Friday, October 28, 2005

A Loser Picking Winners, Week 8

Alright, I have about a million things to talk about, so let's get to it:

... Here's a headline that caught my attention:
"Man fined $300 for impersonating Roethlisberger"
I'm guessing you can see where I'm going with this. That's right, my first thought was: They actually arrested Tommy Maddox for his performance in the Jacksonville game? And my second thought: What the hell took so long?

... Speaking of Tommy Maddox, I was flipping back and forth during the Monday night Falcons - Jets game, and at one point in the second half, Vinny Testaverde was sitting on the bench with a possible Achilles tendon injury. Given that Vinny's nickname is "Really, really old guy," and that any time you hear the word "Achilles" promptly followed by "injury," you can be pretty sure that it's serious. Anyway, the sight of Bollinger warming up got the little hamster running around upstairs with crazy thoughts like: If I'm Kevin Colbert, I'm on the horn ASAP trying to trade Maddox to the Jets for whatever they're willing to give up -- and that includes a new kicking tee for Jeff Reed. Seriously, I would consider it a steal if Pittsburgh were able to get a fourth round pick for dumping Maddox on a really desperate team. And yes, I'd give serious consideration to a fifth, six or seventh round pick too.

Sadly, Tommy so irreparably damaged his career in one afternoon, I don't even think the Jets are that desperate, and their current stable of QBs includes names like Vinny, Brooks and Cliff.

... Tuesday, I mentioned a Len Pasquarelli report about Maddox's future in Pittsburgh. That same article also talked about the much-improved Steelers' secondary:
"Funny thing about the Pittsburgh secondary (and being a native 'burgher we can say this), but it's far more admired around the league than it is by the hometown fans, who never feel the unit plays well enough."
Actually, that's really not that funny at all. And I have to disagree with the notion that everybody else in the league is higher on Pittsburgh DBs than Pittsburghers. In fact, I wrote last week that the Sporting News had this to say in the days leading up to the PITT - CINCY game:
"To win, though, the Steelers must shore up their woeful pass defense against Carson Palmer and his potent attack."
Yep, that sounds like a ringing endorsement to me. had an article on the "youth movement" in Pittsburgh's secondary, and if you want to get Steeler fans all lathered up, try starting a conversation off like this:
"When the Steelers took the field for their 2003 opener against the Baltimore Ravens, their starting defensive backs were Dewayne Washington and Chad Scott, Mike Logan and Brent Alexander."
If you don't get punched in the mouth, you should. (By the way, hearing these names is very similar to the feeling you get when your buddy breaks out a picture of that girlfriend who dumped you in college, and then drops a, "Oh, did you hear, she just married that guy you used to really hate.") Now this is when Pittsburgh fans were really down on the secondary. I don't think I've heard any negative comments on the likes of Troy, Hope, Ike, Ricardo, and now Bryant at all this season. And to be perfectly honest, I don't remember any national media reports noting how much progress this secondary has made since those dark days of 2003. If anything, there's been a lot more of the Sporting News-type propaganda.

... Speaking of the secondary, the Tribune-Review should win some kind of award for actually writing an interesting article in yesterday's paper on Ike Taylor. The fact that I learned something, should be considered a milestone. Anyway, here are a couple of emails that me and my buddy Andy sent back and forth yesterday morning:
ANDY: Did you read the article about Ike in the Tribune? Interesting.

ME: Yeah. The first part was kind of weird, but considering that paper usually writes crap, it was pretty good.

ANDY: I had to look up what a cosmetologist was. I thought maybe Ike's mom was a fortune teller until I looked it up.

ME: I think a cosmetologist is a russian astronaut.
Who knew that Ike's mom was not only Russian, but has also been in space. Pretty amazing stuff.

... Another week, and no change in Boomer Esiason's mental state -- he's still an numbnut. I think it says something when he's far and away the dumbest guy on CBS' pregame show -- and this is an esteemed group that includes Shannon Sharpe and Dan Marino. Anyway, I mention Esiason here because he wrote a ridiculously crappy column earlier this week. He had a particularly idiotic take on the Chad Johnson would-be TD catch in the first quarter of last week's game:
"I still think it was a very controversial replay reversal when Chad Johnson's reception, originally ruled a touchdown, was overturned after the official explained that Johnson's left arm came down first out of bounds. Working for CBS on Sunday gave me the opportunity to see all of the different angle replays and not once did I see indisputable evidence to overturn the call on the field. The Bengals were hoping for a high-flying start, but they were grounded from that point -- unable to capitalize on their very impressive first-quarter time of possession (over 11 minutes). From that point, the Bengals struggled to match the Steelers' will."
Of all the calls in that game, that was the most controversial? Sheesh. Look, I know Boomer's just a big a Bengals homer as I am a Steelers', but can he at least try to make a rational (or even semi-rational; approaching rational; vaguely rational ... anything that might accidentally be misconstrued as rational) argument for his case? Is that asking too much?

... Here are a couple of funny things I came across as the Steelers prepare for their Monday nighter against the Ravens. First, this little graphic is from the Sporting News website (and yes, you have to pay for it -- what can I say, I'm a dope), and I don't know what's more amazing: the fact that the Steelers are better in virtually every category, or that the one category where the Ravens have the edge is in the secondary. Didn't we just have this discussion? And isn't Ed Reed out? (Yes and yes) And honestly, I've long since stopped taking any of this stuff seriously -- primarily because most of the "experts" don't really know what they're talking about. It's kinda like pro wrestling -- as long as you think of it as entertainment you'll be OK. Either way, when you consider that the Ravens were favored to win the Super Bowl by a lot of, ahem, experts, to see a graphic like this eight weeks into the season is pretty funny.

But it get's better. I found this at a Steelers' message board, and was convinced it was somebody having fun with Photoshop (especially since Joe Thiesmann wrote the foreward) ... until I saw this. I'm guessing this book is on the shelf right next to, "How to star in a successful sitcom" by Jason Alexander. I am now collecting donations so that I may purchase this book, mail it to Ravens HQ, and get Billick's John Hancock on that bad boy.

... One more thing before I get to the saddest part of my week during football season. I'll file this under, "Please, please don't quit your day job ... and hire a proofreader too." This is from Roethlisberger's personal weblog:

Zeus & The Great Pumpking

There are a bunch a questions I have about this picture of Roethlisberger's dog, Zeus, but here's the one I'm going with: Do you think that Ben knows that it's actually called a "pumpkin," not "pumpking?" That sounds like some nickname he would give himself in high school, or when he's out trying to mack on chicks. (I'm guessing Roethlisberger would start off his conversation something like this: "... Nice to meet you ladies. You can call me Big Ben or the Pump King -- I answer to both.")

... On to the picks (and yes, I still have a bunch of stuff to talk about that I didn't cover here, so I'll save it for Monday, since I won't actually have a Steelers game to talk about)...

Yep, I'm still not good. I was 6-8 last week, losing several games by a couple of points, which if I'm being totally honest with myself, are at least moral victories. And just like the 49ers, at this point in the season, moral victories count. Anyway, here are this week's you're-guaranteed-to-lose-everything-if-you-bet-these-games picks:

MIA NO -2.0 NO
KC SD -6.0 SD
TB SF 11.0 TB
Season: 44 - 57 - 1
Last week: 6 - 8
Earnings to date: - $1870

Week 1 picks
Week 2 picks
Week 3 picks
Week 4 picks
Week 5 picks
Week 6 picks
Week 7 picks