Friday, December 16, 2005

A Loser Picking Winners, Week 15

... Talk about timing. Yesterday, four Vikings were charged with doing a bunch of naughty stuff in public. On Wednesday's PTI, Jerome Bettis was on for "five good minutes," and Kornheiser asked him if, with there being three rivers in Pittsburgh and all, we might expect a Steelers sex boat scandal anytime soon. He said something to the effect of, "... well, I have to tell you, I overheard Chris Gardocki, Sean Morey, Jeff Reed, and Casey Hampton talking about doing just that. Renting a boat, going out on the Mon, hiring a bunch of strippers, and going nuts. And Mark Madden's agreed to DJ the whole thing. And since he spends most of his free time at Club Erotica anyway, it'll be just like home for him."

OK. I made that whole thing up. I'm guessing the part where I included the Hampburglar in a conversation with the punter, the special teams ace and the place kicker probably gave it away. And if that didn't clue you in, maybe the mention of Mark Madden did -- even though the guy is apparently quite the strip club connoisseur (but really, who isn't?)

In reality, the Bus basically answered Mr. Tony's question thusly: "No." But that's a lot more boring than my version of it, even if it's stretching the truth just a bit.

Whatever. It does seem kinda odd that indictments were passed down this week. I'm not complaining. It just seems curious. Adding insult to injury was this story in the Star Tribune. It's a first-hand account of what happened on the boat ... as told by one of the strippers flown up from Atlanta to enjoy the festivities (although according to her, there was never any mention of prostitution being part of the deal). Nothing like having a stripper clear things up, especially if you're one of the four players implicated in this whole mess. She didn't name names, but the only thing that could make this whole ordeal even more slow-motion-train-wreckishly hilarious, was if she identified Brad Johnson and Mike Tice as two of the Vikings employees who were both lewd and lascivious in public (although not necessarily with each other; not that there's anything wrong with that).

OK, enough with that tomfoolery.

... Alright, does anybody know what's going on with Ben's thumb? Bouchette reports that it's not broken, but I swear I thought I heard Rich Eisen say on "Total Access" that the thumb has a "crack" in it, but it wouldn't change the fact that Ben's going to play. Actually, I don't care what's wrong with Roethlisberger's thumb just as long as: (a) it doesn't get any worse, and (b) he can still throw the ball. (Well, balls that don't travel any more than 40 yards down the field, I guess. But hey, like Steven Wright said, "you can't have everything, where would you put it.")

And as long as I'm making ridiculous observations about Ben, here's the latest from his blog. (Which, I might again remind you, apparently has an audience consisting only of desperate women and ... me. Sweet.)

... Israel reminded us to vote for Hines for the Play of the Week. He got it. And Jerome was Player of the Week too. Not bad. Now if we can just get Ike in the Pro Bowl.

... I was taking my daily look around one of the Steelers' message boards I like to lurk and I found this really interesting post:
"I have been watching Foote play a lot lately and, while he is not playing badly, he does not make anyone clamour for him like Kendrell Bell did. In essence, he is not that explosive blitzer that runs all over the field blowing things fact, after watching him, I realize that Foote is a very controlled player who understands the game and does a pretty damn good job of just being in position to make plays.

He blitzes less than Bell ever did, drops in coverage more, and has quietly tallied 84 tackles this season. And, all this has me thinking, is Larry Foote the guy to take Farrior's place when Farrior's time here is done? He plays the game very similar to Farrior. And, do we go after that animal to play beside know, the slobbering out the mouth bulldog that you just point and send places to blow shit up."
I've complained in the past about how sometimes message boards are basically an electronic form of mass hysteria. You know, the sky is falling, end of the world type stuff. But TMC, the guy who I quoted above, usually has some really insightful comments, and often serves as the voice of reason when people start jumping ship (after say, the Bengals game, for example). Anyway, I'm glad to hear Foote get some pub for being a headsy player. Of course, "headsy" could be taken by a football player the same way a girl might take, "hey, you have an unbelievable personality!", but in this instance I think it's a compliment.

And for all the amazing things Kendrell Bell did while he was with the Steelers (especially his rookie season), he was a two-down player because he sucked in pass coverage. Remember the Steelers toying around with using Bell as a rush end on third downs during the 2002 preseason just to keep him on the field? How did that work out again? I also agree that Foote is the perfect complement to some laboratory experiment of a middle linebacker you might put next to him (like one of those 7-foot, 350 lbs., 4.2-forty beasts you can create in Madden who has 99s in everything -- including kicking power and accuracy). And I'm not indicting Farrior. In fact, I think he's had a solid year; obviously nothing like 2004, but he's certainly been pretty good (and a lot better than some people seem to think). But in a season or two, the Steelers will probably be looking to get a little younger at the position. And if they could stumble across the Troy Polamalu of MLB's, Larry Foote could serve as his Chris Hope -- the safety net. Hey, look what Odell Thurman's done for Cincy's defense. Now think about a player like that in Pittsburgh. Not bad.

... Speaking of the Bengals, I saw this on ESPN last night. Jeez. The thing is, coming out of college Chris Henry was compared to Randy Moss in terms of ability and a cross between Ron Artest and Terrell Owens in terms of maturity. I was actually glad to see him go to the Bengals because I figured Marvin Lewis would best be able to explain to him the importance of being a responsible adult, not blowing a great opportunity, not being a deadbeat, blah, blah blah. Well, the joke's on Marvin, I guess. Henry was caught driving with an expired license, expired tags, and two bags of weed. Look, I could care less about having an expired license and tags. That's hardly a crime worth reporting. But when you've got a history of getting in trouble, you might try extra-hard to keep your nose clean, so to speak. And while carrying around two bags of pot probably does mean your nose is literally clean, it still means you're getting cuffed and stuffed for being a retard.

I've said this a bunch before, but Steeler fans are spoiled. The closet this organization has come to having a malcontent is Plax. Yeah, I don't remember him ever getting caught with marijuana on his person. He had the good sense to smoke it at home. Just kidding. I think.

On to the picks ...

... Last week was a moral victory: I finished 7 - 8 - 1. Honestly, my picks aren't even funny in a sad way, at this point. But hey, embarrassment and ridicule never slowed me up before, and so with that, this week's winners (chuckle):

TB NE -5.0 TB
SF JAX -16.0 SF
GB BAL - 3.5 GB
Season: 91 - 113 - 4
Last week: 7 - 8 - 1
Earnings to date: - $3330

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