Thursday, January 26, 2006

Lemieux vs. Wagner

Dejan Kovacevic tries to stir things up at the end of his Q&A. It must be frustrating for him, with the city thinking of only one thing (PirateFest!), and no one but the likes of me reading his spring training coverage.

Bill James says something that is true and hard to accept, namely, that you always assess a current or living player's rank in history as conservatively as possible. Here in the week Lemieux retires, he may look like the Wagner or better of professional baseball. Heck, Bettis may too, if he retires from the endzone of a victory in Ford Field. But raise that same question - who was better in his sport - fifty years from now ... what would you expect?

Plus you have to accept that hockey is somehow the equal of football or baseball. Even if we play anthropologist and argue that kumquats are equally good as apples and oranges, you're just plain nuts if you think hockey has been the equal of those sports in the life of Pittsburgh and the surrounding area. So ... the greatest athlete in the city's history? We could have all of history's greatest ping-pong player in this town - a ping-pong player who walks on water and never lost a game - and still she wouldn't be the greatest athlete in the city's history. No offense, Mario, but the city's sports history - at least in regards to the twentieth-century - will always be about football and baseball before it's about hockey. And that's not all that unusual for an American city; it's not like Pittsburghers ignore professional hockey any more than the average American sports fans of other major cities.

That said, all hail Mario!

Steelers envy

Here is some funny anti-Steelers snark. I like the poll, "Where is Jerome Bettis from?" and better, the story, "Seahawks glad they don’t have to watch a Super Bowl with the Seahawks in it."

“I got a really bad concussion two weeks ago and that could have ended my season,” [Shaun Alexander] said. “But thank God it didn’t because that means I’d have to sit on the sidelines and watch this horrendous team. Puke.”

Steelers Nation is quite large, consisting of what, half of all the more knowledgeable and serious fans and at least two-fifths of all the numbnuts. So there will be a lot of people riding the Bus come Super Bowl weekend.

The once-a-year fans--those hothouse flowers who watch the game "for the commercials"--will surely pile on the Seattle bandwagon. Anyone can root the underdog and get at least that milquetoast pleasure of having stood on the high moral ground. And a whole nother class of fans, say, the drunks in the Cleveland and Cincinnati bars, will wallow in the low moral ground and just root from pure hatred and envy.

It shocked me at first, but it makes some sense after contemplation: a lot of people will root against the Steelers next week.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

White jerseys and memories of Super Bowl XXX

By now you should have heard that Cowher chose white when asked what unis the Steelers (the home team) want to wear in Detroit.

Sunday night, mid-Seahawks game, I surfed the NFL.com website trying to determine if Pittsburgh would be listed as the home team or the visitor. I wanted visitor; I wanted to see them in white again.

So all hail the white.

. . . When will they roll out the Super Bowl XL - Steelers shirts? (Will they?) Courtesy of Scoop, I've been wearing a Super Bowl XXX - Steelers t-shirt for ten years. It's sadly tattered and needs replacing. Maybe the AFC Champ shirt is all they are printing this year? Maybe I need to head down to the Giant Iggle?

. . . Super Bowl XXX was ten years ago from this coming Thursday - January 26, 1996. I barbecue'd outdoors in frigid, frigid weather, in Iowa, on one of those mini-Webers. I recommend the uber-Weber if you fire up the briquets in winter weather. That heat goes fast. The burgers changed color a little bit, the coals burnt out quickly, and I had to bring the meat indoors and finish them on the stovetop.

The Steelers played tight in the first quarter, and the Cowboys got some points. Then the Steelers kicked ass for three quarters but still managed to lose. In addition to the O'Donnell's INTs, which everyone remembers, the Cowboys also got points off a truly egregious illegal pick at the goalline. That don't flag that shit in the Super Bowl; Whisenhunt could look it up and add that play to the script, but the Steelers won't need to cheat I suspect. The game was much closer than the final score. There's little margin for error in a game at this level. The Steelers played well - especially the defense - but got outscored and lost. End of story.

The Steelers have never played poorly in a Super Bowl, and I don't expect that to change any time soon.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The job isn't done

Says Faneca.

I found it interesting to contrast the Steeler quotes, mostly all about winning the next game, with the Seahawk quotes, which touched upon domestic realities, but also admitted a preconceived plan to fail:

"You are looking at a very good Pittsburgh Steelers team. And that's real," Hasselbeck said. "Failure in this game is a real option. So we're going to have to work really hard and be as focused as we've ever been."
Translation: "Where are Troy and Ike? If I just throw it to them, maybe Peezy won't rip my head off."

Matt, failure might be an option, but usually crapping your pants is involuntary.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Champs!

WOW. The most enjoyable Steelers football game I've seen in 26 years. All hail the Steelers' coaches and players for a brilliant gameplan and nearly flawless execution today. Ben was en fuego, going 21 for 29 for 275 yards, 3 TDs and 0 turnovers. The defense pistol-whipped Plummer and his seemingly overrated squad. As predicted, Jake imploded and gave it up to the tune of 2 INTs and 2 fumbles lost.

The whoop-ass has generated lots of good quotes and commentary:

The AP has the Broncos as "outschemed, outplayed and pushed around all day."

Cris Carter on the Steelers:

"It's probably the most remarkable run of any playoff team ever, having beaten a division rival in Cincinnati, manhandled the Super Bowl favorite in Indianapolis and dominated the Broncos in Denver."
Ike Taylor admits 10 dropped INTs this season, but knew he'd catch one in the postseason.

For the Casey Hampton:Hungry Hippo analogy and more funny stuff, check out Ryan's blog.

The Super Bowl line opens with the Steelers being 3.5 to 4 point favorites.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Can of whoop-ass

It's open...

Game On

Steelers strike first! Here we go...

Steelers strike second! Sweet 10-0 early lead. Jake's gonna give it up some more...

AFC Championship Game: Steelers at Broncos

Bones has the prediction right. I will be at a bar where fire fighters and paramedics hang out. As the parrot says, Here we go Steelers.

Here we go.

Brad St. Louis snapped that ball from Cincinnati to St. Louis

I miss Myron Cope. Chico Harlan for the PG watched the game with him last Sunday and produced this long story.