Tuesday, September 07, 2004

The Original Flip-Flopper

Sometimes I think being a sportswriter is a lot like being a politician. You can say one thing only to contradict yourself later because your new position better suits your needs at the moment -- that and you live in the hopes that no one will have the time or energy to check up on your original position. Well Mike Prisuta, I'm your worst nightmare!


Not really, but with way too much time on my hands, I found Prisuta's latest article to be such a flip-flop that it would even make a particular presidential candidate blush. Anyway, here's what Prisuta said way back on April 25 (after day 1 of the draft):

In the days leading up to Saturday and in the minutes immediately following the No. 11 overall selection, Bill Cowher kept insisting the Steelers didn't expect to be drafting this high very often.

But in the wake of taking Ben Roethlisberger in the first round, you have to wonder if picking in the vicinity of the top 10 isn't about to become habit forming.

Same time next year, fellas?
Fair enough. You always need a couple of local writers to be contrarian lest everyone be in agreement (and you can't have total agreement about any sports phenomenon, right?). But here's the problem. Prisuta penned a story Sunday that rings very different than the one above -- and the thing is, the Steelers haven't made any major personnel moves (unless you think trading Todd Fordham is a major personnel move).

Presenting your 2004 Pittsburgh Steelers.

Your 2004 AFC North Division-champion Pittsburgh Steelers.

...The Steelers can and will prosper in such an environment mostly because this year they're healthy along the offensive line (with the exception of right guard Kendall Simmons), and because they've rediscovered a running game.

Offensively, the Steelers have the potential to be something of a Juggernaut.

...They're not a great team yet, but they're better in the areas where they needed to improve to compete...Considering where they're coming from, that should make for a satisfying season.
When Prisuta penned his April diatribe I wrote that he was just being a sourpuss.

In fact, here's how Prisuta finished the original piece:

"Recent history suggests Roethlisberger is as likely to turn into the next Tim Couch as he is the next Bledsoe, but the Steelers decided to swing for the fences, anyway, rather than to continue simply moving the runners.

Now that they have, the momentum of the offseason has been broken. Duce Staley was a significant signing that made the Steelers better now. Re-signing Clark Haggans made them better now if only because it got Jason Gildon off the field. And re-signing Mike Logan made them better now because it contributed to the release of Brent Alexander.

Rather than building on all of that, the Steelers looked ahead.

Well beyond 2004."
Interesting. What a difference four months can make. Well, here was my witty response to Prisuta at the time, and I as I re-read it, my opinion hasn't changed:

My first thoughts are, I wonder what Prisuta would have written if the Steelers passed on Roethlisberger and took OT Andrews? I'm guessing it would be exactly the same with the names changed.

Look, the New England Patriots, 2-time Super Bowl champs in the last 3 years, have manipulated the draft to their advantage the last few seasons that it almost seems like a science. One of their big beliefs is that they are willing to trade down this year to accumulate picks next year -- and in so doing position themselves for the future -- Belichick realizes he's in it for the long haul. Unlike Prisuta, who apparently would be content winning 9 games next season and then struggling for the next three or four doesn't buy into that philosophy -- and that's why he's a writer.

Check and mate. OK, that's not really checkmate, and the impetus for this post was more to show that Prisuta's flip-flopping didn't go unnoticed. Doesn't the Tribune-Review have editors, or can you just say whatever you want, no matter how often you contradict yourself (wait a minute, that's how Mark Madden made a name for himself too).

Anyway, I think it's funny that Prisuta is jumping on the bandwagon after the Steelers had a pretty solid preseason despite the fact that nothing's changed personnel-wise since the draft. I'll be eagerly awaiting his next article when he again switches allegiances and calls for Cowher's head on a stick. Either way, I'll be watching.