Thursday, January 29, 2009

Disrespecting the Towel

In this video clip, the Cardinals' mascot is seen wiping his furry armpits with a Terrible Towel and the mayor of Phoenix mock blows his nose in it. One can only hope that the Cardinals suffer the 'Curse of the Towel' on Sunday. (Historically, other teams haven't fared well after the Towel gets disrespected).


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

LeBeau named PFW/PFWA Assistant Coach of the Year

Yesterday, Steelers' defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau was named PFW/PFWA Assistant Coach of the Year. It's the second time LeBeau has won the award, and the fourth time in 16 years that a Pittsburgh assistant has walked away with the honor.

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Ravens: What are the Chances...?

The turnover battle figures to be key in tomorrow's AFC Championship game. Ravens' rookie quarterback Joe Flacco has not fumbled or thrown an interception or been sacked in two playoff games. If the Steelers can force him into several major mistakes it bodes well for Pittsburgh's chances. It's worth noting that no rookie QB has yet led his team to a Super Bowl - Dan Marino and Ben Roethlisberger coming closest thus far. Meanwhile, Roethlisberger and company need to protect the ball to win, as Baltimore has forced eight turnovers in its two playoff games.

The Ravens looked tired at times in last week's win over Tennessee, and were generally outplayed in the game. Hopefully, the stress of playing 18 consecutive weeks without a bye will catch up the Ravens tomorrow. It also bodes well that the Steelers - especially Roethlisberger and Willie Parker - seem to be getting healthier. Still, the Ravens figure to be very tough, and the game should come down to the wire, as it usually does against Baltimore. We're giving the Steelers a 55 percent chance of victory.

What are the Chances...? is 11-6 this season and 37-13 all-time.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Chargers: What are the Chances...?

The Steelers have been a very difficult team to read this year, and this game is no exception. One expects that Pittsburgh will find a way to win, unless Ben Roethlisberger isn't sufficiently recovered from his concussion and the offense makes the kind of big mistakes that place our #1 defense in difficult situations. But the Chargers' history in Pittsburgh is a little scary; 0-13 during the regular season, but 2-0 in the postseason, including the crushing AFC Championship game loss in 1994. That defeat was particularly horrible for me personally, as I had Super Bowl tickets that year, and ventured down to Miami to watch San Diego get clobbered by the San Francisco 49ers.

We'll give the Steelers a 60 percent chance of winning today. The Steelyard finished 10-6 prediction-wise in 2008, and is 36-13 all-time.

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Friday, January 09, 2009

Steelers v. Bills in Click for Cans Championship game

By virtue of defeating the Indianapolis Colts in the Click for Cans playoff quarterfinals, the Steelers have advanced to one of the two championship games and now take on the Buffalo Bills. Click here to vote for the Steelers to beat the Bills.

The winner of this matchup will take on the winner of the Green Bay Packers vs. Tampa Bay Bucs game in the Click for Cans Super Bowl.

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Two Steelers named first-team All-Pro

Two Steelers have been named to the first-team on the Associated Press 2008 NFL All-Pro roster: Safety Troy Polamalu and outside linebacker James Harrison. It's the first All-Pro honor for Harrison, who was recently named AP Defensive Player of the Year. In addition, James Farrior was named to the second team at inside linebacker.

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Chargers wide receiver arrested

San Diego Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson was arrested shortly after 2 a.m. today on suspicion of drunken driving after failing sobriety tests.

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Monday, January 05, 2009

James Harrison is AP Defensive Player of the Year

Click here to read the article from the Associated Press.

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Friday, January 02, 2009

Matt Ryan's rookie year better than Big Ben's?

Lately, a lot of NFL "experts" have been claiming that Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan just completed the best season for a rookie quarterback - ever. Sorry, but Ryan hasn't played nearly as well as Ben Roethlisberger did in 2004, nor did he match Dan Marino's stellar performance back in 1983. Don't get me wrong, Ryan had a great year and he's going to be a top pro, but he's getting a lot of help from a quality supporting cast, a view backed by this comment from an NFL scout.

Meanwhile, the numbers tell a story too. Here are Big Ben's rookie year stats (regular season only): 14 games, 13 starts, 13-0 record, 196 of 295 (66.4%) for 2,621 yards, an average of 8.9 yards per attempt, with 17 TDs and 11 INTs. Passer rating of 98.1. Fumbled only twice. Jerome Bettis and Duce Staley combined to rush for 1,133 yards that season.

Now consider Ryan's rookie stats (regular season only): 16 games, 16 starts, 11-5 record, 265 of 434 (61.1%) for 3,440 yards, an average of 7.9 yards per attempt, 16 TDs and 11 INTs. Passer rating of 87.7. Sacked only 17 times. Most notably, Michael Turner rushed for 1,699 yards this year, an average of 4.5 yards per rush.

What stands out about Roethlisberger's numbers are the undefeated record, the passer rating, and especially the off-the-charts yards per attempt. By way of comparison, the best YPA number in the NFL this year was 8.4, posted by Philip Rivers of the Chargers.

A lot of commentators have noted that Ryan came to a bad team (4-12 last season), meaning that he led the Falcons to a seven-win improvement. But the Steelers went 6-10 the year before Roethlisberger arrived, and improved by nine wins in Ben's rookie year.

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Steelers v. Colts in first Click for Cans playoff

Today the Campbell's Chunky Soup Click for Cans playoffs begin. The Steelers (16-1) are matched up against the Colts (14-3) in the first round. If Pittsburgh advances it will play the winner of the Jaguars v. Bills matchup. Click here to vote for the Steelers to beat the Colts.

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