Some people never miss an episode of Ice Road Truckers. Others can’t get enough reruns of 2½ Men. By the way, sorry Ashton Kutcher, you’re good but you’re still no Charlie Sheen. Me? I never miss a Mike Tomlin press conference. Oh, I don’t watch because I’m interested in his injury reports (he constantly lies about those) or his strategy for the Pittsburgh Steelers upcoming opponents (ditto).
I simply watch for the hilarity. From his grand pronouncements (“Unleash Hell!) to his ridiculous Tomlinisms (“The standard is the standard.”) to his bizarre non-sequitors (“We were grape squashers.”), no coach is as thoroughly entertaining as Mike Tomlin. I wish the Steelers sold tickets to his pressers because at least you can be assured of a solid 15-20 minutes of set-ups and punchlines. That’s certainly more than you can say about a Dane Cook concert.
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About those preseason games…
Sorry for being tardy with this update but watching the Pittsburgh Steelers final exhibition game last night left me feeling not unlike Alex after undergoing treatment in “A Clockwork Orange.” The tone was set early when Charlie Batch played two series then spent the rest of the game on the sideline wondering why the Panthers cheerleaders all look like they’re thirty-five years old. Mike Tomlin made no effort to disguise this farce, telling reporters afterward that if a player was suffering from anything more serious than a hangnail, they weren’t going to see action. I feel sorry for the people of Carolina who paid good money to see UFL level action at NFL level prices.
Remember, folks, Roger Goodell is all about listening to the fans.
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Alright, who didn’t bring their rabbit’s foot?
Before the Pittsburgh Steelers kicked off their third preseason game Saturday night, I threw up a quick note beseeching those making the trek to Heinz Field to bring whatever good luck charms they may hold dear. I knew the starters were going to see significant playing time. And I knew that the last thing we needed was one of those starters to get injured in a meaningless exhibition game. When the game ended with not one, not two, but three significant injuries to key personnel, I knew somebody didn’t listen.
The ugliest injury belonged to back-up quarterback Byron Leftwich, who broke his left arm bracing his fall early in the second half. The camera didn’t cut directly to Dennis Dixon so we can only speculate whether he was sticking pins into his Leftwich voodoo doll at that exact moment. Seriously, how much luck can one man have? Dix must have been born with a horseshoe up his ass.
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The Pittsburgh Steelers face the Atlanta Falcons in the all-important third exhibition game tonight at Heinz Field. If you’re going to the game, don’t walk under any ladders. Stay clear of black cats. And if you own a rabbit’s foot, by all means bring it with you.
The third preseason game is where many a season is won or lost. It’s the game where starters see the most amount of work in anticipation of the season opener. Mike Tomlin has already stated he’ll be be playing the starting units almost the entire first half. Hopefully when that half is over, everybody will be healthy and ready for the regular season.
Beyond praying to the Injury Gods that they watch another game tonight, there will be a couple interesting little side notes to keep tabs on. First, Tony Hills, who has been a total bust as a tackle, will start at right guard. The Steelers have talked of the move during training camp and this will be Hills formal audition for the job as for some reason Doug Legursky and Ramon Foster have fallen out of favor. I don’t know what Chris Kemoeatu or Jonathan Scott have done exactly to be penciled in as sure thing starters either but I guess beggars can’t be choosers.
Also, for fans of Dennis Dixon, this may be your last chance to see Slash 2.0 in the Black and Gold. I believe Dix will get a lot of work in the second half as the Steelers try to showcase him for other teams. I make no secret of my love for the guy but he’s not really what a Super Bowl contending team needs in a number three starter. The Steelers would dearly love to get a draft pick for him rather than simply cutting him loose. Considering the Raiders wasted a third rounder on a glorified power forward like Terrelle Pryor while the Colts just signed 45 year old redneck racist Kerry Collins to fill-in for an injured Pey-Pey, there has to be SOME market for a young quarterback with Dix’s upside.
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The Pittsburgh Steelers reportedly sent representatives to watch Jeanette High School and Ohio State tattoo aficionado Terrelle Pryor‘s pro day last week. One would think the Steelers would have no use for another QB but Pryor said in pre-draft interviews he would entertain the idea of moving to wide receiver. Not that the Steelers have any dire need at that position either. At 6’5 and running a 4.4/40, they’d probably make an exception for the right price.
It became moot a few minutes ago when the Oakland Raiders secured the rights to Pryor for a third round draft pick. Leave it to the Raiders to overpay by two rounds in the Supplemental Draft. Then again, he was the fastest quarterback to come out of college in the past three years. Oh, Grandpa Al, never change.