Posts tagged ‘Pittsburgh Steelers’

Michael Vick is Apparently Close To Signing With Team

michael-vick-jury-cartoon

According to Michael Vick, he is “close” to signing with a team. As Vick left a courtroom today, because that’s his second home as of late, a reporter asked about his future in the NFL. Vick responded simply, “We’re close”. What Vick forgot to mention was that the team he is “close” to signing with is located in Orlando and is part of the United Football League.

But in all seriousness; who are the potential suitors for Vick? Realistic suitors that is, and ones that exist in the NFL.

  • San Francisco – Mike Singletary is the head coach and we all know he doesn’t play. The 49er’s aren’t as bad as they may appear (that’s a bias statement) and having Vick wouldn’t downgrade the team. The problem falls within the city itself – San Fran has a lot of PETA support. Expect protests every home game.
  • Pittsburgh – They have won Super Bowls, they have role model players, they have the reputation, and they have earned the respect of being an intelligent ball club. Some teams may sign Vick and experts would bash them for being “stupid”. If Pittsburgh or New England signs Vick, it’s considered a wise move and they’ve suddenly taken a risky diamond in the rough.
  • New England – As stated above, New England has the reputation for being an intelligent team. If Vick goes to New England, they’ll keep him straight. Plus, New England has a record of taking other team’s trash and turning them into treasure.
  • Washington – I don’t even like to talk about this because I really don’t want it to happen. However, you can’t deny the fact that Dan Snyder is the owner and he runs the Redskins like he’s in ‘Franchise Mode’ of the Madden 2009 football game.

The question isn’t whether Michael Vick will behave himself. He made some stupid decisions in his life but I don’t think he’s a stupid person. He’s not Pacman. He won’t go out and fund another dog-fighting ring. The main question when discussing Michael Vick is the risk of your organization’s reputation. As a team owner – are you willing to sit through the home game protests for Vick’s first season (because they have to stop eventually)? Your team may lose support from fans that also happen to support PETA, but die-hard fans are die-hard fans and they’ll stay that way with or without Michael Vick.

Closing argument – Michael Vick signs with San Francisco

July 30, 2009 at 8:47 pm 4 comments

Now With Two Rings, Is Big Ben Elite?

big-ben

What does it take to be considered an Elite quarterback in the NFL? How do you get thrown into the same category as Peyton Manning and Tom Brady? Is it Super Bowl victories? Is it passing yards? Is it MVP awards?

To me, an Elite quarterback is a guy that can go to the worst team in the league (i.e. Lions, Rams, Chiefs of last season) and change that team into a serious deal. For example, take Peyton Manning and put him on the Detroit Lions. Do the Lions still finish winless? No.

Take Tom Brady and put him on the Rams roster? Do the Rams still finish last in their division? I don’t think so.

So what would happen if you put Ben Roethlisberger on the Rams? The Lions? The Chiefs?

In my opinion, Ben Roethlisberger (love him or hate him) is an Elite quarterback in this league and here’s why:

1.) He’s a Winner – Simple, I know, but really think about this one. Big Ben shows up and gets it done, no matter the circumstances. Take his first Super Bowl for example, Roethlisberger had a horrible game (9-21, 123 YDS, 2 INTs) with a Super Bowl-worst 22.6 quarterback rating. But, Big Ben converted EIGHT 3rd downs including a 3rd and 28 that set up the Steelers’ first touchdown. Roethlisberger doesn’t look at the stats, he looks at the score. Whatever it takes, however much it takes, Big Ben gives you an opportunity everytime he takes the field.

2.) He Isn’t Pretty – This is more of an analyst’s standpoint on why Big Ben is NOT Elite and it goes somewhat hand-in-hand with my first argument. But it’s true, many people think that Big Ben isn’t Elite because he doesn’t throw the ball as pretty as Peyton and Brady. But let it be known, just because Manning’s jersey stays cleaner than Big Ben’s doesn’t make Ben any less of a quarterback. Big Ben doesn’t have the mechanics of Peyton, he doesn’t have the pocket presence of Brady, but he completes his passes and gets his team down the field. Big Ben may not be a Fantasy God, but he is “pretty” in his own ways.

3.) Play the “Switch” – I have a theory. Switch the quarterbacks from Super Bowl XLIII and see if the outcome changes. For instance, take Roethlisberger and put him on the Cards. Now take Kurt Warner and put him on the Steelers. Do the Steelers still bring a trophy back to Sixburgh? I say no. Santonio Holmes, of course, deserved the MVP hardware but a strong case could be made for Big Ben. It was Big Ben that gave Holmes those nine receptions, right? The game-winning catch was a pass that had to sail just perfectly over three defenders and into the deep corner of the endzone. When Holmes bolted for 60-yards, it was Big Ben that scrambled for his life and got the ball to him. On third downs, it was Ben that ran around like a chicken with his head cut off and tossed a ball that only his receiver could catch. Warner couldn’t do that, any of that. Big Ben wins Super Bowls.

4.) Toughness – Arguably the toughest player, let alone quarterback in the game today. Peyton is tough, we know this from his consecutive game record. But Big Ben plays with injuries EVERY game. Concussions, tears, strains, pains, pulls, aches, you name it, Big Ben can play through it. And this whole toughness-factor leads into the reliability of a team’s quarterback. I don’t know about you, but I want confidence in a guy that I know will come out and play whether he feels great or he’s bleeding out of his ears.

Again, I understand that some hate the Steelers and others love them, but let’s look past the black and gold jerseys. Ben Roethlisberger is an Elite quarterback in this league because of his ability, his leadership, and his mentality. You can make an argument for your favorite quarterback if you’d like and totally disagree with my argument for Big Ben. But please take these tidbits into account when brainstorming your nominee: Ben Roethlisberger has an incredible 19 fourth-quarter comebacks. He has been in the league just five years and has led his team to the playoffs in four of them. He has a career playoff rating of 87.2. He is 8-2 in the playoffs overall. And did I mention he has two Super Bowl rings?

And for the record, I’m not a Steelers fan or a Roethlisberger freak. I enjoy rooting for the underdog (in this case, Big Ben) and I like the gritty mechanics and nothing-matters-but-winning mentality. Therefore, I support Big Ben.

February 6, 2009 at 7:23 am Leave a comment

Super Bowl 43 Recap

mike-tomlin

After four quarters of extremely intense football, the season ended the way most expected. The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Arizona Cardinals 27-23 in a game that, in my opinion, was the most entertaining Super Bowl in years. 

Although my predicted winner didn’t prevail, other highlights took over the evening. Larry Fitzgerald capped a postseason that will go down as one of the best ever by an NFL receiver. Kurt Warner may not have come out on top but he did throw for three touchdowns and almost 400 yards against the league’s top defense…in a Super Bowl. Ben Roethlisberger has won his second ring by the age of 27. Mike Tomlin becomes the youngest coach to ever win a Super Bowl. And Santonio Holmes made a name for himself – a name that will make its way out of the Steel City.  

Throughout the playoffs, the Cardinals have surprised all opposition and all of the critics. And for a defense that has held up so well against so many strong offenses, for a defense that has been the backbone to a true Cinderella story, it is hard to watch them crumble in the last two minutes.  

As nice as it would have been to see the underdog pull out the big win, the Steelers had the heart and experience to bring a 6th Lombardi trophy to Pittsburgh.  

I’m officially on the Mike Tomlin bandwagon and I’m happy to see him earn this ring. He has the style and intensity to be extremely successful in this league. Every team should be looking for the next Mike Tomlin.  

Get ready for the Redskins next season (poor attempt at comedy).

February 2, 2009 at 11:47 am Leave a comment

Super Bowl Predicition

super-bowl-43

Now that it’s the day of the event, I guess there’s no better time to make my stone-cold Super Bowl pick. I waited and waited and waited to pick my winner for the most popular game of the year. I thought about stats, streaks, and players. I took into account which team plays better on grass, in domes, or on turf. I even listened to interviews of players and tried to uncover their true confidence from within the tones of their voice.

Actually, I did none of that. All of that handicapping and stat crunching still leave you with one big guessing game. So why cram your brain with stats and bet the house when you can just make an educated guess and bet the car?

Arizona has had the best offense and is on the perfect streak entering today’s game. Pittsburgh has had the best defense and the toughest schedule throughout the whole year. What gives?

There’s no doubt that the game should be entertaining, but the key point will be whether or not Arizona can stop the Steelers’ pass-rush. I said that the Cardinals would beat the Eagles if they controlled the Eagels pass-rush. They did, they won. Comparing the Eagles’ pass-rush and the Steelers’ pass-rush is pretty much apples to apples. The only difference is the time that Pittsburgh has had to prepare. Pittsburgh is dirty, raw, and ready to rip off a quarterback’s head at all times, the Cards should be very afraid.

Kurt Warner did a great job of calling out of plays against the Eagles (i.e. calling quick slants with man-to-man coverage on an all-out blitz) and I think he will be able to do the same against the Steelers. The Steelers will most likely play lockdown defense on the receivers with Polamalu over the top on Fitzgerald’s side. But what about Boldin and Breaston? Just when you think you have Fitzgerald covered, Boldin and Breaston are right there to make huge contributions. If Kurt has the time, the Steelers are going to get beat up in pass-coverage. Arizona wins in the pass-attack category.

The running game will also be a factor. Throughout the season, the Steelers could run and the Cardinals couldn’t. But come playoff time, it’s a totally diffrerent season. Arizona has done a superb job at stopping the run in the playoffs and the Steelers have only performed mediocre on the ground since hitting the playoffs. The Steelers’ ability to stop the run is what may give the Cardinals their most trouble. Edgerrin James and Rookie Hightower are capable of handling the load but the Cards’ offensive line MUST push through the trenches. And it’s likewise for the Steelers, Willie Parker has to find the holes against an underrated Cardinals defense. I think the Steelers prevail on the ground and Arizona is limited.

At the end of the day, the Steelers should come out the clear-cut winners. They have proven themselves all year whereas the Cardinals have only showed up for the playoffs. It’s Big Ben’s time to drop serious numbers in a Super Bowl, not like he did a few years ago. But then again, it’s Kurt Warner’s time to earn himself a spot in Canton. The Steelers have the experience and the Cardinals have Kurt Warner. Is that an even trade-off?

I believe in the “hot streak”. I believe that teams get hot at the right times and that’s what could either make or break a season. As much as I hate Kurt Warner, he deserves to be here and he deserves to win. The Steelers are the favorite and they should be, but I will take the underdog in this one.

Arizona defeats Pittsburgh, 24-20

February 1, 2009 at 10:29 pm 1 comment

General Manager 2.0

scott-pioliI’ll first start out by saying that I have absolutely no experience in any kind of management field, especially that of a professional NFL franchise. I also understand that millions of people across the country log onto a computer each day and voice their opinion about their favorite teams and act like they would be the best candidate for the team’s general manager job. Consider this another one of “those”. My General Manager 2.0 theory is most comparable to those books entitled “Such-and-Such for Dummies” and it only consists of two easy rules. The General Manager 2.0 theory of building an NFL contending team is very simple, very basic, and very much to the point. If you have a couple minutes to waste, please hear me out.

The model can be used for any NFL franchise. I, however, will try my best to use the Washington Deadskins as my example of what NOT to do. Out of all the teams in the NFL, the Skins’ generate the most revenue and are second only to the Dallas Cowboys (due to new stadium) in franchise estimated value. Many people ask the same question; how in the hell are the two highest-valued teams repeat playoff absentees? The answer…money hungry owners who think they can do EVERYTHING. Because Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones and Skins’ owner Dan Snyder think that running an NFL franchise is as easy as running a fantasy football team on Yahoo.. But let’s not get carried away, here’s my take…

Rule #1 – This may not really constitute as a rule technically, but an aspiring GM has to find the job.

Owners should always hire a General Manager. Why? GM’s are an essential part of any football team that is looking to succeed. Whether a team employs a GM/Coach like Mike Shanahan or a one-job GM such as Scott Pioli, a team MUST have a GM. The GM is in-charge of the personnel, not the owner. Sure the owner signs the checks, but the GM is what essentially keeps the team oiled up and working…hence the job title GENERAL MANAGER. Owners must also be aware that they are there for the sole purpose of providing dollars and having a passion for winning. With that said, owners must also understand that their football knowledge is either minimal or not anywhere close to the football knowledge of their GM (assuming the owner hired a GM with some proven skills). Therefore, owners should not be assuming the role of general manager. Take Skins’ owner Dan Snyder for example, he thinks he’s the greatest GM in the country. Is he? Absolutely not. In fact, he is the proof in the pudding that some owners believe running an NFL franchise (the highest grossing) is as easy as a Madden video game. Look at Jerry Jones. Is his input on signing Pacman Jones necessary? No. Any GM in their right mind wouldn’t have signed that idiot. BUT, Jerry thinks he knows more than any GM and he signed Pacman anyway. And, how did that turn out? Now look at owners like Robert Kraft, the Rooney Family, and Steve Bisciotti. Those teams have had great success over the years and their players have come from effective GM’s and their expertise in the world of football. Kraft’s former GM, Scott Pioli, assembled a dynasty of the modern day. You can love or hate the Patriots, but you have to admit that the team was a damn good football team. Pioli drafted guys that no one had heard of and they turned out to be solid players in the league, if not Super Bowl MVP’s. The Rooney Family’s GM Kevin Colbert, has helped build a very solid team in Pittsburgh – a team that has had its fair share of playoff appearances and a Super Bowl win in recent years. And finally, Bisciotti understands that he doesn’t have all the knowledge necessary to build a football team, so he hires a guy like Ozzie Newsome. Newsome’s work with the Baltimore Ravens has made them into one of the most-feared defenses in the league. He has also done an outstanding job with the offensive line, bringing in players that no one thought of and turning them into Pro-Bowlers. Newsome, like Pioli and Colbert, understand that their reputation is built from the players they draft after the 1st round.

Rule # 2 – Build your team through the draft, not through free agency.

 Sure, I understand that free agency is an asset to the league and a decent way to fill a void. However, drafting your players and developing them is the most effective way to build a successful team. Referring back to Dan Snyder’s fantasy football style, he came into D.C. and brought in 800-year-old gargoyles like Mark Carrier, Jessie Armstead, and Jeff George. To put it nicely, it never worked out. Now we take a look at teams like the Patriots, Steelers, and Ravens. The Patriots made something out of nothing, seeing different things in players that no other general managers did (see: Tom Brady). The Steelers are probably the greatest drafting team in the league. Of their 22 starting players, 18 of them were drafted by the franchise. Now, take a look at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ history and success. The Baltimore Ravens have created a defense by drafting players like Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Ed Reed, Haloti Ngata, and Jonathan Ogden. Free agency is often the most entertaining talent pool to look at during the off-season because of the immediate impact a veteran can have. But one must also remember that veterans are usually late 20’s at best, they have established themselves and have developed their own attitude or play-style, and they have been accustomed to the tradition of their former team rather than yours. If every free agent could come to a new team and play with the exact same style and attitude as their new team, then possibly free agency would be more beneficial. But I believe a kid drafted out of Ohio State to play in New England would be better off in the long run than signing a 29-year-old veteran who has played in Dallas for his first six years (especially under Wade Phillips).

So what I have to say may not really matter to anyone, but that’s why it’s an opinion. The General Manager 2.0 model is short, simple, and easy so that boneheads like Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder can understand it. And the next time you’re researching a successful team, look into their general manager as well.

January 27, 2009 at 5:40 am Leave a comment

Big Hit on Willis McGahee. MUST SEE!

The Steelers/Ravens match-up was very entertaining Sunday, living up to the expected defensive battle. Hard hits and blind-side blocks happened throughout the game, but one particular hit summed up the ways of the Steelers defense. Towards the end of the game, Ravens’ running back Willis McGahee felt the thunder from safety Ryan Clark. It has been reported that McGahee has feeling in his arms and legs but is suffering from some neck pain. Check it out…

January 19, 2009 at 1:50 pm Leave a comment

Lucky Seven: NFL Power Rankings Wk. 12

All of the teams I put in my Lucky Seven last week won except for the DeadSkins. Here’s how I see it going into week 12, hard to believe we’ve come this far:

1.) Tennessee Titans (1) – They are still without a loss and Kerry Collins is doing it without alcohol, I like it. It may not be attractive, it may not get any style points, but the Titans are the real deal. No explanation necessary.

2.) New York Giants (2) – They are so close to moving up to number one on the chart after crushing such a good Baltimore defense. However, they lost to the Browns and the Titans have beaten everyone they’re suppose to. We’ll see when the head-to-head match-up arrives.

3.) Pittsburgh (3) – They won an ugly one in some really tough weather. They were also apart of a game that cost bettors an estimated $66 million, which is why I stopped betting on the NFL. I still don’t think they lost their intensity but Big Ben scares me at times (along with his $27M this year).

4.) Arizona Cardinals (6) – They may not have beaten a great opponent, but they beat the Seahawks that was reasonably staffed. And their offense is just so dominant. The other teams that may have been in this spot had dismal games or just are not yet deserving. Warner is still up for the Heisman and Boldin is the best receiver in the league.

5.) Carolina Panthers (5) – They won a ugly game against Detroit. They did have an absolutely unbeleivable game on the ground, racking up over 200 yards. However, my not-so-favorite Delhomme cannot pass right now to save his life. He had just 98 yards passing and it makes the overall outlook of the Panthers’ offense unknown. I still like the Cards’ over this Panthers team right now.

6.) Washington Redskins (4) – Oh how the mighty have fallen. Just a few weeks ago this team looked like it could really make some noise. Then people realized that their offense is the most hilarious thing to watch in all of football besides Al Davis’ reactions to reporters. If defenses lock down Santana Moss (which isn’t all that tough) then this offense is completely flat. Campbell has no protection and the 5-yard passes on 3rd and 12 isn’t going to get it done. The defense is getting turnovers but they have no pressure from their line. Serious issues need to be addressed on both the lines if this team has any hopes of doing anything.

7.) Tampa Bay Bucs (7) – They sit here behind the Skins’ because the Skins’ should still be able to beat these guys. Tampa Bay has been on a pretty solid roll and Jeff Garcia continues to impress the people that thought AARP couldn’t play football. Their receiver situation is a little shakey but I really like their defense and it could take them to the playoffs as a division-winner.

Atlanta may have dropped their game last week but they are destined to win the division, according to the crazy NFC South stat that says the team that finishes last in the division one year is the division winner the next. Ravens are still kind of on my radar but I am looking more at the other purple team, the Vikings. They dropped one but the NFC North is wide open.

November 18, 2008 at 12:10 pm Leave a comment

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