Saturday, January 31, 2009
#25 and #43 ... numbers which WRs are banned from wearing nowadays, thanks to some powerful anti-legislation from the NFL years ago.
#25 and #43 ... the numbers currently worn by Steeler safeties Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu.
A lethal combo? Well, sure ... although they'd probably be just as effective if they were wearing #6 and #96 (jot this down, though: college football continues to reign supreme fpr one basic reason -- single-digit-wearin' safeties. What's cooler than a SS or FS wearin' #4 or #9? Answer: "Nuthin'.").
We've spent the week sifting through a week's worth of Super Bowl data and determined that among the useful and fascinating in a tidal wave of repetition, redundancy and unnecessary is the 51 FACTOR.
Well, at least it is here in the Tater Tot Quadrant of the La-Z-Boy Lounge. ///// It's "a must" ...
The Sooner Schooner never plugged the 51 Factor into their equation, so they won't be the fourth jewel here in the Quadruple Crown.
The Sooners simply weren't 51 Friendly (which we discussed in Oct., so no big surprise, really). /////// Just as Hockeytown rode the unsung heroism of 51 VALTTERI FILPPULA to the Stanley Cup and the Fightin' Phillies benefitted from a big bucket of intangibles from 51 CARLOS RUIZ, Steeler Nation is tuned into 51 on its radio dial.
While James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley have jacked up everybody in their path for the past two seasons ... and while Polamalu has done his thing as the backbone of the secondary, diehards haven't forgotten that leading tackler, 51 JAMES FARRIOR, is the skull-crushin', rib-crackin' Alpha dog of the D.
This is numerology which mustn't be trifled with -- given that, in the past three days, some of us STEELER fans have seen a brilliantly-feathered cardinal on a branch less than 100 ft. from the front door.
Before we were waiting for the stoplight to turn green and noticed that the vehicle in front of us had a Colts trailer-hitch cover ...
Before we arrived at the next stoplight and were flanked by a red truck with two big Raider decals and a blue SUV with a large Cowboys sticker ...
Before standing in line at the post office, two people behind those two guys wearing Redskins jackets ...
Before we saw that black guy w/ the janitorial crew (who cleans Suite 201 upstairs) wearing a white 54 URLACHER jersey (if only he'd had a 51 BUTKUS jersey, tsk tsk) ...
All of these were ominous signs until we saw that monster truck heading in the opposite direction ... emerging from the I-95 underpass on Route 103 ... surging forward with two Steeler flags (driver's-side window, passenger-side window) flapping in the breeze.
Our concern has abated.
Thanks to those fabulous, fightin' 51s to neutralize omens ...
Monday, January 26, 2009
Naturally, we all laughed our asses off -- primarily because the press release involved a team which, for the 478th year in a row, was not participating in the playoffs, but also because we had the perfect punchline at the ready.
"The only way to make the Cardinals' logo look tougher and more-aggressive would be if somebody drew a full-length cartoon bird holding a cartoon machine gun and a cartoon stick of dynamite."
Ohhhh ... did we laugh.
Long into the night ...
That's the funny thing about animation -- a cartoon face is made to look more human ... "wings" are drawn to look more like "hands" ... hands which can be drawn in the shape of fists which can hold machine guns and sticks of dynamite.
Funny shit ...
Well, who's laughing now?
Urlacher: "Me ... "
The STEELERS aren't laughing, we presume ... although nobody's scared of a team which was losing 34-0 to the Jets at halftime of a 56-35 pummeling or a team which was gettin' de-boned and fileted by the Pats, 44-0, through 3 qtrs. of a 47-7 shellacking.
Right, right, right, right ... "it's a totally different team now, blah blah blah ... " Because of the Ken Whisenhunt/Russ Grimm "toughness" which was instilled, it "changed the culture," yadda yadda yadda ...
As if Denny Green DIDN'T want to win ...
CHANGING THE CULTURE ... that's a trendy catch-phrase that football writers from Peter King to Jason Cole to John Clayton to Bill Williamson use as NFL-speak to further an agenda, rather than joining forces and pooling their prolific talents to create one unifying voice which says, "When the Hall of Fame voting takes place on Saturday, we'll do the responsible thing and elect Ed Sabol and Steve Sabol (the pioneering NFL Films father-n'-son masterminds) and Dick LeBeau and/or Dermontti Dawson."
When the above DOESN'T HAPPEN on Sat., we can chalk up another victory for what was articulated so articulately in "U-Shaped Logic" (2/4/06) ... and it'll only add to the list of crimes committed against the Sabols and Dick LeBeau, who, in all likelihood, will be enshrined in Canton probably 10-15 years following their deaths (see: Gene Hickerson's induction a few years ago ... 30 years after he retired, Alzheimer's had so racked his body that his failing health rendered him unable to give us an induction speech ... complete bullshit authored by those jerk-offs who call themselves "a selection committee" ... it was immoral how Gene Hickerson was violated ... and his death at the outset of this season, well, that's blood on the hands of selection committees past, present and future ... ).
Lest we forget, former Cardinal safety Roger Wehrli -- the secondary stalwart who picked up where Hall of Famer Larry Wilson left off -- was in Gene Hickerson's induction class. And, that "R.W." is likely to be joined in a few days by ex-Steeler Rod Woodson (although, sad to say, the R.W. who'll never get to Canton is R.W. McQuarters).
Equally unfortunately is the fact that in the days ahead, the nostalgia of Wilson and Wehrli will yield to Warner ... as in cutting-edge journalism repackaged endlessly as "Kurt Warner: Hall of Famer?"
Whaddya expect from writers who never played the game?
Their brains are on the PUP ("physically unable to perform") list, so do the math, America ...
This is the era of the ShamWow and the Snuggie ... and the "journalism" of the era reflects these priorities.
The easy-way-out "news" hooks are: "Didja know that the Cardinals and the Steelers combined their rosters in 1944 (as WWII raged) and the 0-10 team became known as 'the Car-Pitts' because everyone walked all over 'em?" and/or "The Cardinals have allowed everyone to QB this team from the mid-'40s 'til now, be it Gary Cuozzo or Gary Hogeboom or Stoney Case or Tom Tupa, blah blah blah ..."
[NOTE: Practically everybody alive loves to play that game of "Crossover QB" in which we name all the QBs which have played for both teams. In this scenario, we've got an "active" aspect in Brian St. Pierre, who has exchanged his familiar #2 Steelers jersey for a red #2 which more closely matches the jersey color that he wore at B.C. >>> Other than BSP, however, all we can remember off the top of our heads is that Cliff Stoudt and (get this) Ted Marchibroda -- both wearers of #18 as Steeler QBs -- rounded out their careers as Card QBs. >>> The only case we can think of for Car-Pitt QB is (oh, shit) Kent Graham, the Arizona QB in '96 and '97 who Cowher chose as the starter for the 2000 opener and, oh sweet Jesus, did the Ravens treat him like a pinata or what?]
Let's have a moment of silence as we and bow our heads for greatest soldier that Team U-S-A! U-S-A! ever produced ... the late, great Pat Tilley.
Before the black WR made the white WR obsolete, Pat Tilley was a quality WR who ran precise routes and, oooops ... it's Pat Tillman, not Pat Tilley!
(Whatever ... y'know?)
Sometimes we forget that being a proud American means that "America" includes American Samoan.
And, it might make better copy if only somebody had the onions to elaborate on what many of us read on the back of Niko Noga's 1989 ProSet trading card (#334 in the series ... the one where he's pictured on the front wearing his traditional red-w/-no-frills, Cardinal-red jersey w/ white 57 while tackling Roger Craig ... the card where we first learned that he was born in March '62 and was an 8th-rnd. selection out of Hawaii in the '84 draft).
On this card of this Card, we learned:
"Late round draft choice who defied odds and has become top-flight linebacker ... won starting assignment in 1985 ... had 13 tackles against Philadelphia in first NFL start ... first freshman ever named All-WAC ... wants to pursue career as underwater welder after football ... "
It seems insane -- an underwater welder ...
If he's not in it for the money, could it possibly be the glory?
Or is he looking to avenge the deaths of the faceless underwater welders who went before him?
Where is America's expose on the American underwater welder from American Samoa?
In many circles, Niko Noga will remain a forgotten Cardinal (except to those of us who rank Niko Noga with Garth Jax and Freddie Joe Nunn as our Cardinal LB Dream Team threesome ... and to those of us who will never forget that his full first name is "Falaniko" ... and that he was in the same NFL draft as three Texas Longhorn DBs named Mossy Cade, Jitter Fields and Freddie Acorn).
(YEAH ... that WAS a ploy to get the names of Mossy, Jitter and The Acorn into the mix ... )
Before we immerse ourselves in "The Underwater Welding World of Niko Noga," let's be clear that the Steelers are probably not fazed about facing Whiz N' Grimm, not to mention whatever secrets Brian St. Pierre, Sean Morey and Jerame Tuman are sharing.
After all, there are greater areas of concern .. such as the Hall of Fame worthiness of Hines Ward, who, if we're reading this right, might one day join Rod Woodson and Jerome Bettis (their enshrinements are pending) and Dermontti Dawson and Alan Faneca in a Canton population which some might feel is already overrun with too many Steelers.
Dick LeBeau: NOT scheduled for election any time before Super Bowl L in 2016.
It's more-likely to occur the day before Super Bowl LXXXVIII in 2054.
Which'll make for one helluvan induction speech for Dick LeBeau a few weeks shy of his 117th birthday ...
Saturday, January 24, 2009
"Klochak is not a real person ..."
"Klochak simply doesn't exist ..."
"And he never did ..."
This might be very upsetting news to 1960s weak-hitting, journeyman infielder Lou Klimchock ("sorry, Klimchock ... there's no Klochak") -- a sad conclusion which we reached when we totally-by-accident accessed http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1991_Pittsburgh_Steelers_season and made the unfortunate discovery that the lone INT TD of Bryan Hinkle's career was credited to a fictitious character named "Klochak."
Damn you, Weaniepickia ... why must you lie?
Why must you misinform not only our children, but also our step-children?
It is unforntunate-bordering-on-tragic when our sons and step-daughters are diligently doing research for their social studies report on the '91 Steelers and/or "Bryan Hinkle: My 13 Years As A Steeler Linebacker" and they access Wikipedia and notice that line from the boxscore from Game 2 of that season (Chuck Noll's final one as head coach).
In the individual scoring summary from that Sept. 8 contest vs. the Bills in Orchard Park (a 52-34 Steelers defeat), there's a factual error of Biblical proportions ... right there between Don Beebe's two TD catches in the 2nd qtr. which made the score 24-3 and and his two TD catches in the 4th qtr. which put the Bills up, 45-27, the Steelers had an INT TD (a "pick 6") by somebody named KLOCHAK.
That's how it reads: "PIT -- Klochak 57 interception return (Anderson kick)"
Honest-to-God's truth: Don Beebe actually DID have 4 TD receptions that day. That's verifiable by more than one source.
Pure fiction: Somebody named KLOCHAK played for the Steelers.
Incontrovertible fact: The Steelers had only two INT TDs in '91 ... one by Bryan Hinkle and one by that scrub CB named Richard Shelton, whose pick-6 we all vividly recall because it occurred in Noll's final game (a 17-10 win over the Browns) when Shelton picked off Bernie Koleslaw and ran it back 57 yards, slowing down inside the 5, stopping inches shy of the goal line, turning to face the field of play, outstretching his arms and then free-falling backwards, a la "the Nestea Plunge," into the end zone.
What ever happened to the Nestea Plunge?
(Answer: "Nuthin' " ... in fact, some us still use that move to get into bed every night)
We could ask Baltimore Ravens placekicker Matt Stover if he remembers Shelton's version of the Nestea Plunge/TD since, after all, he was a rookie w/ the Browns that year ... the first of his (so far) 18 yrs. in the NFL ... although such queries won't get us any closer to the reason as to why Wikipedia found it necessary to deny Bryan Hinkle his rightful TD while giving it to Nobody Named KLOCHAK.
Fortunately, the source which usually provides us with the most-accurate, NFL old-school data -- pro-football-reference.com -- credited Bryan Hinkle with his lone INT TD.
It's funny, though: When we ponder this injustice on a deeper level, we're reminded that what Wikipedia did to Bryan Hinkle is considerably worse than what happened when George tagged along with Jerry to the Saab dealership -- and then George had his Twix candy bar pilfered (or so was his accusation) by the mechanic ("Ned" or "Clem" or "Kip" ... "short name!" George barked before demanding from the customer-service employee an apology from Ned, Clem or Kip ... and that Ned, Clem or Kip be fired).
Yes ... this is much more serious.
Like when Lt. Ed Exley, son of the famed Preston Exley, assigned a fake name of "Rolo Tomassi" to create an identity for the purse snatcher who shot and killed Ed's dad.
Lt. Exley: "It's just a name I made up to give him some personality."
As we came to learn, Rolo Tomassi is the name of the guy "who gets away with it" -- at least, that's how Lt. Exley explained it to Jack Vincenes (the Big V) in Vice ... before Jack took the midnight train to the Big Adios when Capt. Smith shot him in the chest as Jack sat at Dudley's kitchen table and used his dying breath to utter, "Rohh-lohhh Toe-mosss-seee ..."
Unidentified purse-snatchers who murder off-duty cops and off-duty police captains who murder on-duty detectives might not fit the profile of the fictitious KLOCHAK ... a name which closely resembles those Steeler QBs w/ European names from a bygone era (Mike KRUCZEK in the '70s and Mike TOMCZAK in the '90s) and, in the minds of some, isn't that far different than Matt KRANCHICK (one career reception ... in 1995 ... vs. the Browns ... the inspiration for the first entry in the annals of the G.R.T. Lounge ... back when it was "Planet Haystack" ... ).
Klimchock! Kruczek! Tomczak! Kranchick! Klochak!
TV's "Night Stalker"???
Weaniepickia employee Jamie Klochak or Madison Klochak (or whatever his/her name is) is either pissed off at the world or just pissed that Mom gave him/her that non-gender-specific first name.
But, that should never be grounds for inserting his/her own name into the scoring summary w/o also adding the necessary  or the  tags.
Weaniepickia owes it to Bryan Hinkle, to the entire Hinkle Family and to those of us who appreciated his 13 years of service, wearin' #53 for the Black N' Gold.
Then, after we've tendered that apology in writing, it'll be necessary to burn down the house of databasefootball.com for its crimes against humanity -- specifically, for noting that, in the NFL Draft of '84, the Steelers selected not only WR Louis Lipps of Southern Miss with the 23rd selection in the first round, but also WR Duane Gunn of Indiana w/ the 23rd pick of the first round.
Sure, there exists some "unofficial" evidence that, back in the days of the mighty USFL, NFL teams had supplemental selections ... but, data is almost completely lacking as to whether Duane Gunn ever spent more than 15 minutes on a taxi squad, a practice squad or anything more than a WR confused for "The Peter Gunn Theme" by Duane Eddy.
C'mon people ...
AND WHILE WE'RE takin' those to task for takin' liberties ... that troublemakin' Rick Chandler showed some huevos for publishing that nude photo of Bones McJones on DEADSPIN yesterday -- although what's the deal with the guy in the background flippin' the bird when the photo was snapped?
Was it really the G.R.T. founder -- and does anyone believe his excuse that he couldn't find his a giant, foam-rubber, No. 1 hand like the one that Deadspin founder Will Leitch fashioned on the cover of "God Save The Fan"?
Was it actually Klochak in the background?
Was he signaling that "The Peter Gunn Theme" by Duane Eddy is No. 1?
Either way, let's sing it together:
"gimme a break! ... gimme a break! ... break me off a piece of that Klochak bar! ... "
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Of course, nobody's allowed to heckle Our New Version of HIS MAJESTY on this holy, albeit frigid, In Awkward Nation Day.
Yet, with the way that he butchered the opening lines of the oath of office (when it came to putting his hand on "the good book"), it makes ya wonder if those college football playoffs that he supported on Election Eve will get off the ground -- or, if at his first few Ceremonial First Pitch occasions, he's going to short-hop the throw to the ceremonial catcher.
He is, after all, Mr. Smoooooth.
Kinda makes ya feel like he should be wearin' Ray-Bans and playin' upright bass in a jazz quartet in an ad for Camel Filters ... sorta like that previous coooool prez we had who liked to blow his sax before he got blown during sex by somebody who wasn't his wife ("shhhhhhh ... don't be dissin' our groovy ex-Prez Clinton ...").
Anyway, in the re-enactment of the Million Man March, the voice of every black person (and many Whiteys) in these United States rose up as one during the dawning of a new era as the new Kenyan-Caucasian prez achieved knighthood (soul-brutha handshake sold separately).
We were informed that this day marked a greater triumph that what happened a few years ago when Sylvester Croom became the first head coach in the SEC and this will open doors for black men and (ooops. Croom resigned amid zero fanfare two months ago ... with no tangible proof that he'd changed anything one iota in the Heart of Dixie).
Speaking of tangibility, you could actually sense the whole wide world offering a big sigh of relief and powering up a North Pole-to-South Pole smile.
Everybody everywhere was feelin' the Prez. Oprah, good-time vibe ... from the rebel soldiers in the Congo, who set down their automatic weapons and stopped gang-raping that 14-year-old ... to the Palestinian girl with explosives strapped to herself waiting an hour before climbing onto that bus filled with Israelis ... to that loser in Alabama who usually spends the morning punching the mother of his kids (who is not his wife) in the face.
This was definitely almost as exciting as the day when Orenthal was initially acquitted of decapitating his ex-wife and her Jewish buddy -- although, it's reminiscent of when Sen. Gracchus looked out over the throng and said, with voice dripping with skepticism, to Sen. Falco, "He enters Rome like a conquering hero" before asking rhetorically, "But, what has he conquered?"
It does seem weird, doesn't it? Today's a day when we should be hailing pilot Chesley Sullenberger for saving those 155 lives by landing that jumbo jet neatly atop the water of the Hudson River (and not under it).
Alas, this is U-S-A! U-S-A! and we're so much better at "parades for potential" than we are at hailing actual accomplishment.
We salute "promise" as though we're getting out of 3rd-period algebra to join hands during the rally in the gym.
The bandwagon is racing through town, but we're supposed to climb aboard not because we respect his voting record in the Illinois legislature, but simply because he's some black dude.
We were supposed to vote for him because he ISN'T the anti-Christ named Dubya, but, if Hillary wins confirmation as Sec. of State, we just elected a 2-headed Clinton anti-Christ to high office.
(NOTE: The reason some of us never vote is because Hillary spent x-number of mos. badmouthing Barack Hussein ... then, we he's elected, he tabs her as a key Cabinet member. Since it's fruitless to grasp as logical that which is illogical, let's all get together with our ex-girlfriends tonight for some quality spooning).
In addition to that which is anti-Christian, there's the matter of that which is anti-MLK.
Dr. King reasoned that we should judge people by the content of their character and not the colour of their skin.
Democrats flip-flopping sounds so un-American, does it not?
As it was, our newly-crowned President Pepsodent began Day One of the Rhetoric Regime with bold pronouncements of the remaking of America.
The "remaking of America"?
Unless he means that we need to buy more presents for Kwanzaa or that we need to learn how to do the broom dance at weddings, the only way that this "remaking" can go into the books as something "official" is if The Bruthuz and Whitey team up and fork over more $$$, as restitution, to the great-grandchildren of Geronimo and Crazy Horse for the land which we raped in return for firewater, casinos and colossal football stadiums which we built on the land which we raped.
That might prove problematic down the road -- Remade America gettin' itself all confused over which side of President Oprah's brain is on duty that day: the Kenyan absentee-father half or the white-mama half.
On the plus side, there'll be the creepy white folks (Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton) ridin' shotgun for President Oprah -- which means that, in Remade Amerca, there'll be no more foolishness, such as NFL RBs like Travis Henry banging nine different women and ending up with nine kids (who Prez. Oprah will shield with loose welfare guidelines, 'cuz one of dem babies might be presidentin' one day ... while his baby-daddy be in prison).
In Remade America, we ain't gonna be havin' no more black-on-black crime where big-city black mayors in Detroit (Kwame Kilpatrick) and Baltimore (Sheila Dixon) be sellin' out their brothers and sisters.
Thanks to President Oprah (and The R.B.I. Initiative -- y'know, Reviving Baseball in the Inner-city), there'll be no more black junkies gunning down the black guy behind the counter of the 7-Eleven ... because being President of the Remade United States of America is a much more-viable option.
That is, if the black junkie can win the run-off election vs. that kid in the Sudan right now who's thinkin', "Fuck workin' in the diamond mines just so some white bitch in Laguna Beach has a bigger rock than her girlfriend in Redondo! If a Kenyan can become President of the United States of America, then so can a Sudanista!"
Unless U-S-A! U-S-A! votes for the next Zimbabwean on the ballot.
Or unless Cleveland Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo throws his Cleveland Indians' cap "into the ring," as they say.
Perhaps powerful political figures such as Eldrick Woods (he with the first name "Tiger" and the Thai mama) or Muhammad Ali (he of the Muslim persuasion and the Parkinson's which developed long after he made those classic TV commercials for D-Con roach killer) are tellin' everybody that U-S-A! U-S-A! is not ready for a Buddhist president.
Try again in 2028 ...
If Oprah sez it's OK ...
It's depressing to some of us that America was misinformed that a Republican named J.C. Watts was deemed too white to be our first black president, even if he is three shades more chocolate-skinned than Kenyan-fathered, Caucasian-mothered Barack Hussein.
No love for the former Sooner QB.
Speakin' of which, memories of J.C. Watts really take a fella back to the first two years of the '80s, doesn't it?
More specifically, 1981 ... when President Reagan was shot two months after he was sworn in ...
Before we all gathered 'round to watch the maiden voyage of something called "a space shuttle" ...
Before the MLB went on strike ...
Before Diana married Charles in the royal wedding (in what was THE premier global event before today) ...
Just before MTV was born ...
Now, look at us: Reagan's dead, two Space Shuttles have exploded, Lady Di's dead ... but The MLB and MTV have never been stronger!!!
We who are about to die salute you!
Long live our 45th President of the Remade USA -- Lauren Conrad!
(Unless it's Audrina. She is, like, such a bitch. And, she probably can't give us a college football-playoff package, so what the ... )
Sunday, January 18, 2009
That's what they'll be buzzin' 'bout tomorrow ... that if Troy Polamalu had recognized the symbolic nature of what was unfolding (as it was happening), he might've made a deeper drop in coverage and, presto! ... We'd've had 43's 43-yd. INT TD clinching a trip to SB 43 during the final days of our 43rd president.
Once we take into account every factor of this Steelers-Ravens bloodbath [the Sweed drop, the Parker drop, the disallowing of a Santonio TD, the Heath catch, the other Heath catch, the Polamalu pick, the Polamalu leap, the Santonio drop, the Berger flop, all the hard-hittin', all the shit-talkin'], the factor which overrides 'em all is the moment when we admit to ourselves that the only thing better than that INT TD (which, in some circles, is called a "pick six") is the act of punchin' the REW button again and again and again on the DVR remote, just to hear Heinz Field frickin' explode the very instant that Polamalu stabs Flacco's pass.
What an eruption.
Like a volcano.
Or World War Four.
Or like when the Colts pump artificial noise into their stadium.
>>> SPEAKING OF THE REW BUTTON, THE COOLEST PART OF THAT RUNBACK WAS WHEN TROY REACHED THE 12 ... WE COULD I.D. EIGHT RAVENS IN THE PICTURE AS THEY FORMED THE HUMAN TUNNEL WHICH TROY DANCED THROUGH -- AND, TO TOP IT OFF, THE SIGHT OF (#79) WILLIE ANDERSON WAS WORTH THE PRICE OF ADMISSION BECAUSE WHAT WE SAW IS WHAT A BOOKCASE -- OR A FOUR-DRAWER FILING CABINET -- LOOKS LIKE WHEN IT TRIES TO RUN (dude's gotta stick to his regimen of 'roidin' up, gettin' into a 3-point stance, raisin' outta the 3-point stance, pushin' n' shovin', maybe fallin' down, eatin', sleepin', re-'roidin', repeat ... shhhhhh, NFL players don't 'roid, any more 'cuz 'roids are illegal, wink, wink ... ) <<<
Now that the Steelers are off to their 7th Super Bowl, this is where the Steeler fan sets down his Towel and consoles the Ravens fan with the usual conciliatory platititudes, such as, "Your team had a lot to be proud of this season. Now, let's talk about Ryan Clark's decapitation of Willis McGahee ... "
"Allegedly," hits such as Clark layin' the wood to an opponent (when he woke up, Willis McGahee thought he was Willie McGee) are 'sposed to make us all somber as we reflect that the NFL is a violent world of which 96.7 percent of us have no understanding.
You could see it in Ray Lewis' eyes as he knelt and asked his God to watch over Willis McGahee and the families of them two dead boys lyin' in the Atlanta street (who dey?) outside the Cobalt Lounge.
"Oh, snap! I dittint see nuthin'!"
>>> BUT, IF WE'RE TALKIN' 'BOUT LBs WHO ARE STILL RELEVANT, IT WAS NECESSARY FOR FLACCO TO DELIVER THAT FATEFUL PASS WHEN HE DID BECAUSE THE NFL's DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR, JAMES HARRISON, WAS ABOUT TO DEVOUR THE QB FROM THE BLIND SIDE ... KIND OF A COOL PLAY, TOO, CONSIDERING HOW #92 BEGAN AT THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE, DROPPED BACK ABOUT 8 YDS. AS FLACCO WAS CALLING THE SIGNALS AND THEN CREEPED TOWARD THE LINE BEFORE THE SNAP ... CREEPING, CREEPING, CREEPING, CHARGING LIKE A PISSED-OFF RHINO ... <<<
From a pure, football-watchin' standpoint, this was not a legendary, epic tilt along the lines of Alien vs. Predator ... but, it did feature some hijinks and nailbitin' nervousness.
Tomorrow, though, we'll all be required, by law, to say it was the hardest-hitting game we've ever seen ... just because it's freshest in our memory, so it's trendy to say "Hardest-hitting game I've ever seen" ... even though some of us who lived through Steelers-Raiders in AFC Championship slugfests in '75 and '76 and Steelers-Oilers in the same setting in '79 and '80 will nod disapprovingly at "the hardest-hitting game" of all-time (ever!) ... seriously, just because Lime Is Sweet recovered from the SuperDrop to lower his helmet and coldcock Corey Ivy into incoherency, we're 'sposed to go with the flow and remark that this game was the ultimate confrontation for Alpha Male status?
This outranked Sam Davis sluggin' it out with Otis Sistrunk?
This was more-wicked than Mad Dog and Fats -- souls we lost in '08 --containing the powerful Earl Campbell?
The funny thing is, Polamalu's INT was so fist-pumpin' good that it almost made ya forget about his leap-over-the-pile stop of Flacco on 4th down (late in the first quarter) shortly before the early-in-the-second-quarter, Big Ben-to-Santonio streetball play for the TD (punctuated by Santonio mocking the blackbirds with his arm-flap gesture).
This much we can assume: If our pal -- that guy with the DANISH 43 jersey who we saw (but didn't bother to talk to, so we have no idea if he's anything like us, willing to light up a Pall Mall while watching Polamalu) at the Steelers' game in B'More is compiling a Polamalu Portfolio, this game made up for the chapter of "near-misses."
If the 3-ring binder that DANISH 43 oversees matches the one in here (pointing to my head), he can quickly access Polamalu's only other career pick-6 ... way back in his second year ('04) in which he intercepted his USC colleague, Carson Palmer, and then weaved his way through Bengal traffic something like 30 yards before running over Palmer on the goal line.
That was nearly as cool as Polamalu's only other TD before today's TD ... that time in Green Bay during the '05 season when Troy From Troy blitzed Favre, missed the sack, but forced Brett to step right into the jarring hit of onrushing rookie CB Bryant McFadden, who was also blitzing.
When Favre lost the ball, Polamalu gobbled up the loose biscuit and ran off with it as McFadden continued to hustle and throw a block by acting as a moving screen to the Packer lineman in pursuit.
Of course, the near-misses have been just as memorable, be it that pass vs. Cleveland on that Sunday nighter one week after the aformentioned Green Bay game -- a ball which Polamalu was going to intercept for an easy TD to punctuate a 41-14 win ... only he doinked it, the ball ricocheted to a Browns receiver ("tip drill!") and the big gain set up a TD for 34-21 final, please drive safely ...
And, although Polamalu registered a career-high 7 INTs during this regular season, some of us have languished w/ anguish over that potential 70-yd. INT vs. Manning (which was dropped and coulda made the score 24-7 at the half) before Polamalu aggressively took a bad angle on the go-ahead TD pass which Peyton floated over his head, jeez ... ).
Such are the hits n' misses of a pro career ... and, to think, the first time we ever saw the kid was in the Kickoff Classic in '00 when 'SC played Penn State ... and following a blocked punt (or was it an INT?), Polamalu slid on the wet grass at Giants Stadium and extended his arms with the universal baseball signal for "safe!"
The first thought that crossed our minds: Who the frick does this Samoan hot dog think he is?
We found out on Draft Day '03 when the Steelers swapped their 27th pick in the first round for K.C.'s 16th pick ... and dee eeeweew (K.C. would select Penn State RB Larry Johnson, hmmmm ...).
While some of Troy's missed opportunities were his own doing, we're equally miffed that he has been ripped off a few times -- most notably, during the ending to the 11-10 game when his hustling, heads-up, loose-lateral TD was disallowed (incorrectly).
That was a screw job on par with the highway robbery perpetrated against Troy during the '05/'06 run to the Super Bowl when his playoff-game INT of SuperManning was overruled because the ball bounced off his thigh pad when he scrambled to his feet following his tumbling catch on the horseshoe logo.
THAT'S WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT THE NFL ... so arbitrary ... with rules applied so indiscriminately and capriciously (by investment bankers and guys who own a chain of hardware stores because officiating NFL games is part-time work for part-time thinkers ... guys who haven't played the game in 30 or 35 years -- and when they did -- they suited up with 10 other white guys to do battle against the 11 white guys on the other team ... ).
The game moves n' grooves now (rather than plodding n' trudging) -- which is why Santonio had his TD taken away.
If we go by the literal interpretation (the letter of the law), then, yeah ... it can be debated.
But, if the spirit of the law is factored into the mix -- if the play was judged by what we saw rather than what we read -- it seems obvious that Santonio already possessed the ball and was extending his arm in a stretch for the goal line (a seemingly smart and athletic play).
"Carry the ball to the ground" to "complete the catch"?
That sounds like partisan rhetoric ...
Or a hidden agenda ...
A literal question for a literal interpretation: Where are the penalty flags for the holding fouls which occur on every play of every game?
If there are varying degrees of holding, vis-a-vis, flagrant and/or overt, is there not some varying degree of what is a complicated incompletion and what is a "TD by athleticism"?
In a game this punishing, it's interesting that three varying degrees of holding played so prominently -- i.e., the pass which Lime-Ass couldn't hold, the end-zone INT which Frank Walker couldn't hold (because Lime-Ass was holding him) and the hold which somebody named Daren Stone put on Anthony Madison before he threw him to the ground on the Ravens sideline for a personal foul penalty which cost the Ravens 26 yds. of field position (putting the ball at the 14, not the 40) shortly before the game-clinching INT.
With a more-advantageous field-position scenario, would Flacco have altered the 16-14 score at that point?
It's a fascinating dichotomy, isn't it? (whatever "dichotomy" means) Seriously ... if the Steel Curtain does win SB43, members of the Anthony Madison Fan Club will shout with glee, "He's the reason!" (even if the only people we might ever hope to see wearing a "37" jersey 'round The 'Burgh likely have "LAKE" stitched on the nameplate ... that is, if anybody remember Carnell Lake, I dunno ... ).
Nevertheless, it was Anthony Madison who, last week vs. S.D., was engaged w/ blocking Eric Weddle on the ill-fated punt which caromed off Weddle's helmet and set up the field position for a TD which put the Black N' Gold in command.
Tonight, it was Mad Dog who drew the penalty which had the Ravens re-thinking their approach to the last-ditch drive since the series did NOT begin near midfield.
In a nutshell, it's: "Anthony Madison: Pre-Super Bowl Pre-Hero."
It truly DOES require all 53 players ... and all the fill-ins when one of the 53 goes down.
Sure, Daniel Sepulveda's season-ending injury in preseason was a severe blow to the Steelers' punting game. Mitch Berger's been a brick -- the long PR by Leonhard and the 21-yd. Berger shank set up both Raven TDs -- and, when Paul Ernster was a 3-game fill-in vs. Indy, Sandy and Cincy, he averaged only 31 YPP ... although it was his work as a holder which'll live in our hearts forever as his placement of the football -- laces out -- in the final seconds, on a perfect pass from fill-in long-snapper Jared Retkofsky, allowed Jeff Reed to execute the final-seconds FG which provided the decisive points in the only 11-10 game in NFL history).
"Jared Retkofsky: Furniture mover ... playoff stalwart ... "
Anyway, the Steeler D was heavy-duty and the O clicked on just enough big plays despite the aforementioned blips (some would say "screw-ups" ... i.e., the Parker drop, the Lime-Ass drop and the Santonio TD nullification) which could've widened that halftime lead from 13-7 to 24-7 (or an approximation thereof).
It seems as though the only reason for Fast Willie allowing that ball to glance off his shoulder pad when he was wide-open down the right sideline (one play before Hines wrenched his knee; two plays before Santonio got jobbed) was that "possibly," out of the corner of his eye, he saw somebody in the neighborhood, not realizing that the only guy nearby was The Spaeth Cowboy.
As per Sweed, some of us were there for last week's Bambi-like sprint downfield before he gakked that deep ball from Leftwich ... a reminder that the Steelers have NEVER had a reliable receiver who wears #14.
While we can't say for sure if Amos Zereoue would've snagged the ball that Parker clanked, we're almost positive that Weegie Thompson would've corraled the ball that Sweed muffed.
It's a definite head-scratcher as to why pass plays were called for Parker and Sweed when they've combined for 9 receptions this season.
Simple mathematics -- combined with the lunar tables and tide charts -- indicate that, even with Hines Ward injured, options are plentiful with Heath, Santonio, Nate, Mewelde and, sure, what the heck ... even The Spaeth Cowboy (however, Santonio could've done a better job gobbling up that slant-pass -- one play after the Sweed drop -- for a big-gainer or a TD instead of the casual attempt which resulted in a 0-yd. gain).
And, with the way that Big Ben buys time, well ... it kinda/sorta/totally doesn't make sense throwing a pass in the end zone intended for Lime-Ass, frickin'-A ... (sidebar: Why was it that God didn't assist Ray Lewis in getting more in the face of Big Ben when the back-breaking pass to Santonio was released? He was right there, but a step slow, it seemed. Was God's Linebacker worn out from dancing or praying too hard for the families of them dead boys lying in the street outside the Cobalt Lounge? Was he spent from making sure the microphones were nearby for one of his super-motivational speeches which "will" the Ravens to victory? ... LORD, THAT TOUGH-GUY TALK TO THE TROOPS IS SO TYYYY-YURD ... ).
To their credit, the Steelers didn't exactly shy away from Ed Reed (when everybody said they would).
On the game's first series, Ward added 20-25 extra yds. to the 45-yd.er when Reed was late (and played the ball, not the man).
On the Santonio non-TD, Reed was nearby ... and on the 2nd-and-24 laser which Big Ben threaded to Heath for 30 yds., Reed was in the neighborhood.
They didn't completely shy away from him ...
So, in the end, this WAS the most-satisfying outcome for America: The Steelers advancing while the Ravens w/ their rookie head coach and their rookie QB and their butt-ugly jerseys head home.
America simply wasn't ready for only its second Super Bowl since SB 5 in which both teams had every player wearing black cleats (the other was Colts n' Bears in SB 41 ... note: black cleats are killing this nation, thanks to Nike and Under Armour producing some sick-lookin' footwear ... that's "sick" as in "stupid/lame," not "sick" as in "bad-ass" ... black cleats are like your girl wearing a denim nightie to bed ... clunky, not elegant ... although, surprisingly, black cleats DO work for the Browns -- and maybe Tampa Bay -- but, not for the Bills, who used to look sleek and sharp ... now, w/ jerseys n' pants which are too busy, w/ socks w/o much white and w/ black cleats which look like sneakers, yup ... it's the look of a perennial also-ran ... ).
Looks aside, John Harbaugh couldn't channel his kid brother Jim (who was on the Ravens' sideline the week before the Steeler game at B'More) and his ol' dad Jack, who he rejoiced with on the sideline in Nashville last week.
There's no way that his brother-in-law, Indiana b-ball coach Tom Creen, was gonna receive a sideline pass.
Creen's got his own problems, such as worryin' 'bout whether his Hoosiers are going to finish 0-18 in the Big Ten.
So, it's up to America to get better-acquainted with Mike Tomlin and to get re-acquainted with the 20 or so Steelers who were on the SB XL roster.
For those of us who were fans of the special-teams, 1-2 punch (back then) of Clint Kriewaldt and Chidi Iwuoma, we're FINALLY coming to grips with twin-cincos (Patrick Bailey) and double-deuces (William Gay).
Now, it's America's turn ...
+ + +
Friday, January 16, 2009
AS PER THE INCLINATION OF CERTAIN NATIVES, THEY OCCASIONALLY ATTEMPT TO RATTLE THE CAGE OF A PRO-STEELERS MILITIAMAN WITH SOME TIMID-AND-TEPID "WATCH OUT!" WARNING SIGNS.
MOST OF THE TIME, YOU SAY TO THOSE PEOPLE THE SAME THING THAT ONE SHEPHERD SAID TO THE OTHER SHEPHERD ... "GET THE FLOCK OUTTA HERE!"
HEY, WHEN YOU'RE A VETERAN OF 37 STEELER AUTUMNS OF FURY, YOU TAKE IT IN STRIDE, ALTHOUGH YOU CONFESS THAT YOU'D MUCH RATHER BE A STEELERS FAN IN THE RAVENS QUADRANT THAN A RAVENS FAN NEAR "THE CONFLUENCE."
IT'S DIFFICULT TO IMAGINE THAT ANY RAVENS FANS ARE ALLOWED TO LIVE BEHIND ENEMY LINES W/O EVENTUALLY ENDING UP AT THE BOTTOM OF THE MONONGAHELA ... OR WITH THEIR SKULL WEDGED UNDER A GUARD RAIL INSIDE FT. PITT TUNNEL ... OR SLAIN-AND-HALF-NAKED FACEDOWN IN THE WEEDS AT THE BASE OF THE DUQUESNE INCLINE.
WHY, JUST LOOKIT WHAT THE YOUNG PITTSBURGH MAYOR, LUKE RAVENSTAHL, WAS FORCED TO DO -- CHANGE HIS NAME. AS ANY POLITICIAN WOULD DO, HE'S TELLING US AT THE 3RD PERIOD ASSEMBLY INSIDE THE GYM THAT HE'S DOING THIS BECAUSE HE'S GOT SCHOOL SPIRIT AND THAT HE'S PRO-STEELER ("woo! woo!").
BUT MAYBE IT'S BECAUSE RAY LEWIS' "PEOPLE" THREATENED TO KILL MR. RAVENSTAHL'S FAMILY.
WE CAN NEVER KNOW ... AND THERE'S BEEN NO WORD YET AS TO HOW The Stillers -- JERRY STILLER (TV'S FRANK COSTANZA AND ARTHUR SPOONER) AND HOLLYWOOD'S BEN STILLER (GAYLORD FOCKER, DEREK ZOOLANDER) -- PLAN TO RETALIATE.
SENSELESS VIOLENCE ASIDE, THE NON-SLEEPYHEADS OUT THERE HAVE NOTICED THAT THIS IS THE 14TH TIME IN THESE 37 SEASONS (1972-2008) IN WHICH THE STEELERS HAVE PLAYED A SUNDAY GAME WHEN A VICTORY MEANS A BERTH IN THE SUPER BOWL (WHICH REALLY MAKES YA WONDER WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE A CHIEFS FAN OR A BROWNS FAN OR A BEARS FAN OR A JETS FAN OR A VIKINGS FAN ... BY THE END OF EVERY JANUARY, THEY'RE OUT THERE, ON THE LEDGE 15 OR 16 STORIES ABOVE THE STREET, PONDERING THEIR LIVES -- "Should I jump?" -- BUT, THEN, BY MISMANAGING THE PLAY CLOCK, THEY END UP BURNING A TIMEOUT INSTEAD OF TAKING THE 5-YARD PENALTY).
NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT THE STEELERS WERE SO DAMN CLOSE ("this close!") TO PLAYING IN 13 OF THE PREVIOUS 36 SUPER BOWLS (INSTEAD OF ONLY 6), THE OVER-ANALYSIS THIS TIME RIVALS ANYTHING THAT MARK MALONE COULD DREAM UP ON "EDGE NFL MATCHUP" (jeez ... it's not the same w/o Mark Malone and Edge Shaving Cream ... Mark Malone was smoother than the smooth gin in a G-N'-T ... ).
ON THE HE-SAID/SHE-SAID SCALE OF MATTERS, WE'LL HEAR THAT "IT'S DIFFICULT TO BEAT A TEAM THREE TIMES IN THE SAME SEASON" -- ONE OF THE MOST-RECENT EXAMPLES OCCURRING LAST YEAR WHEN THE COWBOYS' TWO REGULAR-SEASON VICTORIES OVER THE GIANTS DIDN'T EARN THEM ANY FAVOUR WITH THE FOOTBALL GODS AS THE G-MEN, THEREFORE, WON THE PLAYOFF CONTEST.
TWISTED HISTORICAL DATA SUCH AS THAT SERVES NO PURPOSE ... AND IT USUALLY ELICTS A GREAT, BIG "GET THE FLOCK OUTTA HERE!"
THE '08 STEELERS AREN'T SOFT AND PRETTY LIKE THE '07 COWBOYS ... AND THE '08 STEELERS AREN'T BANGED-UP AND GIMPY LIKE THE '07 STEELERS WHICH ALLOWED THE '07 JAGS (NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH THE '08 JAGS) TO INVADE MARCH INTO HEINZ AND THEN MARCH OUT WITH AN UNPRECEDENTED SECOND WIN OF THE SEASON.
BOTTOM LINE: THEY AREN'T PLAYING THREE GAMES ON SUNDAY ... IT'S ONLY ONE. AND THERE WAS A STAT SOMEWHERE A FEW DAYS AGO WHICH STATED THAT WHEN THE STEELERS HAVE PLAYED A TEAM IN THE PLAYOFFS WHICH THEY'VE MET TWICE ALREADY DURING THE REGULAR SEASON, THEY'RE 7-0 (SEE '70S OILERS OR, MORE RECENTLY, '01 RAVENS, '02 BROWNS OR '05 WHO-DEY-GONNA-BEAT-THEM-BENGALS.
THE GOOD THING ABOUT HISTORY IS THAT IT CANCELS ITSELF OUT WHEN NEW HISTORY IS BEING WRITTEN ... HISTORY THAT'S HISTORICAL, SUCH AS JAMES HARRISON AND LaMARR WOODLEY AIMIN' TO DE-COMMISSION JOE FLACCO.
WE CANNOT RELY ON RECENT TRENDS BECAUSE THE HE-SAID IS: "FAST WILLIE HAD A BIG GAME AGAINST THE CHARGERS LAST WEEK ... AND THE RAVENS' RUN DEFENSE LOOKED SOFT VS. TENNESSEE" ... BUT THE SHE-SAID IS: "WILLIE PARKER'S FAST, BUT HE'S NOT CHRIS JOHNSON FAST. BESIDES, FAST WILLIE NEVER HAS A GOOD GAME AGAINST THE RAVENS ... "
AND, SO IT GOES ... ON N' ON ... 'ROUND N' ROUND ... BACK N' FORTH ... GIVE N' TAKE ... PUSH N' SHOVE ...
WE COULD PROBABLY DO THIS ALL DAY -- BUT THEN WE'D BE STOPPED DEAD IN OUR TRACKS THE VERY MOMENT THAT THE QUIETEST (BUT DEADLIEST) RAVENS FAN WE KNOW ("THE MIGHTY T.O.C.") POINTS TO THE COVER OF THE SPORTS ILLUSTRATED WHICH HIT THE STREETS TODAY (THE JAN. 19 ISSUE WITH THE ACCOMPANYING CAPTION: LIVING LARGE ... NFL PLAYOFFS: WHO CAN STOP THE STEELERS? ... W/ THE COVER ART FEATURING SANTONIO HOLMES AND NATE WASHINGTON DOIN' THAT MID-AIR BUTT-BUMP -- OR IS IT A FLYIN' HIP-CHECK WHICH ALL THE KIDS ARE DOIN' NOWADAYS?).
MIGHTY T.O.C. SUGGESTS THAT "THE S.I. COVER JINX" MIGHT SOMEHOW COME INTO PLAY ON SUNDAY -- BUT, BEFORE PLANNING TO QUASH A PANIC ATTACK, LET'S ALL REMEMBER THE S.I. COVER FROM LAST MONTH ... THE ONE WHERE WOODLEY WAS PICTURED HOVERING OVER A PRONE FLACCO ACCOMPANIED BY THE WORDS: STEEL CURTAIN II.
POW! THE S.I. COVER JINX WAS RESCINDED RIGHT THEN AND THERE BECAUSE THAT S.I. (THE DEC. 22 ISSUE) HIT THE STREETS A FEW DAYS AFTER THE STEELERS HAD ALREADY LOST TO TENNESSEE IN NASHVILLE.
THE LAW OF THE JUNGLE HAS SPOKEN.
IT'S A DOUBLE-NEGATIVE RESCINDER ...
THE POWER AND PERSUASION OF JINXES ASIDE, IT'LL BE A ZOO OUT AT HEINZ ON SUN. -- MAYBE EVEN TWICE AS GNARLY AS WHEN WE WERE OUT THERE IN SECTION 124 LAST SUN.
SUPPORT THE TROOPS, DANISH 43 !
AS STRANGE AS IT MIGHT SEEM, DANISH 43 MIGHT ACTUALLY BE ONTO SOMETHING BY OPTING TO PUT (?)HIS OWN(?) NAME ON A 43 JERSEY (ALTHOUGH MAYBE HE BOUGHT IT FROM THE SAME BLACK MARKET WHICH HAS HUNDREDS OF THOSE COUNTERFEIT ROTHLESBURGER 7 JERSEYS WHICH YA HEAR ABOUT).
SERIOUSLY, THOUGH, IT'S NEXT TO IMPOSSIBLE TO BUY A MODERN-DAY MILLER 83 JERSEY BECAUSE OF THE GUILT INVOLVED ... THE BUYER'S REMORSE THAT ONE FEELS BECAUSE THAT SHIRT SHOULD BE A LIPPS 83 ... BECAUSE, WHETHER PEOPLE WANT TO ADMIT IT OR NOT, LOUIS-LIPPS-SINKS-SHIPS WAS EVERY BIT AS GOOD AS LYNN SWANN (MAYBE BETTER).
EVERY DAMN BIT AS GOOD ...PERSUASIVE ARGUMENTS NOTWITHSTANDING, WE'VE DONE OUR PART THIS WEEK WITH THE PROPER ROTATION OF T-SHIRTS, JACKETS, SWEATSHIRTS AND HEADGEAR (BALLCAPS, KNIT CAPS).
SteelerDawg WORE HIS STEELERS COLLAR ALL WEEK ... Mr. Bones CONTINUES TO WEAR THE CONSTRUCTION-SITE, STEELER HARDHAT ON THE SKULL ATOP HIS SKELETON WHILE THE STEELER FOOTBALL REMAINS WEDGED INSIDE HIS RIB CAGE (WE ADDED A Terrible Towel TO KEEP HIM WARM DURING THESE FRIGID DAYS ... ONLY THIS TOWEL IS AN AUTHENTIC BLACK ONE FROM '77 OR '78 ... THANKS, HUN).
YUP ... THAT'S THE SAME 5-FOOT-6-TALL Mr. Bones WHO, LAST SPRING, WAS WEARING A Detroit Red Wings JERSEY AND CLUTCHING A PLAYOFF RALLY TOWEL (WHICH ELLEN BROUGHT BACK FROM "THE JOE") ... THE SAME Mr. Bones WHO, LAST OCTOBER, WORE A Philadelphia Phillies KNIT CAP WHILE A Fightin' Phillies RALLY TOWEL WAS STRETCHED ACROSS HIS EXPOSED RIB CAGE.
Mr. Bones ... THAT GUY'S A WINNER ...
WHAT REMAINS UNCLEAR TO Mr. Bones RIGHT NOW, THOUGH, IS AN OFTEN OVERLOOKED FACTOR:
"THE FACIAL-GROWTH PARADIGM ... "
WHILE STEELER-QBs-W/-BEARDS ARE 3-0 IN AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES (BRADSHAW BEFORE SB 9, O'DONNELL BEFORE SB 30, BIG BEN BEFORE SB 40), WE HAVE NO DATA RE: BEARDED STEELER HEAD COACHES (TOMLIN HAS THE PENCIL-THIN BEARD RUNNING ALONG HIS JAW-LINE) NOT TO MENTION STEELER QBs WHO HAVE FACIAL HAIR BUT NO BEARDS (i.e. MARK MALONE & HIS MAGNUM P.I. MOUSTACHE WERE 0-1 IN AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES ... BIG BEN IS LOOKIN' TO GIVE STEELERS-QBs-W/GOAT-TEES A 1-0 RECORD).
THIS ILLUSTRATES WHAT'S WRONG WITH AMERICA: OUR QBs ARE TOO CLEAN-CUT. FROM BART STARR TO ROGER STAUBACH TO JOE MONTANA TO JOHN ELWAY TO TOM BRADY, NOBODY'S DARED TO WIN A SUPER BOWL WHILE WEARING A GOAT-TEE (WAIT ... DID McNABB HAVE ONE IN S.B. 39? ... IT DOESN'T MATTER 'CUZ HE DIDN'T WIN ... ).
"NO GOAT-TEE" IS NOT A CRIME -- BUT IT IS A SHAME ...
NOW, THE QB WHO INSPIRED COUNTERFEITERS WORLDWIDE TO INTRODUCE ROTHLESBURGER 7 JERSEYS INTO THE BLACK-MARKET ECONOMY IS BUCKIN' THE TREND W/ HIS FACIAL FASHION.
BIG BEN'LL NEED TO PERFORM A LITTLE BETTER THAN HE DID IN THE TWO REGULAR-SEASON MEETINGS VS. B'MORE. HE LOOKED MIGHTY SHAKY IN THE FIRST GAME UNTIL THE HURRY-UP OFFENSE RESULTED IN THE TD TO SANTONIO WHICH GOT THE LADS TO WITHIN 13-10 WHEN THEY HAD LOOKED SO FEEBLE UP TO THAT POINT.
AND, THE SECOND GAME WASN'T ANYTHING TO WRITE HOME ABOUT EITHER ... ESPECIALLY WHEN BIG BEN TURNED THE BALL OVER WITH THAT BOBBLE/VOLLEY/JUGGLE (TRAILING, 9-3) FOLLOWING THAT GIFT PUNT RETURN WHICH WAS ONE PART SANTONIO MUFF (14 YDS.) AND ONE PART KEYARON FOX ADVANCEMENT OF SAID MUFF (18 YDS.).
BIG BEN SAVED THE BLACK-N'-GOLD'S BACON W/ THAT WINNING DRIVE IN WHICH HE WAS 8 OF 11 ON THAT 92-YD. MARCH (OR WHATEVER IT WAS WHICH PRECEDED THE CONTROVERSIAL HOLMES TD CATCH IN THE FINAL MINUTE).
AS IS TYPICAL OF THAT SPORTS TOWN, IT DOES SEEM AS THOUGH THE TALENTS OF THE QB ARE TAKEN FOR GRANTED. IT WORKS THAT WAY IN MOST NFL CITIES, BUT, BEING THERE LAST WEEKEND IN HEINZ FIELD ALLOWED THE OUT-OF-TOWN, PRO-STEELER GROUPIE THE OPPORTUNITY TO GAUGE THE FAN REACTION TO THE QB WHO IS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THOSE COUNTERFEIT ROTHLESBURGER 7 JERSEYS YOU HEAR ABOUT.
IT'S ODD ... IF BIG BEN DOESN'T CLICK ON A FEW PASSES, THE MOOD GETS REAL TENSE, ALMOST PARANOID ... AS IF ROETHLISBERGER IS GOING TO MORPH INTO BUBBY BRISTER OR KORDELL STEWART OR THE 2003 TOMMY MADDOX (WHICH WASN'T NEARLY AS PRODUCTIVE AS THE 2002 NFL COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR TOMMY MADDOX).
MAYBE EVERY NFL TEAM GOES THROUGH THIS ... AND WHEN YA ATTEND ONE GAME EVERY 5 OR 8 YRS., YA DON'T SEE THE ANGST UP CLOSE.
"Oh, god ... what's he doing NOW? Is he trying to get us all killed?"
"Why is Arians calling THAT play?"
"Awww, fuck ... we're up 23-10, but it would be 40-7 if it wasn't for Big Ben ... "
"They should put me out there in one of those ROTHLESBURGER 7 jerseys and nobody would know the difference ... "
IT'S A TOUGH CROWD TO PLEASE ... AND, IN THEORY, THE FACT THAT EVERYBODY IS SO BLUE-COLLAR, THERE'S A PRESUMPTION OF ENTITLEMENT ("Pressure? I've been workin' in the mills since I was 12 ... and I pay my taxes ... so why can't Big Ben hit 14 of 15 for 392 yards with seven or eight TD's? That'd really help us out ...").
SOME OF US, ON THE OTHER HAND, REALIZE THAT BIG BEN HAS SPOILED US ROTTEN W/ HIS PLAYMAKING, SO WE'RE NEVER GONNA GET ALL FREAKED OUT OR START BOOING AFTER TWO CONSECUTIVE INCOMPLETIONS.
AFTERALL, WHAT IF THEY HAD DRAFTED CHAD PENNINGTON IN '01 OR KYLE BOLLER IN '04?
SHE SAID: "THE STEELERS ARE 0-2 ALL-TIME IN AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES PLAYED INSIDE HEINZ FIELD ... "
HE SAID: "THERE EXISTS NO CORRELATION BETWEEN '08/'09 AND THE PATRIOTS OF '01 OR '04."
NOW, IF WE WERE LOOKIN' AT "STEELER QBS WHO WEAR #18 IN PLAYOFF GAMES," "YES" ... THAT'D BE A PROBLEM SINCE PITTSBURGH IS 0-2 ALL-TIME WHEN SUCH A SCENARIO ARISES (STOUDT AT L.A. IN JAN. '84; TOMCZAK AT N.E. IN JAN. '97 ... AND #18 TED MARCHIBRODA NEVER QB'ED IN A PLAYOFF GAME, SAD TO SAY).
BUT, THIS ISN'T THE CASE HERE BECAUSE THE STEELERS CAN/WILL WIN IF THEY HEED THE WORD ON THIS RED, RUBBER WRISTBAND SOME OF US HAVE BEEN WEARING FOR THE PAST TWO WEEKS (IT READS: "ANGER") ... AND IF THEY HEED THE WORDS OF JOHNNY LYDON FROM ALMOST 25 YEARS AGO.
"ANGER IS AN ENNN-NURRR-JEEEE ... ANGER IS AN ENNN-NURRR-JEEE ... "
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Of the following, name the least-desirable:
A) The Allegheny River
B) The Monongahela River
C) The Ohio River
D) Frickin' Philip Rivers
Classic no-brainer ... it's "D" in a landslide -- but, in the aftermath of a 35-24 victory which puts SteelTown within one win of the Super Bowl, you realize that you won't be truly happy until you see Rivers' body bobbing lifelessly down the Monongahela ... until that river flows into the Ohio ... and the leopard piranha and tiger eels (native in those waters) feast on the flesh of the waterlogged and bloated corpse of the Charger QB.
"Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ... life is but a dream ... "
What we experienced today, jeez ... words can sometimes escape a fella ... which is why it's prudent to rewind to when Kramer first learned about Festivus.
"Frank, this new holiday is scratchin' me right where I itch ... "
ON THE OTHER HAND, MAYBE "FESTIVUS" ISN'T OUR WISEST OPTION HERE ... CONSIDERING NEXT WEEK'S OPPONENT AND, HOW, DURING THE RAVENS' SUPER BOWL RUN OF '00, BILLICK, SOMETIME 'ROUND MIDSEASON, DIDN'T WANT HIS PLAYERS SAYING THE "P" WORD (PLAYOFFS, POSTSEASON), SO O-LINEMAN EDWIN MULITALO CIRCUMVENTED THE COACH'S EDICT BY CALLING JANUARY GAMES "FESTIVUS" ... IT WAS KINDA CLEVER, BUT MOSTLY ANNOYING ...
True dat: Tonight at the stadium was appreciably more enjoyable than the 11-10, "L'Estasi d'Oro" Game which most of us watched on TV (and witnessed the famous, one-handed-scoop INT by Polamalu on hi-def before watching the rest of the game on ordinary-def).
And, today, we witnessed the convergence (at "the confluence") of the cosmic forces of that 11-10 victory wherein the Steelers didn't score a TD (thanks, refs) and the only thing S.D. had workin' in its favour -- a 2-0 record all-time in Pittsburgh in the postseason; 0-13 all-time in the regular season there.
Regardless, the Towels were in full-twirl mode because the Steelers made all the little things add up to one huge home win during a weekend in which the previous three home teams went 0-3 -- a trend which looked mighty ominous when the Chargers scored four plays into tonight's contest.
However, the Black N' Gold got matters turned around -- and all three phases of the game were sound (the OL surrendered only one sack while allowing Fast Willie to go off for 146 yds. ... the Chargers' rushed for 15 net yards ... and the Charger punt which Santonio took to the house and the Steeler punt which ricocheted off of Weddle's helmet, those were fun ... ).
While he wasn't fully de-commisioned or eviscerated, he was effectively neutralized ...
Such were the observations and attention to minutae from Section 124 w/ the Mrs. -- the same 'til-death-do-us-part sidekick who made Game 4 of the World Series on the other side of the Keystone State something unforgettable.
Yes, we would've loved it if Santonio had been sprinting toward our seats 20 rows behind the "P" in PITTSBURGH painted in our end zone -- just so we would've had a better view of #10 doin' that little baby-hop over the diving Legedu Naanee (whoever that is) at the 15-yard line.
But, even though his score came at the opposite end of the stadium, we noticed what CBS didn't show its audience ... that following the end-zone celebration, Santonio jogged across the field toward the Steeler sideline and slapped hands with #57 Matt Wilhelm for S.D., who was gettin' ready for the PAT (#57 in Charger Blue, of course, being a symbol of frustration 14 seasons ago when Dennis Gibson was AHHHHH, SEIZURE ALERT!!!).
Then, during the super-lengthy review/TV timeout to look at the Foote/Harrison INT following S.D.'s only snap of the 3rd quarter, Santonio and Wilhelm were chit-chatting -- perhaps catching up (?) on ol' times, such as the 2002 season when they were Buckeye teammates (Wilhelm was a senior LB, Santonio was reshirting as a frosh WR).
That's the thing about Santonio Holmes -- we never really know what's on that cat's mind.
For example, there was that moment in the third quarter when Santonio was waving his arms in the universal signal (palms up) for "noise! noise!" as the offense broke the huddle -- the only thing is, 1.5 seconds later, Big Ben walked to the line of scrimmage and offered the universal signal (arms extended, palms down) for "shhhh! shut up for a minute ... "
What delightful conflict ...
And, how nice it was of Santonio Holmes to channel The Ghost of Ernie Holmes (maybe) during his punt runback (we all remember where we were and what we were doing a year ago at this time when we learned that Ernie died in that car crash in Texas two weeks after the playoff loss to the Jags).
They say that the reason for the famous arrow-shape of Fats' haircut was to remind him of which way to keep moving. Santonio doesn't seem like the type of guy who'll ever opt for such a bold hairstyle, but that's merely the opinion of a guy who wore a mohawk during the final week of Nov./first week of Dec.
There's usually a reason for everything (such as the mohawk being the universal expression of solidarity for the Mrs. completing her chemotherapy), although the reason for Santonio wearing a throwback #75 Steeler jersey (with a football tucked under his right arm as he holds a Michael Jordan trading card in his left hand) in this FLEER Platinum Influence trading card from a few years ago, well ... the quest for an explanation might very well get filed under "attempting to know the unknowable."
On the other hand, when there's a pregame "incident" when the guy in the parking lot at the bakery outlet on Western Ave. leans up against the portable heater and significantly singes the bottom of his HAMPTON 98 jersey, people need to know that this is not a tragedy -- and that the run-stuffing nose tackle will not be scarred for life or cast into some doomed purgatory somewhere between "jinxed" and "cursed."
It's times like those when it's important to be a good teammate and inform Casey Fan: "That's a GOOD omen, buddy. It's totally positive. Nuthin' to worry about, Chief. Ya gotta trust me on this one ... "
OF COURSE, THERE'S NO WAY YOU'RE GONNA TELL THAT GUY ABOUT THE RAMIFICATIONS AND REPERCUSSIONS IF ANY TAILGATER SHOULD HAPPEN TO SPILL CHILI OR NACHO CHEESE ON HIS/HER KEISEL 99 JERSEY. IF THAT EVER HAPPENS, HEAVEN HELP US ALL ... )
Providing comfort for the guy with the burnt Hampton jersey, well ... let's just say that it's part of "the process" in gamesmanship ... a meaningful element as symbolic as Jeff Reed's unbelievable shock of bleached-out hair which greeted fans before they got revved up during the fly-over at the end of the national anthem.
As we've come to learn, bleached-out hair and fly-overs which punctuate national anthems are side dishes to the main course that is the tastiest part of any NFL game which we attend in person -- "The Pageant of Jerseys" (i.e. who's wearing who).
With such frigid weather, it's certainly not easy for a husband and wife to display vintage his-and-her looks (i.e. OKOBI 56 and IWUOMA 29 ... and/or HOKE 76 and HOAK 42 ... then again, Dick Hoak didn't have his name on the back when he played ... in fact, his five Super Bowl rings were not earned in his 10 years as a Steeler RB, but, instead during his 35 years as a Noll/Cowher assistant ... ).
The pickin's were a little slim out at the ballpark tonight, save for the usual shirts for Ward n' Polamalu n' Parker n' Harrison, etc ...
We didn't see anyone wearing a counterfeit ROTHLESBURGER 7 jersey (which we know are out there somewhere), although we noticed an oldtimer wearing his THIGPEN 82 backwards (intentionally, we assumed) -- and that other guy had the last name spelled correctly on the back of his STRZELCZYK 73 shirt, so we knew THAT wasn't a counterfeit.
AND HERE'S SOMETHING WHICH HAS STUCK IN OUR CRAW FOR A BUNCH OF YEARS: WHY WAS IT THAT WHEN "THE DEER HUNTER" WAS ENTRENCHING ITSELF INTO OUR COLLECTIVE CONSCIENCE AS SOME SORTA SLICE OF AMERICANA, WHAT WAS THE DEAL WITH NO REFERENCES TO THE STEELERS? >>> THINK ABOUT IT: MIKE N' NICKY N' STEVIE WERE BUDDIES FROM CLAIRTON IN THE MID-'70'S, BUT ALL THEY EVER DID WAS WORK IN THE MILL, DRINK, SING, GO BOWLING, B.S. A LOT AND SHOOT DEER ("Every time we come up here, ya got no jacket, ya got no boots, ya got no belt, ya got no knife ... all ya got is that fuckin' gun ya carry around like John Wayne. That ain't gonna help ya." -- DeNiro) >>> THE FELLAS WERE NEVER TOSSIN' 'ROUND A FOOTBALL AFTER WORK AND SAYIN', "DIDJA SEE THE GAME YESTERDAY?" SERIOUSLY ... HOW'D THE GUYS GO FROM 1845 PITTSBURGH TO VIETNAM? >>> AGAIN ... MAYBE WE'RE LEANING UP AGAINST WHAT IS "UNKNOWABLE." THANK GOD THAT MOVIES SUCH AS "BLACK SUNDAY" AND "HEAVEN CAN WAIT" EXPLAINED EVERYTHING ABOUT THE STEELERS OF THE '70S ...
MEANWHILE ... any report is an incomplete report when there's no mention of somebody wearing a DAWSON 63 jersey (which, if we were to buy a Steeler jersey for this household, THAT'S the name n' number we'd select ... all of which seems a bit unlikely, given how three days after wearing an authentic Nike SOONERS 4 jersey to work, we wondered why is it that NFL-jersey manufacturer Reebok doesn't manufacture/distribute NFL jerseys for public consumption which are cut more like the actual, game-type style ... y'know, instead of stripes near your elbow on a floppy sleeve, a tapered sleeve which ends mid-bicep with the gold stripes near the shoulder ... just like the players wear ... )
Yeah, it's understood that with the floppy sleeve, a fan can wear a sweatshirt and a windbreaker under an XXXL or XXXXL jersey (in order to establish sensible "layering"), yet, if somebody wants a tapered sleeve w/ stripes nearer to the shoulder for watchin' the game in the comfort of their own Steeler Sanctuary/living room, Reebok sez, "No sale."
As per the absence of DAWSON 63, maybe the townsfolk are feeling conflicted ... wanting not to wear their #63, thinking that it might jinx Dermontti's Hall of Fame legitimacy when his candidacy is discussed (and, likely, glossed over) later this month in Tampa.
Or maybe it's because Ernie Holmes wore #63.
Or because we can't wear #78 ... out of respect for Dwight White (who died last June) ... but, also so as not to jinx Max Starks as he carries out his blocking schemes.
So much deep, dark inner-conflict ... unlike the bright, bubbly, happy conflict represented by Santonio's "more noise!" followed immediately by Big Ben's "quiet, please!"
Anyway, tonight's climate (25 degrees/wind-chill 18 ... dazzling, snow-globe mini-flakes throughout the entire first half) did not provide an ideal setting for showcasing jersey allegiances, although it was the rather perfect occasion to strut around in black-n'-gold outerwear.
IMAGINE IF THE FIRED-UP CROWD FOUND OUT THAT THE GUY WITH THE PLAIN-BLACK STEELERS KNIT CAP, THE BLACK-GRAY-CHARCOAL-YELLOW INSULATED STEELERS GLOVES AND THE BRAND NEW STEELER WINDJACKET (thanks, Hometowne Sports) WAS USING THE FOLLOWING AS "UPPER" LAYERING: A GREEN LONG-SLEEVE MOCK-T WHICH WAS SO OLD YOU COULD STILL SEE THE DISCUS ATHLETIC TAG ON IT; A GRAY COLORADO BUFFALOES HOODIE; AND A RED, LINED MARYLAND 2002 NATIONAL CHAMPIONS JACKET ...
Without a doubt: The fashion fiesta never gets old, albeit we need to differentiate between the unknowable and the "we're-better-off-NOT-knowin'."
Such as why that guy eight or nine rows in front of us was wearin' a BEER 24 Steeler jersey.
Or why that guy goin' down the escalator had a DECENT 1 jersey.
And, where the frick was our ol' pal from the Ravens game in B'More ... DANISH 43?
Did DANISH 43 forget how we bonded when he was 100 feet ahead of us and then he kept walkin' straight ahead while we veered off to the left so that we could spend two minutes visiting the Unitas Statue (the one where Johnny U. has a package the size of a grapefruit ... HEY, DON'T LOOKIT ME, I DIDN'T SCULPT IT ... ).
It's all water under the bridge now (pun intended) -- and because of this weekend's developments, they'll be fillin' up Heinz Field up next Sunday the way that Heinz has filled our lives with so many ketchup moments which Hunt's can only dream about.
Just say no to Nashville ... how fitting, given that the cow they call LargeDale White tried to act all tough a few weeks ago by wipin' his cleats on a Terrible Towel.
Tsk, tsk ... how soon they forget that when the CinShitnati BenGirls pulled that tough-guy shit three years ago (Housh-man-zilli polishing his shoes with a Towel), Kimo von Oelhoffen delivered retribution by submarining Carson Palmer's knee.
This trip to Steeler Country ... it will remain a keeper which'll rank right up there w/ Game 4 of the '08 World Series (played moments after the yellow-helmeted Steelers collapsed against the G-Men who had invaded Heinz ... when James Harrison was long-snapping for the recently-crippled Chris Warren ... ).
Dear Diary: This was wayyyy better than the only time we ever sat inside Imploded-But-Never-Forgotten Three Rivers Stadium ... that mid-August blockbuster in '82 ... when approx. 856 of the 11,345 in attendance that night went ape-shit when Jason Thompson went deep against Atlee Hammaker ...
[P.S. -- Our only other Steeler game before this season was that 20-13 classic in the '98 season opener which was the first game ever played in Ravens Stadium -- a black-n'-gold triumph highlighted by a bad snap by Harper LeBel which put the ball inside the Raven 5 ... you never forget a bad snap by a guy named Harper LeBel and, holy crap! That's TWO references to long-snappers -- and, at this point, it's not worth it to attempt to name the long snapper(s) in the only other NFL playoff game we've attended ... Jan. '89 at CandleShit ... w/ Jay-Ay ... when that back judge had to leave the game after slipping on the damp surface while trying to keep up w/ Jerry Rice ... personal cost that day: zero $$$, just like the Steelers-Ravens tussle 10 yrs. ago ... ]
This odyssey in Steeler Country will forever rank right up there with the pilgrimage to Philly for Game 4 of the World Series, notwithstanding the 5-Way Chili at the Steak N' Shake which did taste as though the matter which was poured over the spaghetti noodles came from a can.
We were hoping for something a little more homemade in orientation.
It's going in the report -- just as the hospitality of the locals who ran the hotel where we lodged in West Mifflin (yup ... right next door to the Allegheny Co. Airport ... right down the street from Dean Honda) will get their propers.
And SuperDawg? He hit the jackpot with his new Steeler collar (which is gonna rankle the bejabbers outta the folks back home in the Ravens Quadrant of the Mid-Atlantic Corridor).
SteelerPup spent the game 'cross town ... in the warmth of a South Park dwelling ... appreciative of the manner in which the OL negated Igor Olshansky in a possible sneak-preview of what's in store for Haloti Ngata, the behemoth who lined up next to Olshanky on that '01 Oregon Ducks team which truly was the team which shoulda played Miami in the BCS Title Game in the Rose Bowl.
Unlike the Steeler game at B'More last month, we toughed it out 'til the very end (and thensome), laughing heartily as the kid w/ the Bambi stride (Limas Sweed, who the closed-caption typist once I.D.ed as "Lie Muss Weed") sprinted toward us and was unable to corral that deeeeeep ball from Leftwich during garbage time.
We chuckled ... because, like a HAMPTON 98 jersey which gets toasted, it's best to mask anguish with laughter.
And, stickin' 'round 'til the very end allows ya to finish yer pizza as ya notice how quickly Kasim Osgood frickin' bolted off the field before everybody else (obviously, eager to get a good seat on that flight back to mediocrity).
Or how rookie Jacob Hester, of all people, was the last Charger off the field, tapping Fast Willie on the backside (Thought Parker: "Who the frick is that dude?") before making his way to the tunnel ...
Section 124 afforded us a premium vantage point for observing the personal growth that Fast Willie has undergone this season -- as evidenced by his two TD celebrations.
The first one (right in front of us) featured Willie bent forward, doin' a between-the-legs weave with the ball before he shot a fall-away jumper from the rear pylon.
On the second TD (his 18-yard scamper which put Team Rustbelt up, 35-17), Willie knelt (some would say he "genuflected") and offered a roll of the ball which might've been part-bowling, part-dicethrow.
Again ... the knowledge that we're pursuing here might very well fall under the heading of "the unknowable."
Regardless, good for you, Gary Russell ... fightin' yer way across the goal line on a sweep w/ cutback and then punctuating the effort with your vicious, celebratory spike on the 2-yard line (after "breaking the plane," of course).
Russell's TD served as redemption for earlier in the game when the offense was stopped on 4th-n'-goal from the 1 for the fifth time this season ... FIVE frickin' times --> vs. Indy, the first Charger game, vs. Dallas ... there's another one we're missing, but, so what, right?
The Steelers' red-zone offense has been a little erratic this season, although everybody loves it when Heath Miller is blocking, blocking, blocking and Big Ben is drifting to his right, drifting, drifting, buying time, looking, looking -- and then Miller disengages from his opponent, that defender advances toward the QB and then Benny Roth holds the ball a split-second longer and then executes the dump-off to #83 ... verrrrrry nicely-done.
That was the capper to the lengthy drive to open the third quarter -- and it was a dagger. Big Ben -- showing no ill-effects from the concussion sustained two weeks ago -- delivered the ball with seemingly more mustard today (if that's fair to say when seated inside the ketchup kingdom).
Big Ben made anybody who owns a counterfeit ROTHLESBURGER 7 jersey damn proud -- and the OL was so stout that it makes ya wanna substitute "we/our/us" for "the Steelers" in most sentences.
Our line was great today ...
We really protected well today ...
The Ravens will have their hands full with us ...
Make no mistake: That's a dangerous (and unfair) practice -- which is why it's vital to limit conversations to strangers (such as the ones in Section 124) to, "So, do ya think that it's time to rank Gary Russell up there with the previous #33 RBs from our past, i.e. Frenchy, Merrill and Bam?"
The fans are hardcore ... and they prefer to engage in the sing-song "Here we go, Steelers, here we go ..." -- as opposed to acknowledging personal observations such as, "Patrick Bailey is REALLY showin' me somethin' today" (which would prompt one of your Section 124 neighbors to notice Patrick in his #55 for the kick-cover team and remark, "Say, isn't 55 the number that ... " >>> and before they can finish the sentence with "Joey Porter," you blurt out, "You're right! Jerry Olsavsky DID wear number 55."
Sometimes it's better just to bite yer tongue ... because if you start quizzing everybody in Section 124 about who's their favorite #55, it might end up as an exercise in frustration when you realize how many people can't think outside the realm of Joey Porter as #55.
Which is sad, given that Jon Kolb wore #55 as the starter at left tackle on four Super Bowl winners.
It's something to think about any time that #72 Darnell Stapleton is doin' his thing at right guard and you're wondering if it's a good idea to say to the guy next to ya, "Kinda reminds ya of Gerry Mullins, doesn't it?"
Did they forget that Moon Mullins wore #72 ... or that he played the same position as Stapleton ... or that he, like Kolb, was the other OL starter on four Super Bowl winners?
Well, Section 124's on its own next week -- so, the banner which is draped across the wall next to the end zone across Sections 125 and 124 will have to provide the inspiration: