservatism in life and on the field. He is like a more energetic, funnier Tony Dungy. In fact, he was an assistant under Dungy at Tampa.

KC will go to the playoffs as the last team in, win an early upset, and then bow out on a late FG. This script has been followed so many times that Dungy and Edwards ought to copyright it.

Miami is starting to be the team many projected them to be at the start of the season. But too late. One thing we do know, if anyone goes undefeated again, it won’t be this lame organization.


Are the Jacksonville Jaguars a good team that sometimes plays bad or a bad team that sometimes plays good. I can’t figure it out. You shut-out the Steelers but you give up a gazillion points to Washington but you blow out the Jets but you lose to the Texans twice. I don’t get it and I don’t want to get it. As far as I’m concerned, I’m not paying any more mind to this team until they can prove to me they can put together a three game winning streak, since those are the only teams that ever won a Super Bowl.

Houston is competitive now. Good for them. And good for Texas. It couldn’t have been fun for the ego to see headlines week after week like “Texans Suck Again, Admit to Liking It.”


Denver is one more performance like this from me putting them in the pretender aisle. They lost to a lame Rams team. They beat New England, but that victory is no longer as impressive as it seemed at the time. They nearly got worked by the Raiders. This team has issues and, despite a fairly solid defense, I’m not sold that they are among the NFL elite. I don’t even think they belong in front of San Diego anymore.

On another note, what happened to Shanahan’s face? I can’t look at the dude. It looks like somebody ran over his nose with a zamboni. Was he a boxer for years or something? I mean, you’re rich. Get reconstructive surgery or something. Stop scaring the kids in Denver.

Oakland. They will lose and keep losing until Al Davis dies.


The Rams are done. If you can’t beat the Hawks’ second stringers, you’re not going anywhere. Just imagine the psychological blow. No MVP running back in either game, no Pro-Bowl starting QB in the latter game, and you lose both? To your most hated rivals. On last minute drives after taking a late lead. After being spotted leads in both games, including a gift TD on a 90 yard fumble return? Done. Done. Done in the division and done in the wild-card. Done.

Of course, the Rams should have been done long before this. They were getting by on smoke and mirrors. Sneaking out of games against the likes of Green Bay and Detroit and Arizona and losing to the likes of San Francisco—before San Francisco started playing better, mind you. But does the national press notice any of this? Nope. You couldn’t find an ‘expert’ who picked the Hawks. To them the Rams were the next great thing, going to run through those lame Seahawks and at least get that division crown closer to New York, where it belongs. Never mind the Rams have no run defense and have been giving up an average of 36346 points a game. I doubt those folks even watch any games that start later than 10 am eastern.

Seattle is a Super Bowl contender this year, as most sane people thought at the start of the season. My only concern with them is that they have yet to field a full team and it takes time for teams to gel and to get continuity. Especially the Hawks. The west coast offense is all about timing and timing takes, well, time. Losing Hasselbeck those few games, and Shaun all those other games, and Bobby Engram all those other games, and not having Deion Branch and Hasselbeck working together all those other games, and not having Stevens all those other games, not to mention all the line changes, means that the Seahawks are essentially starting the offense all over again here in Week 11 or possible Week 12.

Objectively speaking, in a very even (or some would say uneven) NFC, I still think this team should be considered co-favorites with the Bears. And the Bears only get that much credit because it will be difficult to wrest away home field now.


Before the game, some people were saying that Arizona would play inspired football because of the fact they were honoring Pat Tillman. But this Cardinals team, and organization, is beyond any such inspiration. They are who we know they are. They’re the Cardinals and no heroism from a great man like Tillman is going to change that.

Dallas is another schitzo team, or maybe obsessive-compulsive, or maybe manic- depressive, depending on T. O.’s disorder of the week. What they aren’t is consistent, and I’m not impressed with this team at all. Romo, Romo, Romo. When your name rhymes with homo and you wear spandex, it can’t be good. That said, he’s better than the stiff they got rid of. If they can learn not to lose divisional games against the hapless Redskins they’ll make the playoffs and send Parcells out like the loser he’s been ever since he left the Giants.


When I talked about this game prior to the game, I said I would use this game as a measuring stick for telling if the Saints are for real. Or if they were frauds. Result?


Maybe this. Maybe that. Maybe something.

A seven point loss on the road where you spank the Steelers defense around isn’t exactly enough to write them off as a joke. But a 7 point loss where you give up 38 isn’t enough to say they’re a good team either. I think this team is just—okay. You know, some teams are like that. As fans we always want to say this team is great and this team sucks, but sometimes neither is the case. Sometimes a team is right down the middle.

The Saints, if they make the playoffs, won’t be going far. A round tops, probably an away game. And that’s okay. It’s especially okay for this team.

Pittsburgh keeps hope alive another week. Which is kinda like that guy who gets twisted between the subway car and the railing. Call the wife. Let him say his final goodbyes. Because when the train moves, this team’s a goner.


I wish I was more likable, because if I wasn’t such a butthead people would listen to me the first time I say things and I wouldn’t have to repeat it ad nauseum. Like Rex Grossman. For months I’ve been saying, as a big Gator fan, that this young man is the real deal. He will end up being a solid and probably Super Bowl winning QB. He may go down as being the best Bears QB ever, certainly in the modern era. But he is not ready for that yet. He is basically a redshirt freshman playing the one position on the football field that cannot tolerate inexperience if you want to contend for winning a Super Bowl. Nobody in his first full year of starting has ever won a Super Bowl. Not even Brady. If you’ll recall, Bledsoe started the playoff games to get him there. Brady took it from there.

The Bears did not impress me Sunday night. They were going up against a Giants team that was missing five players on defense, including Strahan, Emmons, and that other guy whose name nobody can spell-- Ukalele? Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral? Huey Lewis?—and Toomer and Petitgout on offense. Yet despite all these injuries, it took Coughlin’s incredibly stupid playcalling and then the entire team playing sleepy-time for the Bears to put the game away. A really dominant team would have destroyed the Giants that night. They would have at least won solidly, instead they trailed at the half and continued to show that they are weak in run defense. Teams with a strong running game (like, ahem, Shaun Alexander) can take this team out.

The Giants will not be a factor the rest of the season. Mark my words. Unless they get their defensive studs back fast, they will not make the playoffs. They have 4 and maybe 5 more losses on their schedule.


If I was not impressed with the Bears, I was really not impressed with the Panthers. This is the team everyone picked to go to the Super Bowl? I was laughing about it in pre-season. They picked up nobody but Me-Shawn Johnson and that was supposed to push them over the edge? What’s next? All we need in congress is Democrats and we’ll win the war?

The Panthers are not contenders. In fact, I’m declaring this week’s game between them and the Rams as Pretender Bowl 2006. Winner comes out even more of a pretender than they went into it with Sean Salisbury declaring them the “team to beat” in something or other and then slipping off to the green room for another hit off the old canteen.

Meanwhile, Tampa is sorry old Tampa again. Feels like home. Just please, bring back the winking pirate. This pewter and black nonsense is just way too butch for this lot of losers.


There. Now I’m done. I made up for my tardiness by boring you for a long time. Ain’t I sweet?


1. San Diego
2. Indy
3. Chicago
4. Denver
5. Philly
6. Baltimore

Nobody else deserves to be on this list.

Baltimore over Atlanta in the over-hyped QB bowl, New Orleans over Cincy in the going in the toilet bowl, Carolina over St. Louis in the pretender bowl, Seattle over San Fran in the end of the silly San Francisco playoff talk bowl, Pittsburgh over Cleveland in the can you believe this is for last place? bowl, San Diego over Denver, Jacksonville over the New York replacements, Ohio State over Michigan, WVU over Pittsburgh, FSU over nepotism, Washington State over UW in the Apple Cup, Auburn over Alabama in the Iron Bowl, tsunamis over Japan, Dunn over Valvis in the Suicide contest, my dad over your dad, unless your dad is Herm Edwards. Enjoy.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Week 10 Steelers-Saints Game Thread
What is a quarterback, Alex?
This is the Saints week game thread. Post your comments here. Eight games left. The magic number is eight. It's all they can win.
And why is Drew Brees on Jeopardy? I dunno. But hopefully he is IN jeopardy. After what my spotlight did to Ike Taylor a week ago, I figured that putting Drew on here might be a decent jinx. Anything is worth a shot at this point.
By the way, I believe this is the first backfield duo of a Steelers opponent I've ever interviewed. I can't find a link to my profile on Brees from college (Purdue...booooo!!!!), but I do have the Reggie Bush link
They took out the whole chunk about how excited he was to play in Texas. Ha!! Second overall!!! Maybe I jinxed him then, too.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Where The Safest Bet Is A Winner Named "Jim"

Lock of the Week Standings

Dunn (2-0)
Signor (2-0)
Valvis (2-0)
Anonymous (1-0)
Matty Hu (1-0)
Jon D. (1-1)
Sonny (1-1)
Arizona Steeler (0-1)
Lauren (0-2)
Overall: 10-5 (66%)

2 Alive (w/ already chosen teams): Valvis (San Diego & Giants), Dunn (Chicago & San Diego).
6 Dead: Anonymous (Pittsburgh), Signor (Carolina), Jon D. (Pittsburgh), Sonny (Philly); Arizona Steeler (Non Pick), Matty Hu (Non Pick)

This Week's Lines (HOME)
Kansas City -1 MIAMI; JACKSONVILLE - 10 ½ Houston; San Diego - 1 ½ CINCINNATI; ATLANTA -8 Cleveland; Baltimore -7 TENNESSEE; INDY - 11 ½ Buffalo; PITTSBURGH -4 New Orleans; PHILADELPHIA -7 Washington; N.Y. GIANTS -1 Chicago; MINNESOTA -5 Green Bay; NEW ENGLAND - 10 ½ NY Jets; DETROIT -6 San Fran; Denver -9 OAKLAND; SEATTLE - 3 ½ St. Louis; Dallas -7 MIAMI.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Ahhh...the good old days...

Is this where we officially begin to wonder if Coach Cowher is really mailing it in?

Players get benched every day, in every sport. But something about this just doesn't seem right. Is it just me or is this really the first awful game Ike Taylor has played since becoming a starter? I have heard a few fans say "I never hear him mentioned during a game"- wow! he must stink then yinzer! He usually isn't mentioned because the ball doesn't make it over near him very often people! the camera usually doesnt glimpse his entire half of the field.

Coach Cowher has just benched the first true shutdown corner Pittsburgh has had since Rod Woodson.

Can we take a look at the leinency that Coach has had over his epic tenure in Pittsburgh?

  • Kordell Stewart - The posterboy for inconsistency, Interracial Homo-Eroticism and Futility all rolled into one. Stewart was given so many oppurtunities to succeed and he chucked each one of them into the arms of an awaiting cornerback. Coach let Kordell run the offense into the ground for 5 seasons and 3 1/2 games until Tommy Maddox resuced a lost season in 2002. You want to know how bad Stewart was? go back and read that last sentence again.
  • Troy Edwards - Granted, he had a shorter leash than old 'Delly, but still seemed to make it into the starting lineup for the better part of 3 seasons. Never contributed, always had issues hanging on to the ball, bad attitude.
  • Kent Graham - Ok, he didn't make it through half the season but as badly as he played he still got more of a shot to make things right than Ike did.

I guess the most puzzling thing about this is the player Coach chose to teach a lesson, and be honest, that's what this is. This is a guy who has held nearly every opponets top reciever off the board, week in, week out since the beginning of 2005. This is literally the first stink fest I can recall him having. Bill Cowher could have inactivated Santonio Holmes, started Willie Colon for Max Starks, even sat Ben and given Charlie Batch a few starts after the Oakland game. So, why Ike? I hardly believe this is the deepest position on the team. Townsend has been awful, yet he will stick at the #2 CB spot and then who else? go ahead, i'll nothing? ok.

So what are everyone's thoughts on Coach's motives? Does this signify that maybe He is not as close as everyone thinks to heading to North Carolina?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Past, The Present and the Future for Steeler Fans

The Past

Sonny says I shouldn’t talk about the Steelers today, so let’s talk about the Steelers.

Nah, nah, na na na.

Just kidding.

There isn’t any point in talking about what has gone wrong with the Steelers on the field. That’s pretty obvious. Turnovers. Take away the turnovers and the Steelers are 4-4. I don’t say 5-3 because I don’t think the Steelers are as good as Denver right now, even without the turnovers, and I’m not going to take all the turnovers away, since some of those turkeys are earned, rather than given.

A few months ago, after the SB was over and we grew tired of talking about it, or at least I grew tired of having this conversation:

Hawk Fan: The refs.

Steeler Fan: 21-10.

Hawk Fan: The refs.

Steeler Fan: 5 Trophies.

Hawk Fans: 5 Teeth too.

Steeler Fan. Jerramy Stevens.

Hawk Fan: Your mother.

Steeler Fan: What’s my girlfriend got to do with this?

Okay, those last lines didn’t happen. I joke, I joke. Don’t send Dunn after me with his posse of hairy-backed sisters. But those first 4 lines repeated ad infinitum. Anyway, after I got tired of that conversation, I started looking at the coming season and I was shocked at the players the Steelers let get away—players they didn’t try to replace in free agency.

Bettis, Hope, Von O, Randel El. Those four players seemed to me to be, not only four of the best players on the team, but four of the best leaders on the team. So I said I thought the Steelers were going to drop off. I boldly predicted the Steelers would go 6-10.

Steeler fans laughed at me. I don’t blame them. If my team was coming off a SB win, after having beaten the highest seeds possible, all on the road (except for the SB, which was pretty much a Steeler home game), I wouldn’t have thought very much about some turkey on a message board claiming my team would go in the tank.

I was shouted down by Steeler fans who believed that losing Bettis wouldn’t matter since Parker was getting most of the reps. This, of course, was true. Parker was carrying most of the load on the field. But there’s more to a team than what happens on the field.

In the SB, my Hawks were dominating the Steelers all first quarter. The defense was stout, the offense was moving the ball, and the only thing keeping the Steelers hanging around were some calls and dropped passes. I felt pretty confident, and I kept feeling pretty confident. Until…

Until I saw Bettis. He was on the sidelines laughing and telling his teammates that they were going to turn this thing around. No problem. He didn’t even look nervous. He was loose and he made everyone around him feel better. Was he loose? Maybe, maybe not. But it doesn’t matter. He was keeping his cool. Who on the Steelers is keeping their cool now?

You don’t replace that intangible. You can’t replace that. Talent is fairly easy to replace. Leadership isn’t. Bettis made that Steeler team better; and he made that team better if he ran for 1 yard the whole Super Bowl.

Which was pretty much the case.

I think sometimes it takes an outsider to see how valuable someone else’s players are. Fans tend to think in their team that players don’t matter. In their team, the scheme is what matters, the system, and the coach, (which is why they blame him entirely when things go wrong), but on other teams it’s the players. So before he got hurt, Hawk fans didn’t appreciate Shaun Alexander—but others gave him the MVP of the League.

This year ought to show just how special Bettis was.

One of the best ever.


The Present

Now about the season you presently face.

You’re not going to the playoffs. It’s not going to happen. You guys know that. I’m not talking to a bunch of yokels here. Steeler fans are lots of things, many of which are illegal, but they are not stupid football fans. 2-6 means there will be no defense of the SB. Heck, 2-5 meant that.

But that doesn’t mean the season is over.

You have 8 of the second-best games any fan can possibly hope for. The back end of a season already gone to crap.

And I mean that. I’m being almost partially serious. Look, this stuff is stressful. If you love your team, like I love my team, and like I know you love your team, then football season can be more like labor than fun.

Now you can watch the game with a certain amount of aplomb.

You can sip Perrier. You can talk about the Penguins.

This of course is not the optimum case. You’d rather be a contender. But if you must turn in a turkey of a season, probably better to turn in a turkey of a season early. This way no hopes are inflated, only to be deflated later, like marriage.

As a Seahawks fan, I have become a connoisseur of the lost cause. I have learned to revel in losership. It’s very relaxing.

Sometimes I take naps. I write a lot. I travel. I read the great works of literature. I watch Perry Mason on DVD. I get a pedicure. I smoke crack.

In other words, I wait till next season.

Have fun in also-ran land, Steeler fans. I’ll be seeing you in a few weeks.


The Future

The Steelers are the best 2-6 team in history.

No, seriously. The talent is there. The coaching is there. The QB is not as bad as he seems at the moment. The defense misses Hope in the secondary, I think, and Von O on the line, but these are not irreplacable players (but come on, front office, you have to try to replace them…)

When I looked at the schedule at the start of the season, I said the Steelers might be 3-5 at the half-way mark. I was right on, except for the inexplicable loss to the Raiders. That schedule was brutal. Jacksonville, Cincinatti, San Diego, Kansas City, Atlanta, Denver? I’m telling you, if my Hawks faced that run of teams, we’d be sitting at 2-6 too. Or maybe 3-5. And that goes for almost any team in the League. The Bears would be 4-4 with that schedule. Maybe New England too. Indy would be 5-3. Most everyone else would have a hard time hitting .500.

The Steelers will bounce back in the second half, but there’s enough challenge there to think that an 8 game run is all but impossible. Say they finish 6-10 or 7-9.

Okay. That means a series of high draft picks. An easier schedule next year. A rested team after no playoffs. And division rivals who draft later and have possibly moved deep into the playoffs— one of which has legal and disciplinary issues all over the place and the other has age issues especially on its defense.

And the other is the Browns.

With some decent management, and barring a disasterous coaching change, I think the Steelers' future is bright. So hold the flag until then.

You know, that butter on burnt toast one.


1. Indy
2. Chicago
3. New England
4. San Diego
5. Jacksonville
6. Baltimore
7. Denver
8. Giants
9. Kansas City
10. New Orleans


Steelers over Saints, Seahawks over Rams, Chargers over Cincy, Ravens over Titans, Bears over Giants, Lions over 49ers, Dallas over WhyIsArizonaStillanNFLteam?, MRI on Shaun Alexander’s foot over faith healing, voting over apathy, Valvis over Dunn in the Suicide contest, Jerramy Steven’s crotch over Jerramy Steven’s hands, Louisville over Rutgers, Gators over Spurrier, Saddam swinging over the gallows. Enjoy.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Sunday, Novermber 5 ---Denver Game Thread

I know what you're thinking. Ike Turner. Ike Taylor. Who's the better cover corner? Who hits harder? Who does a better "Proud Mary"? I just wanted this post to be a typical gameday thread. Set up the game and let's discuss it afterwards. Then, here's what happened...I started surfing the web.

You see, I was looking for information on Ike Taylor. And when I searched him, I started reading about Ike Turner. And here comes the almost impossible November 5th, 2006, is Ike Turner's 75th birthday. I'm not shitting you. So, then I thought that it must be tremendously good luck that we have the only Ike in the league on Mr. Turner's 75th.

Then I remembered Ike Hilliard who is still hanging around the league (WR-TB) and when I searched, I found that Ike Reese is also a LB in Atlanta (who had a tackle in the Steelers game).

Long story shorter, we definitely have the BEST Ike in the league anyway. And I hope this brings us good luck, because we need some. Discuss the game here.....

(p.s.-- Also take a look at Ike Taylor's Website and please explain something to me...what the hell is Face Me Ike. Are you supposed to say it like one word "facemeike"? And, while he provides a definition, it still explains nothing. Note to Ike: Stop making up words and continue shutting down receivers the way you did to Randy Moss last week.)

Friday, November 03, 2006

Sweatpants Will Stay True to Form

In a development that still somehow managed to shock me, Sweatpants will actually not be activated with Haynes out. They will instead activate John Kuhn. Because, as history tells us, nothing injects life into your running game like a 255-pound, white fullback from Shippensburg.
And if you just glanced quickly at the photo above, take note of where Sweatpants has his hands. Maybe we're frustrated with him on the sideline, but he seems to be enjoying himself.
Good news: Casey Hampton upgraded from questionable to probable.

Awwww, The Denver Broncos!?

Marge: I think owning the Denver Broncos is pretty good.

Homer: Marge, you just don't understand football.

It's been a long time since Hank Scorpio gave the Denver Broncos to his good friend Homer.

They have won 2 superbowls, and appeared, as some of you may remember, in the AFC Championship game last year, hosting our Pittsburgh Steelers.

Now the rematch.

Pittsburgh ended Denver's season last year. Now, with a victory Sunday at Heinz Field, The Broncos, for all intents and purposes, will end the Steelers title defense unofficially.

Denver has played fantastic Defense against subpar offensive competition this year. Even after the 34 that Peyton and the boys hung on them last week, they have allowed 11.1 points per game, 2nd in the NFL. Tearing through offensive juggernauts like the wildly overrated Steve McNair and the Ravens in the cold and rain, allowing only 2 FG to a Chiefs offense that was completley out of sink the week after Trent Green went down, holding the terrible Raiders offense to 3 points and inspiring the hilarious Lamont Jordan towel biting incident.

The lone impressive defensive stand was against the Patriots in New England, when Denver befuddled Tom Brady and his offense.

Offensivley, Denver has been average to say the least. Jay Cutler continues to measure Plummer's locker to see if he has enough room to hang his Vandy diploma when he moves in. Denver's O has only been able to muster 15.7 ppg, 27th out of 32 teams in the National Football leauge. They did, much to the dismay of my fantasy team, ride the legs of Mike Bell, one half of the Running Back simply known as "Uber-Bell" (thanks Mr. Simmons) to 31 points in the loss to Indy last week. The recieving corps consist of stud reciever Javon Walker, aquired this summer in a trade with Green Bay, the Mummy formerly known as Rod Smith and then some white guys. Walker and Smith have combined for 57 catches, 768 Yards and 4 TD's. The next reciever on the list is the afformentioned white guy, the incomperable David Kircus, who checks in with 5 grabs. Basically what I'm saying here is stop Uber-Bell and stop the Horsies.

Plummer has been terrible, a 65.2 passer rating, 7 INT's to his 5 TD's, just not good times.

All of this being said, Denver is 5-2 and tied with San Diego for first in the AFC West. San Diego faces Cleveland this week, so it's safe to say Denver needs a victory to keep pace.

They aren't the Dallas Cowboys, Homer, but they are looking to do some damage to the champs this Sunday at Heinz.

Let's just hope Coach Cowher bought Tom Landry's hat this week and has installed some motivational tools.

This is a good defense, but not impenitrable. This is an average offense that technically, Pittsburgh should be able to neutralize. What do the Steelers have to do to score points on this defense? Let's get some opinions and discussions going on that, because if they can score points, it looks as though the Steelers can pull out a victory.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Friday's Lock of the Week & Suicide Pool: "Good Coaches Win. Great Coaches Cover"
Despite the fact that I already got ambushed like Nicky in Goodfellas when he thought he was about to get made, the Suicide and Lock of the Week continues. Below are the standings followed by this week's lines.
Continuing a trend from last year, our Locks were outstanding.
Also, please take a look below for my very late Thursday post.
Lock of the Week Standings
Anonymous (1-0)
Arizona Steeler (0-1)
Dunn (1-0)
Jon D. (1-0)
Matty Hu (1-0)
Signor (1-0)
Sonny (1-0)
Valvis (1-0)
Overall: 7-1 (88%)
4 Alive (w/ already chosen teams): Arizona Steeler (Chicago), Matty Hu (Green Bay), Valvis (San Diego), Dunn (Chicago).
4 Dead: Anonymous (Pittsburgh), Signor (Carolina), Jon D. (Pittsburgh), Sonny (Philly).
This Week's Lines (HOME)
ST LOUIS -2 1/2 Kansas City; BALTIMORE -3 Cincinnati; NY GIANTS -13 Houston; JACKSONVILLE - 9 1/2 Tennessee; Dallas -3 WASHINGTON; BUFFALO -3 Green Bay; New Orleans -1 TAMPA BAY; Atlanta - 5 1/2 DETROIT; CHICAGO -13 1/2 Miami; Minnesota - 4 1/2 SAN FRAN; SAN DIEGO - 12 1/2 Cleveland; PITTSBURGH - 2 1/2 Denver; NEW ENGLAND -3 Indianapolis; SEATTLE - 7 1/2 Oakland.

Winning, Much Like Pimpin', Ain't Easy
The inevitable laws of physics tell us that what goes up must come down. And, so too, has spun the Steelers yo-yo over the last 11 months. The Steelers have been as clumsy, unfortunate and all-around bad this year as they were flawless, fortunate and all-around good in the playoffs last year. Given our choice of hot streaks...I'd rather it be in the postseason. But, as we look at Week 9, the past is merely, lets instead look at the pluses and minuses that have doomed the 2006 edition.

  • Santonio Holmes: My prediction early in the season was that the biggest weakness of the offense (Wilson at the No. 2 WR) would become one of its biggest strengths by the end of the season (Holmes at the No. 2). 16 catches for 265 yards thus far isn't spectacular, but given his limited playing time, he has made big catches, shown growth as a route runner and is averaging over 16 ypc.
  • Willie Parker: Dullard Steelers fans continue to whine about the lack of a power back in the backfield, but analysts will tell you that the Steelers have found a rare blend of speed and strength in Parker. If Roethlisberger hadn't choked away three games with awful passes, Parker's new contract would be the toast of the league. He is on pace for a 1,300 yard season despite the fact that they have been playing from behind for most of the year. He has the potential to be an 1,600+ yard guy.
  • Defense: The Steelers are sixth in the league in total defense and while the stats book will tell you they have given up 141 points (20.1 ppg), take into account that 21 of those points were scored by the opposing defenses (bringing it down 17 ppg) and there have been several turnovers in the Steelers end that that led directly to short drives.


  • Roethlisberger: Analysts will tell you that it starts and ends with the quarterback. But true fans will tell you that this has never been true in Pittsburgh. No. 7's best quality is that he had spent the past two years being the true essence of the Steeler quarterback--an opportunistic passer who rarely made the big mistake. Obviously the 2006 version has been a different animal. Against Oakland, he not only threw horrible INTs, but he didn't seem to know what to do with the ball in the pocket. Without open receivers, he was indecisive, didn't get out of the pocket and took costly sacks. In fact, he was sacked five times by a team that had recorded just nine sacks in its previous six games. (thanks to Jon D. for the link)
  • Turnovers: Did anyone know that the Steelers have the fourth ranked offense and third ranked defense in the AFC? Right. How would you know? With a -5 giveaway/takeaway ratio, you wouldn't. And when many of those turnovers lead directly to scores, you're screwed.
  • Coaching: The Steelers insistance on changing things that are already working astounds me. First, they slow down the pace of their potential game-tying drive by running down the clock. Then, they ruin any chance of getting the ball back against an inept Raiders offense by calling their first time out with 1:50 left. Not to mention inserting Najeh Davenport at the goalline--who got stuffed and then committed a false start--when Parker has been effective in the redzone who give the Steelers far more options.

Obviously there are more minuses and, maybe, a couple more pluses...what do you think?