Thursday, December 21, 2006

My NFL Wishlist

I think it was Bing Crosby who sang, "It's beginning to look a lot like a wasteland" No, it wasn't Bing, but it may as well of been Sidney Crosby. In case some of our out of state bloggers didn't hear, our corrupt government and horribly inept leaders helped sway a gaming commision to elect to not reward a license for slot machines to a company that was going to build the Pittsburgh Penguins a $290 million arena, ensuring their long term future in this shithole city. Instead, we now have to wait on pins and needles to see if we are going to be a major leauge sports city or some one-horse feeble minded football city like Green Bay or...well, Green Bay.

I know this is a Steeler blog and I am a regular contributor, so this may seem like blaspheme, but I cannot stand the mindset of this city's leaders or sports fans. Let's just hope in the spirit of Christmas, our savior (Mario Lemieux) rises one last time and saves this team. Believe me, having another viable sports franchise in this city only helps the Steelers. (and please, spare me, the Pirates are not in that category) eventually, economic backlash will be felt by the Rooney's in some way shape or form. Soon it will be a city full of old people with Franco Harris shirts on and no one under the age of 30. Just wait. There is a gigantic Hockey following in this city, the fans of the Penguins are more knowledgable, passionate and supportive than any yinzer sucking down IC Light at 9:30 am every Sunday. They, no, we are getting the shaft, as is always the case. Meanwhile the sorority whore who's dad gave her and her friends tickets can continue getting wasted and yelling "woohoo Big Ben". It's enough to make you want to kill.

Ok, I'll try to shift gears here, Christmas-y thoughts, Christmas-y thoughts!!

Despite what you read above, I am a Steelers/NFL fan and when Santa starts squeezing his fat white ass into those red velour pants each year, we start to evaluate and create wishlists, Children want toys, Women want jewelry and Football fans want a Super Bowl. Unfortunatley for us, we had our romp last year, Santa finally delivered the Lombardi to us. This however, does not mean, we can't enjoy our NFL postseason, with a few granted wishes, this postseason can be as good as any other, so without further bitching, complaining and wordiness, is my 2006-07 NFL Postseason Wishlist:

10. Pittsburgh knocking off Cincy in week 17, eliminating them from playoff contention.

come on, this would make a 5-11 season worthwhile! who dey?

9. Indy/New England rematch in the divisional round.

the way it's looking, if they meet, it will be in the Divisional round. This will be intriguing to see them battle in Indy...frankly, I still think New England wins.

8. Baltimore loses in the Divisional Round.

again, no matter what the Steelers do, watching these schmucks lose is always satisfying.

7. 49ers make the playoffs.

8-8 divisional winners are always fun. Don't laugh, it's happening.

6. Jets make a run deep into the AFC playoffs.

untalented, mediocre QB, smallish WR's, and ready to make a run!!! the Jets are capable of beating every team in the AFC pool except San Diego, nothing would be better than a Jets/49ers Super Bowl, and I mean Nothing!

5. The Bears get to the Superbowl.

I mean, they have to make the Superbowl Shuffle sequel right? Only updated to fit 2007 hip hop standards? could you imagine Rex Grossman with Lil' John's Diamond encrusted cup, sipping crunk juice and spitting rhymes while Tommie Harris and Mike Brown cut up on him in the background?

4. Seahawks slip in, make a run and get jobbed by the refs en route to a second straight Super Bowl loss.

I have nothing else against them other than this scenario may make Valvis' head explode.

3. Eagles make the Super Bowl.

Jeff Garcia's "gay" voice on media day would be awesome.

2. The Steelers get a ridiculous amount of help, get healthy and make a run.

do you think ANYONE wants to see them slip in and have them come to their house for a playoff game? no way.

1. The Penguins get a new arena and stay in Pittsburgh as a new dynasty is born.

sorry, you knew that was coming...if I'm wishing for anything, that's the top of my list, come on fat man, hurry down the parkway tonight!

Merry Christmas everyone.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

You say I’m a Dreamer (And I’m Not the Only One)

  • If we’re being completely realistic, there will probably only be two ways the Steelers are involved in the 2006 Playoffs:

    1. ) They have a chance to ruin Baltimore’s home field advantage on Christmas Eve.

  • 2.) If Denver beats Cinci this week, they’ll have a chance to knock the Bengals out of the playoffs on New Years Eve (which looks like it will be a flexed night game now)

    Just like those half dozen sugar cookies right before Christmas dinner, maybe we can be the spoiler.

    However, take a look at your calendars and take note of the year. It’s still 2006. And ’06 will forever have a place in the hearts of Steelers fans. Not simply because they won a championship, but because so much of the season seemed to be coated with black and gold pixie dust.

    For all practical purposes, it’s silly to think that a team that has yet to beat ANY teams with a winning record would beat both Baltimore and Cincinnati. But, practically, winning eight straight games, beating the Colts at home and winning four straight playoff games away from home aren’t supposed to happen, either.

    So let’s suspend practicality for now.

    Because it’s still 2006…

    And to borrow a quote from Dr. Moonlight Graham in Field of Dreams, I say…
    “That's my wish. And is there enough magic out there in the moonlight to make this dream come true?”

    Let’s hope. And take a look at the most likely playoff scenario while we’re at it.

The Golden Scenario (The one that involves things that may actually happen)

1.) The Steelers win both games (25% chance – They’ve already lost to both teams and did you SEE that Ravens game?)

2.) The Denver/Cincy loser also loses their last game. (15 % chance if Denver loses. They play San Francisco at home. 40% chance if the Bengals lose. They have us at home, but we’ve fared quite well in Cincinnati lately.)

3.) Buffalo losing once—vs. TEN and at BAL. (65% chance –Tennessee is playing pretty well, but if we beat BAL and the Chargers win, the Ravens may be locked into the No. 2-seed and resting EVERYBODY.)

4.) Jets losing once – at MIA and vs. OAK. (50% chance – They won’t lose at home in Week 17 with a playoff berth on the line, but maybe that Dolphins team that blanked New England will show up this week.)

Your “Who to Root For This Week” Chart:

Week 16: Steelers, Broncos, Titans, Jets.

Week 17: Steelers, Ravens, San Francisco, Oakland.

(Yeah, frickin’ turnovers have turned us into fans of an eight-team, multi-week parlay.)

If you want to see all the other scenarios, check out this cool website:

Not sure if I’m Dumb or Dumber for taking the time to write this, but…

I might as well finish with a quote of explanation…

Lloyd (Greg): Hit me with it! I've come a long way…. The least you can do is level with me. What are my chances?

Mary (Playoff Chances): Not good.

Lloyd (Greg): You mean, not good like one out of a hundred?

Mary (Playoff Chances): I'd say more like one out of a million. [pause]

Lloyd (Greg): So you're telling me there's a chance.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

In the Time It Took You to Read This

Another Bengal was arrested.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Steelers-Browns Game Thread

When I was 8-Years Old...

  • didn't have to be in playoff contention for the Browns game to mean something.
  • were disappointed when the Browns starter was already injured because that means the Steelers couldn't do it.
  • ...the Browns-Steelers game was on Sunday at 1 p.m. on KDKA.
  • ...there was no NFL Network and you would never watch the Steelers on cable.
  • ...sweeping the Browns wasn't part of a successful season. It was a successful season.
  • ...Paula Abdul was the ideal woman.
  • "blogs" were on the inside of my Mead notebooks. Where only I could read them.
  • Game thoughts go here........

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

My Not So Big and Fat Greek Blog Entry

I’m going to keep this short.

I doubt you want to hear me wax poetic on the NFL and I’m all out of banal philosophy. Dunn's entry's more interesting than anything I have to say this week anyway. But I do want to talk a little about the rules I would change if I could.

1. Roughing the Passer.

When I was growing up, these “roughing the passer” penalties were called flag football. We used to run around in out street cloths with a big red flag hanging out of our pockets. I think this might be a good solution. Give the QBs a red flag, and if the defender grabs it the play is over.

Because right now it’s unfair.

On the one hand, a QB can have 10 defenders hanging on his back, and yet he can still chuck the ball or break away and start running. But G-d forbid somebody taps him after he releases the ball. Guys have gone to Siberia for less.

Part of the problem, I believe, is that in a QB league, there aren’t any QBs. I mean, really. Most starting QBs are average, and the rest suck. You think Manning is great? Brady? Please. I’d take Richard Todd over Manning and Joe Montana over Brady any day.

Did I just say Richard Todd? My word. I’m old—and vaguely stupid.

Still, the QBs are not that good. My QB isn’t that good and neither is yours. Everybody loves this Romo guy. Why? It’s like, “Wow, he can throw the ball 20 yards and it’s near a receiver. He’s the next Marino.”

So now everyone is benching their QB in the hopes that the 234892348th pick in the 2003 draft (which just happened to by Jim Dunn) is the next QB messiah.

But deep down they know he isn’t (Sorry, Jim.)

The question is why? What’s the difference between the Frank Reich backup and the Steve Young backup and these losers they have these days.

Expansion? Laziness? Fathead commecials?

Whatever. Forget about protecting the QBs. Maybe if we did, the backups would be good again. Anyway, here’s my cure for these awful roughing calls:

1. If they get hit fairly, let them get hit. Let the guys play the game without fear that a little push is going to cost his team the ballgame.

2. Declare the slide illegal. If you run, you’re a running back, not a QB any longer. If you don’t like getting hit, don’t run.

3. Any hit to the midsection can be no more than a 5 yard penalty, unless very late and involves driving the QB into the turf. Only knees and heads get 15 yards.

4. The QB must be out of bounds before a roughing call is made. How many times have you seen a player pretend to go out of bounds, juke the defender after he lets up, and run for forty more yards.

2. Intentional Grounding

The intentional grounding penalty makes no sense to me. A QB, in order to avoid a sack, throws the ball away. The ref throws the flag and the penalty is the ball is placed at the spot of the foul and there’s a loss of down.

Sounds great, right?

Except it’s no penalty at all. If the sack happened, the ball would have been spotted at the infraction and there would have been a loss of down. In essence, the penalty only awards the sack they would have gotten if the QB never chucked the ball into the ground.

So again the defense has been screwed. There is no real penalty, but the defense has been denied its sack, not to mention the possible turnover that can come from that.

I say, if you ground the ball, the refs should take away an additional 15 yards from the spot of the foul and you lose the down.

Maybe then QBs wouldn’t chuck the ball to nobody 10 times a game.

3. Freezing the kicker.

No more than one time-out can be taken between plays when the opposing team is lined up to kick a FG. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m sick of waiting 45 minutes every time a kicker lines up for a kick at the end of a half.

I don’t know what the percentage of made-to-failed kicks are after multiple time-outs, but I don’t care.

How come nobody ever freezes the QB before a potential game winning snap?

Or freezes the RB?

Or freezes the on-sides-kicker?

Enough is enough. Stop boring me, or get a ten-yard penalty.

4. Stop the free play on encroachment

Why does the play automatically stop if there’s a false start, but the play doesn’t stop automatically is there’s encroachment?

It seems to me that if a defensive player encroaches you’re telling him he better take out the QB or he’s looking at a freebie chuck down the field.

A five-yard penalty should be a five-yard penalty. Not a game-changing event.

5. Stop giving the ball at the 40 after kicking off the ball out of bounds

Are you kidding me? The 40? With the way people are kicking these days? Why not just give them 3 points and be done with it?

Do you realize this is the only automatic 20 yard penalty in football? (A kick in the end zone and you get the ball on the 20, a kick out of bounds and you get it at the 40. That’s 20 yards. Kinda severe, isn’t it? You can get more yards than that from a spot foul, like pass interference, but it isn’t guaranteed. You can get a 4 yard pass interference call.)

This was that steroids-in-baseball mentality that haunted people in the me-me-all- about-lovely-me 90’s. Why, nobody would watch your sport if you weren’t racking up points like a pinball game. So that started this ridiculous nonsense.

The 35 yardline is fine. The 30 would be better.

Don’t kickers already have too much say in how a game turns out?

6. Move the extra point and the two-point plays back.

They’re too easy.

Especially the extra-point. It might be the most boring play in all of sports (or a close second to the intentional walk.)

No play in any sport should be successful 99% of the time.


I do realize these rules changes would make for lower scoring games. And so? You have a problem with that?

No, me neither.

It’s only the idiots in New York who think we people in fly-over country (or, in my case, ignore-over country) have our eyes light up every time we see a big number. Oooooh a 48-21 game…. What fun!

No, it wasn’t fun. It sucked. The game was decided by a million penalties, rather than execution. Give me a 14-10 game any day.

Let the guy make the catch, rather than the plea for a PI.

Let the QB stay back in the pocket, rather than run for 30 yards and slide like a sissy.

Let the kicker be put in his proper place in the football universe. A sidenote, an after-thought, unless he has to hit that big FG.

Let the two-point play be as hard a long FG.

Let the extra-point at least be interesting.

And let there be peace on earth.

And I have a feeling that that last one is as likely as the others.


Weird fact of the week: On the day that Terry Bradshaw played his last game for the Steelers, beating the New York Jets 34-7, D’ Brickashaw Fergerson was born.



I think not.


Hawks Biggest Obstacles

1. Dallas
2. San Diego
3. New England
4. New Orleans
5. Indy
6. Bengals
7. Chicago
8. Ravens
9. Jets
10. Jaguars


Pittsburgh over the Land of Cleve, Seattle over Arizona, Chicago over the Don’t Cares, Bengirls over Raiders, San Fran over Green Shoulda Retireds, US still not over the day that lives in infamy, college overtime over NFL overtime, NFL playoffs over BCS, Penguins over the Rangers, Manny Ramirez overrated, Terry Bradshaw over Richard Todd, Tony Roma’s over Tony Romo, Wal-Mart's prices over idealism, number of eyes I have over Rex Grossman’s QB rating, over and out. Enjoy.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Saga Of Sweatpants

It Wasn't Supposed to be this way. It wasn't Supposed to be this way at all.

And so, the absolutley befuddling tenure of Duce Staley has come to a close in Pittsburgh. I can't even begin to start to analyze the why not then, why now aspects, they will make you want to kill yourself.

Duce kept a rosterspot and sweatsuit, warm, for the better part of 2 years. Steeler nation has been wondering aloud since the start of the '05 season, when injuries sidelined old 22, when the team would cut him loose. Even at the beginning of this year's Super Bowl defense, when, Ben Roethlisberger's apendectomy forced the re-signing of a 3rd QB, we all thought, finally, the end of the Staley era. Instead? releaseing the teams best kick coverage man, beginning the downward spiral of the entire special teams unit. All the while, Ducey sat, snug in his sweats, looking on with complete apathy.

When Verron Haynes was lost for the season, it looked as though the Sweats would be retired, surely, this is what you keep an extra back around for right? Wrong. Staley continued to roam the sidelines, while marginal practice squader John Kuhn was dressed and participating.

Fast forward to week 13. A lost season. No realistic shot at the post-season and a chance for Duce to ride out 3 more games and then presumabley ride off into the sunset wearing a sharp reebok NFL equipment number. No again. Duce is finally relieved so Pittsburgh can bring back WR Lee Mayes and of course, special teams ace, Chidi Iuwoma.


Following the 2003 season when the Tommy Gun pass happy attack experiment or (TGPHAE) was shelved, Pittsburgh, unsure of the aging Jerome Bettis' status, made an uncharacteristic splash in the Free Agent pool, signing Philadelphia Eagle fan favorite Duce Staley. This seemed like a great fit. Staley, virtually a 3rd down back for the 2002 and 2003 seasons had always assured if given the oppurtunity to touch the ball 20-30 times a game, he could be an elite back. He was not a fantastic fit in the west coast offense run by Andy Ried in Philly. He has showed flashes of brilliance, like an opening day 200+ yard performance in Dallas and playing through all kinds of pain. He was voted the NFL's toughest player by his peers in 2003.

Pittsburgh had big plans for Staley. He was to come in from a bad situation and help a franchise reassume an identity, much the way Jerome Bettis did in 1996.

Duce was named starting tailback in camp in 2004. I can remember sitting in the stands, opening day 2004, a last second 24-21 victory over the Oakland Raiders. From the opening gun, Staley ran hard, made yards after contact, and grinded out tough first down after tough first down. I remember hearing the chants "Duuuuuuuuce" after every carry and thinking, it's like he's been here his entire career.

Duce pulled a hamstring in the Steelers victory over New England to snap an NFL record 21 game winning streak. In true Duce Staley as a Pittsburgh Steeler fashion, he missed an oppurtunity to play against his former mates as Pittsburgh trounced Philly 27-3, knocking them from the ranks of the undefeated. The Steelers learned that the Bus wasn't quite empty yet that day and Bettis got the Lions share of the carries for the rest of the year.

The 15-1 season, in retrospect, may have been the reason for Staley's playing time going bye-bye. Staley was not dressed for most of the second half of that year. Cowher repetedly cited the huge division lead as a reason to keep Duce "Fresh". It was also on a cold January day in Buffalo when the Steelers started the 3rd team in a meaningless final game. For the first time, we all saw "Fast" Willie Parker break a giant run.

Staley came in and gained some Tough yards on the GW Drive in the Divisional playoff game's OT against the Jets, proving he was still an able runner.

Duce went into the 2005 season again, considered the starter, injuries late in the pre-season put the Steelers in a pinch on opening day. Starting for the first time in his career, undrafted 2nd year man Willie Parker torched the Tennessee Titans for 161 yards. He never lost the starters job, in what turned out to be the super bowl season. Jerome Bettis was on a farewell tour as well, so Duce remained unused.

The final headscratcher in the DS Era was Super Bowl XL. For the first time all season, Duce was dressed. Coach Cowher was caught by NFL Films mic's in the waining moments of the Super Bowl victory saying to Duce, "I'm sorry I didnt get you a carry" as if they had some deal worked out. Duce's reply? "I got my ring coach, that's why I came here"

Something tells me Duce never imagined earning the bling would of been such a breeze.

Wow. That was exhausting...Well for me at least, Duce barely broke a sweat.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Hey, Sonny? It's Sunday...

Hope you didn't take that suicide business literally...

Where's the LOTW/Suicide thread?

Here, I'll help you out.

At Chicago -9.5 Minnesota
Pittsburgh -7 Tampa Bay
At St. Louis -6.5 Arizona
Indianapolis -7.5 At Tennessee
At Miami -1 Jacksonville
At New Orleans -7 San Francisco
At Washington -1.5 Atlanta
Kansas City -5 At Cleveland
At New England -13.5 Detroit
San Diego -6 At Buffalo
NY Jets -1 At Green Bay
Dallas -3.5 At NY Giants
At Oakland -3 Houston
At Denver -3.5 Seattle
Carolina -3 At Philadelphia