I don't believe for a minute that Ben Roethlisberger is healthy enough to play against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
Could he hobble around and throw the ball? Yep.
Is it worth the risk? Nope.
The Steelers should know around kickoff if their game against the Browns has any meaning. If the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Baltimore Ravens, then a Steelers' win gives them the AFC North title. If the Ravens win -- and I think they will -- then the Steelers' game is meaningless.
Roethlisberger should sit either way.
The Steelers shouldn't risk further injury to Big Ben.
I understand his desire to play.
But the Steelers need to understand the need to keep him healthy. Do you think the Browns would like a shot at injuring him as payback for Colt McCoy's concussion? I do.
Any playoff run needs Roethlisberger to be as close to 100 percent as possible.
I don't see how letting him play gets him closer to that goal.
I liked the Todd Graham hire by the Pitt football team in January.
I was looking forward to seeing his high-powered offense in action. I liked the idea of his commitment to Pitt he said after his hire. He talked a great game.
Less than a year later, I have lost all respect for the man.
Graham up-and-left for Arizona State, leaving Pitt, his players and the program on a whim.
Well, maybe it wasn't a whim. Maybe he knew his up-tempo style just wasn't going to work in Year 2 at Pitt. Maybe he couldn't get the right quarterback to run his offense. Maybe he wanted to leave before everyone else figured out that he wasn't as good of a coach as he made himself out to be. Maybe he didn't like the weather.
He's a Sun Devil now.
Ask a Pitt player, and I'd guess they'd say he's something like the devil instead.
Graham notified his players by text or email -- how nice. Nothing being committed to your job.
Ready or not, Steelers fans, you could be looking at a 13-win season and a wild-card berth.
It's not the end of the world, especially when it's not impossible to win the Super Bowl as a wild-card team.
But what do you do when your first-round opponent is Tim Tebow -- I mean the Denver Broncos?
The Broncos, winners of six straight, have a one-game lead over the Oakland Raiders. It looks like a lock that the AFC West division winner will be the No. 4 seed in the playoffs. That means the top wild-card team, and unless the Ravens lose it looks like the Steelers, would get the Broncos.
I keep waiting and waiting for Tebow to fail, and he just keeps winning and winning. He'll play the ugliest three quarters of football and somehow spur his team to victory.
I'm sure the league will catch up to him, just like the league caught up to the Miami Dolphins' Wildcat offense.
But for now, it looks like Steelers Nation will square off against the mystic powers of Tebow.
When Ben Roethlisberger left the field in the second quarter Thursday night, I thought the Steelers were going to lose to the Browns.
There was no way Roethlisberger was going to return from that injury, I thought.
The heck with losing to the Browns. From the looks of that injury on the replays, I thought you could kiss any dreams of a Super Bowl run goodbye.
Yeah, I was way off on that one.
Roethlisberger returned to start the second half and the Steelers did just enough to beat the Browns on national television.
It looked like one of those games the Steelers would squander away. Hines Ward and Heath Miller each lost a fumble inside the red zone, and the Steelers started another drive inside the Browns' 40-yard line and came away with zero points.
Ward, as a side note, didn't have another catch after that fumble.
Even at the end, with Roethlisberger doing his best Willis Reed, it looked like the Browns would take the lead after the Steelers were stopped fo…
For years now, we've been told it's great by the people who created it. We've been told how it matches the two best teams in the country for college football's national championship.
Instead, we're usually left without the two best teams playing for the title.
We complain, gripe and do everything we can to slam the system. Ideas are tossed around, but they never gain traction. Five of six weeks later, everyone turns on their television after the new year to watch college football again and the slime that run the BCS and the bowls smile while counting their dollars.
Yeah, college football is grand.
Sunday night was another reminder of how bad the system is. For this year's version of the national championship, we're left with a rematch of LSU and Alabama. The two team's played earlier in a battle of field goals -- yawn! -- with LSU beating 'Bama 9-6.
Maybe, just maybe, if officials at the Steelers-Jaguars playoff game after the 2007 season had called a holding penalty, Jack Del Rio would have been fired as the Jaguars coach before this week.
The Steelers completed a remarkable comeback against the Jaguars in that wild-card game at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh led and had Jacksonville facing a fourth-and-2 late in the game.
Jags quarterback David Garrard ran for the first down, but Jacksonville should have been called for holding on the play, setting up a fourth-and-long. Nearly everyone who watched the game knew it, except for the officials.
Jacksonville went on to win the game 31-29.
Garrard got an extension after that season. So did Del Rio, who was hailed as one of the league's up-and-coming coaches.
Since, Jacksonville's franchise quarterback got released just days before the 2011 season started and Del Rio got fired before the season ended.
The correct call could very well have sent Garrard and Del Rio into a different dir…
I never was a big fan of the Mike Haywood hiring by Pitt last year.
I thought he was overrated and got too much credit for his Miami (Ohio) team's 9-4 record.
Why, nearly a year later do I bring up Haywood? A quote from today's Post-Gazette:
Pitt senior Chas Alecxih: "Our first meeting with Haywood, he came in with a wrinkled suit, the
worst suit I've ever seen, then acted like we owed him something. He
was very arrogant. And when we walked out of the meeting we all said,
'Wow, this is going to be our next coach.' So when he got fired, I was
happy, and obviously we got a great coach in Todd Graham to come in."
Not exactly a ringing endorsement of Haywood. That quote alone should keep colleges leery about hiring Haywood.
The Pittsburgh Steelers sure know how to make an inferior opponent look good on Sunday night.
After escaping a game with the terrible Indianapolis Colts earlier this season, the Steelers survived the Kansas City Chiefs.
A defense that had six takeaways all season entering the game took four away from Chiefs quarterback Tyler Palko in Sunday's 13-9 win. The clincher was an interception by Keenan Lewis with less than a minute to go.
And you have to thank Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe for his lack of effort on the game-ending interception. Bowe looked deathly afraid to take a hit with the game on the line.
But for as strong as the defense looked, the offense never found a rhythm.
Throughout Sunday's game, the announcers praised the Chiefs' defense. However, the Chiefs had the 28th-ranked rush defense in the league, and Rashard Mendenhall picked up just 57 yards for the game.
However, when Mendenhall did get the ball, he looked strong.
That wasn't a Backyard Brawl in Morgantown, W.Va., on Friday. It was a display of how to lose a football game. And it was classic Pitt football from the 2011 season.
I bailed on Tino Sunseri as Pitt's quarterback back in September. Pitt escaped with a win against Maine, and Sunseri looked like a quarterback better suited for Division II or Division III, not a team that had aspirations for winning a Big East championship.
Nearly two months later, Sunseri hasn't changed.
Left with a chance to beat West Virginia, Sunseri looked awful. I'm not sure awful is strong enough, but Sunseri stunk when it mattered most.
Faced with a three-man rush, Sunseri got sacked four times on the team's final series and had an intentional grounding call, all of which were poor decisions.
Sunseri can't be counted on when the game is on the line. Heck, he can't be counted on to protect a lead.
Maybe things would have been different if running back Ray Graham didn't suffer a s…
I'm sorry, I just can't catch the hype with Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.
Maybe I can't catch it because Tebow can't throw it without it bouncing to me. I watch him play quarterback, a position that usually requires the player to throw the football, and I see a first baseman.
The reason I make that comparison is not because Tebow reminds me of a power hitter capable of hitting 40 home runs in a season. I see him as a first baseman throwing groundballs to infielders between innings, because that's what his passes look like.
Look, Tebow seems like a fantastic person. He has high morals, strong convictions and doesn't come across as a phony individual.
That doesn't mean he can play quarterback or is immune from criticism.
Last Thursday he led the Broncos on a game-winning drive to beat the New York Jets. Then the hysteria began.
I also didn't understand why McQueary was still on staff when others, including Joe Paterno, were let go.
After hearing Gov. Tom Corbett on Sunday, and he didn't say this specifically, but I'm of the opinion that McQueary's testimony is important. If McQueary ended up being charged or implicated, he could plead the Fifth, and not help the investigation. Maybe his paid leave is one way to keep him cooperating.
On a separate note, Sports Illustrated has an interesting article on…
Entering Week 10 in the National Football League, it appeared that the Houston Texans might have been the best team in the AFC.
The Texans tumbled from the top after news reports revealed quarterback Matt Schaub could be lost for the season.
The Texans (7-3) have a great running game, an excellent defense and have one of the best wide receivers in the game in Andre Johnson. Now they won't have a quarterback to throw Johnson the ball when he returns after his bye week.
Matt Leinart is Schaub's backup, which means the Texans don't have a quarterback. Leinart couldn't win the quarterback job in Arizona after Kurt Warner retired and Leinart's former coach, Pete Carroll, didn't work out a reunion.
The Texans' woes is good news for the Steelers, who have a week off to get healthy. The Steelers close out the season with the Chiefs, Bengals, Browns, 49ers, Rams and Browns again. The only tough test will be the road game against the 8-1 49ers.
What do you do if you've been charged with sexual acts with minors? If you're former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, you do an interview on national television and admit that you've showered with kids.
From there, we're to believe Sandusky did nothing wrong.
I watch with stunned silence the denials from Sandusky during his interview with Bob Costas. To me, Sandusky sounded cold and calculating.
What really was revealing was Sandusky's reply to this Costas question: Are you sexually attracted to young boys?
After an uncomfortable pause of about two seconds, Sandusky tells us he's not, but he enjoys being around young boys.
I was expecting a defiant, "No!" Instead, Sandusky said, " I enjoy young people, I love to be around them, but, no, I’m not
sexually attracted to young boys.
The whole setting for the interview was out of normal as well. Costas interviewed Sandusky by phone while Sandusky's attorney was seated next to Costas…
I'm sure the events from this weekend surrounding the Penn State football program and former coach Jerry Sandusky have made the rounds.
AD Tim Curley and Gary Schultz have stepped down, and coach Joe Paterno is said to have been shocked.
I'm not ready to call on Paterno to step down, as Jason Whitlock has, but I'm having a hard time coming to grips over one thing involving JoePa.
If Paterno, the man more powerful and influential than the Penn State athletic director and university president, was so concerned about an alleged incident being reported to him, why did he simply follow the line of command and report the incident to his AD and forget about it?
Paterno couldn't do anything about it? He was helpless?
I think we're in the early stages of information being released. I can't see JoePa emerging unscathed from all this.
And, without a doubt, the university will be rocked by this scandal.
Man, I just can't get enough of AMC's "The Walking Dead."
I got hooked last season and watched the six episodes of Season 1 at least a couple of times and never tired of it.
It quickly has become one of my favorite series to watch, filling a void left by "Battlestar Galactica." Coincidentally, Bear McCreary did the score for BSG and does TWD as well. The man is incredible.
Anyway, back to the Dead.
It returned to TV on Sunday night and didn't disappoint. Zombies, blood, gore, drama and more. It had it all, including a stunning plot twist that I didn't see coming.
Maybe it was because I was too wrapped up in it. I won't spoil it if you didn't see it. And, if you haven't seen the series, check it out.
Our family has made it an annual event to drive to Cedar Point for their HalloWeekends.
This past weekend was cooler than usual, but it was perfect for us to get in the mood for Halloween.
The crowds were sparse on Friday night, which allowed my sons to jump in line for practically any ride with a maximum 15-minute wait.
The downer was WindSeeker, the park's new ride, being closed for the whole weekend because of -- ironically -- high wind.
Otherwise, the rain stayed away and we had a blast.
Millennium Force remains my favorite ride in the park. The ride is pure speed and is a smooth ride. Maverick is my second favorite, and the ride from the front is awesome going down the first hill, which is 95 degrees. And I have to mention Top Thrill Dragster and its 120 mph launch.
We did a first this year going through the many haunted houses at the Point. The houses are very well done and they offer up scares, as my sons can attest.
It was quite a trip this year and we can't wait to go…
I've never seen a more exciting night in baseball than Wednesday when the Braves completed their collapse and the Red Sox finished their epic fall, allowing the Cardinals and Rays to earn berths in the playoffs.
The whole night was an instant classic.
Within minutes, the Red Sox blew a one-run lead in the ninth inning. They were just one out away from forcing a playoff for the American League wild card. Instead, closer Jonathan Papelbon gave up a double, another double and a single to blow it.
Papelbon doesn't get all the blame. Outfielder Carl Crawford couldn't come up with a diving attempt at a single to left field, which drove in the winning run.
Three or four minutes later, the Rays capped their rally from seven runs down to beat the Yankees. Evan Longoria smashed his second home run of the game, setting off one heck of a celebration in Tampa Bay. Longoria's homer hugged the foul pole and just cleared the fence.
It was amazing switching from game to game, watching …
The second graph of the story was interesting:
No one from Pittsburgh, Syracuse or the A.C.C. denied the conversations
were taking place. Officials from all three entities declined to comment
on the matter.
Maybe it'll happen. Maybe it won't.
I will say this, however, if the Big East can't get Notre Dame or final other colleges to expand, having Pitt jump to the ACC is a good move.
I love the Big East for basketball. I think it's the best conference out there. But for football? As much as I'd like to see Pitt succeed in the Big East, I have to wonder about the future of football playing in the Big East.
The Big East gets no respect when it comes to football. Even when it had Miami and Virginia Tech, the conference didn't get a whole lot of respec…
First, let's start off by saying that was one heck of a game between the Packers and Saints.
It sure had the makings of a rout, but it turned into an entertaining opener to the NFL season, with the Packers stopping the Saints at the goal line to preserve a 42-34 victory.
But let's look at the final play.
The Saints, loaded on offense with weapons at wide receiver, tight end and with a pass-catching running back, decided to take the ball out of Drew Brees' hand (and arm) and give it to rookie running back Mark Ingram with the game on the line.
One yard to go. Ingram didn't make it.
Not surprised, because earlier on fourth-and-short the Saints failed.
I know the Steelers get criticized for their play-calling, but the Saints need to be looked at for those two calls.
Maybe it was a case of trying to catch the other team off guard.
Whatever the reason, I'm left with the feeling of an exciting game and some questionable calls.
I've always liked courtroom dramas on TV, but the NFL lockout never appealed to me.
Maybe it's because I never considered it much more than a ploy by the owners to grab a few extra dollars. I didn't think we'd lose any games over the squabble.
Sorry, Canton, I don't consider the Hall of Fame game a loss. And I don't think the players mind missing this past week of intense heat and high heat indexes sweating off a few pounds during training camp.
For me, nothing of substance was missed. We had a draft and we'll have an uninterrupted season.
And it looks like the real NFL talk will soon kick into high gear.
The players and owners are on a path to an official, signed-and-sealed deal which will lead to a free-agent frenzy unlike any we've seen.
Soon enough, the season will be here and the weeks and weeks of legalese will all be a thing of the past.
The next 10 days will go a long way to determine the Pirates' fate this season.
Today, the Bucs start a three-game series against the Cardinals at PNC Park. After that, it's a brutal, seven-game trip on the road against NL East powers Atlanta (four games) and Philadelphia (three games).
The Pirates begin play today percentage points ahead of the Brewers for first place in the NL Central. The Cardinals are only one game back while the Reds are four. The Braves and Phillies, for now, look like two playoff teams, with the loser of their NL East race likely the wild-card winner.
If the Pirates can survive these 10 days, then they head into August a contender.
If they stumble, especially in the first half of this stretch, I can easily see management holding off on any big moves before the July 31 trade deadline.
Hopefully, the Pirates can continue their strong play, find some key hitting and get some big wins. Then it's up to general manager Neal Huntington to show us what he c…
Steelers linebacker James Harrison knows how to make an impact.
He does it on Sundays in the fall, usually with such reckless abandon that he inflicts punishment on his target.
He did it again, with NFL commish Roger Goodell caught in the crosshairs.
Harrison ripped Goodell in Men's Journal magazine, and along the way took a shot at teammates Ben Roethlisberger and Rashard Mendenhall.
You can check out a story here, if you haven't heard the ruckus.
And as swiftly as his words hit the Internet, the criticism followed.
I find it ironic that the media longs for an athlete who speaks his mind yet when those comments don't agree with his or her view, the athlete is criticized.
And don't read that as a defense of Harrison. It's not.
There's plenty to dislike about Harrison's comments, which calling them over the top would be an understatement. However, who didn't think Roethlisberger's play in the Super Bowl hurt the Steelers? Anyone else think Mendenhall…
My idea of baseball's All-Star Game is that the best players in the world would gather for an exhibition game for one night.
So much for that.
One by one Sunday, the list of players to miss the game grew.
I think the total is up to 16 players who will miss the game -- as of this writing. Some, like Alex Rodriguez, who will miss four to six weeks, it's understandable.
Others, like Derek Jeter, should play.
Some of the best pitchers in the game won't be there Tuesday. Justin Verlander, C.C. Sabathia, Felix Hernandez and Cole Hamels pitched Sunday and are ineligible (another bad idea by baseball -- they should at least be allowed to participate in the festivities).
Instead, players like David Robertson, Kevin Correia and Michael Pineda will be in Phoenix.
The biggest story in the first half of the season was Jeter's 3,000th hit. He won't be there, either. Instead of being celebrated, he'll be watching on TV. Apparently, he's too exhausted from the pursuit of …
Pitt and Penn State will resume their once-storied football rivalry.
The only problem is, we have to wait until September 2016 for it to happen.
The wait will be worth it, however. If you're a fan of college football and you're from western Pennsylvania this series was the one to watch.
The rivalry ended in 2000, so it'll be a long gap between games. So long, in fact, many young fans from western Pennsylvania don't have an idea what it was like to have such a heated rivalry. It was Auburn-Alabama, UCLA-USC or Ohio State-Michigan.
Some blame Penn State coach Joe Paterno for the end of the series in 2000.
I'm just glad it's back.
Do you think JoePa will be on the sidelines for the game in 2016?
No surprise yesterday as UCLA's Gerrit Cole was selected No. 1 overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the baseball draft.
The big surprise to me is the statistics put up by a supposed elite college pitcher: six wins, eight losses and a 3.31 ERA.
I'd expect him to lead his team or conference in strikeouts and reach double-digits in wins.
Oh, that's right, Cole's teammate did all that. Trevor Bauer went 13-2 and set a Pac-10 record with 203 strikeouts. His ERA was 1.25. And this stat really stood out: he ended the season with nine straight complete games.
But back to Cole. My big question: If he's struggling to get college hitters out with a fastball that can hit 100 mph, how is he supposed to get major leaguers out?
The Pirates feel pretty confident he will.
"We felt he'd have the biggest potential impact for us of anybody on the board," general manager Neal Huntington said.
The Pirates obviously project him to be an outstanding pitcher. And they're…
Gerrit Cole looks like the No. 1 pick overall in tonight's baseball draft.
Ordinarily, I'd say that might be a good choice. However, that first overall pick belongs to the Pittsburgh Pirates, so I'm skeptical that they'll make the right choice.
The Pirates have a long and storied history of losing for nearly 20 years. Along those same lines, they have a long and storied history of making bad selections in the first round of the draft.
Remember Bryan Bullington at No. 1 overall? How about the great John VanBenschoten? He's the guy that led college baseball in home runs and the Pirates thought he'd be better as a pitcher. Then there's J.J. Davis, Bobby Bradley and Sean Burnett.
That's why I'll watch with trepidation tonight to see who the Pirates select.
Normally, I'd be all for drafting a pitcher who has a fastball that can hit 100 mph. But Cole's dominance just isn't there for a first-round pick. He's not even the best pitcher o…
The story about the Pirates strong-arming the Stroll Inn seems to be taking a life of its own.
The latest revelation is that the owner claimed Frank Coonelly scolded her. You can hear the an interview here.
Again, the Pirates really should be more concerned with what's happening on the field than what others are doing off the field.
I still think the Stroll Inn should have kept the promotion. Maybe, however, the Stroll Inn realized that before too long, they would be giving away free pitchers of beer, or, it would have to pay customers to buy a pitcher, if losses exceeded the cost of the pitcher.
I'd like to see other bars offer a similar deal as a show of solidarity.
To help them along, here are some ideas to consider:
Bad Trade Night. Half off a beer every time the Pirates trade an established player for a minor leaguer.
Bad Pitcher Night. Half off a pitcher of beer every time a Pirates starter gives up more than five runs in a game.
It's Opening Day and I had the misfortune of turning on the Pirates.
It's early in the game as I write this, but it's hard to get excited about a team that features Lyle Overbay as its cleanup hitter. So even if he does come through with a game-winning homer, I won't change my mind.
I know the Pirates are trying to justify his offseason acquisition, but batting him fourth?
The last time I checked, teams put their biggest home-run threat fourth. Overbay is coming off seasons of 20, 16, 15 and 10 homers. And it's not like Overbay had limited action in those seasons. His at-bat totals were: 607, 500, 627 and 476.
I know new manager Clint Hurdle is full of energy and is ultra-positive, but this move reeks of something John Russell would do.
Every spring you can count on a handful of things: the return of baseball, preparation of taxes, a wild party on St. Patrick's Day and, of course, the Pitt collapse in the NCAA basketball tournament.
Saturday was the latest chapter in Pitt sports history where the eighth-seeded Butler Bulldogs crushed the hopes of Pitt fans with an unbelievable 71-70 win in the NCAA tournament.
It was the second time in three seasons that the No. 1-seeded Panthers failed to make the Final Four.
And this time, they failed to make the Sweet 16 under coach Jamie Dixon.
The ending proved to be typical Pitt. It also proved my theory with the Panthers: They will break your heart.
The Panthers failed to get a shot off with a lead, giving Butler the ball with less than 10 seconds left. Butler scored to take the lead, beating the so-called tough Pitt defense. With less than 2 seconds left, Pitt's Gilbert Brown was unbelievably fouled. It was a so-so call, but it was the gift Pitt needed.
Let me start off by admitting that I'll be rooting for Pitt to earn a trip to the Final Four.
I'll be rooting, but I don't expect it to happen.
That's usually the way it is with Pitt. I've lived by one rule when it comes to Pitt football and Pitt basketball -- they will disappoint you (or break your heart).
This will be Pitt's 10th straight tournament appearance. Over the past nine seasons, Pitt has a strong history of underachieving.Last year, they lost to Xavier in the second round. In 2008 they lost to Michigan State in the second round. In 2006 they lost to Bradley in the second round. In 2005 they lost to Pacific in the first round.
They play in the toughest league and won it. However, their style of physical play doesn't translate into the tournament. First, they enter the game with a reputation of a hard-nosed, tough team, putting the officials on alert. Second, they get officials who don't normally allow such play.
The new-look NCAA tournament begins tonight with two games, but the same rules apply when predicting the champion -- follow my Bracket Racket for the winner of the national championship.
I've picked winners in the past using this formula, so there's a good chance it'll be right again this year. Especially with the upgrades I've installed to cope with a 68-team field handed to us by the NCAA.
Hopefully they don't go to a 96-team field. I'm not sure my computer can handle more changes.
As an added bonus, if you have the right channels on your cable tiers, you can watch all the games. That's pretty cool, unless you own a business and want your employees to be productive.
Now, on to the picks.
First, eliminate all No. 16 seeds. This is a tried-and-true formula. It especially holds true since no No. 16 seed has ever won a game. That eliminates Boston U., Hampton, and the two schools that emerge to face Ohio State and Pitt after the first-round games on Tuesday an…
Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians could be in jeopardy of losing his job.
The Post-Gazette reported Tuesday that Arians might not return for the 2011 season.
If that's the case, then I'm all for it.
Of course, we went down this road last season when Arians' hold on the job was slippery. He stayed with the Steelers, so I'm not getting my hopes up.
I never was thrilled with Arians from Day One. Maybe that's because he used to be with the Browns, and we all know how well the Browns have been since their return to the NFL.
I know Arians has his defenders, and they like to point to the fact that he has a Super Bowl championship on his resume.
However, how is Arians perceived around the NFL?
If any other team across the league thought he was a good coordinator or had the stuff to be a head coach, surely the offensive coordinator of a former Super Bowl champ would have had his name come up in some coaching searches by now.
A colleague at work went to a Salt n Pepa concert on Friday in Cleveland.
I guess it was a nice flashback to the mid-1990s for him, but I should have taken it as a warning sign.
It turned into a '90s weekend when I watched the Super Bowl on Sunday.
For each turnover, I couldn't help but be reminded of the Steelers loss to the Cowboys in Super Bowl XXX.
If it weren't for Neil O'Donnell, the Steelers would have won that game. I think O'Donnell still is getting paid by Larry Brown, who was voted the MVP of the game because he made two of the easiest catches in NFL history. Brown parlayed that MVP award into a huge contract, which he never deserved.
But back to Super Bowl 45. With the mistakes the Steelers made, it was impossible for me to not think of that horrible Super Bowl 15 years ago.
Ben Roethlisberger had two interceptions Sunday, one of which was returned for a TD. Rashard Mendenhall had a fumble, costing the Steelers an opportunity to take the lead near the e…
First, let me be up front and say I wanted to see Penn State assistant coach Tom Bradley as the new Pitt football coach.
Why athletic director Steve Pederson bypassed Bradley, we might never know. It could be because WTAE-TV reported -- erroneously -- that Bradley was the next coach. It could be the Penn State ties. It could be because so many people were pulling for him and Pederson won't be told what to do.
Bradley's recruiting skills were so appealing, and the idea that he might take away many from the Penn State staff had to please Pitt fans as well, knowing that JoePa would be left scrambling.
But it wasn't to be.
Todd Graham is your new Pitt football coach after accepting the job Monday night.
As a side note, did anyone else immediately think of Alex Rodriguez's announcement during the World Series a couple years ago when the Graham hiring came about on the same day of the national championship? I guess that's one way to maximize interest to recruits.
The push for the Super Bowl begins in earnest later today, with more than an outside chance of all four home teams losing this weekend.
Will it happen?
Take a look below.
Saints at Seahawks: The Seahawks are the first team with a losing record to make the playoffs. Does it make them a lock to lose? When the Cardinals made the playoffs two seasons ago, they were considered a lock to lose in the first round. That, of course, didn't happen and they made it to the Super Bowl. I think that's where the parallel ends, even though the Saints have never won a playoff game on the road and are missing two running backs. Drew Brees should have a field day. Saints 34-17.
Jets at Colts: This is a rematch of last year's AFC title game. Rex Ryan makes it very easy to root against the Jets in this one. New York has been uneven down the stretch and Peyton Manning has had success against Ryan-coached teams. When it comes down to it, however, I don't see Mark Sanchez making a big play for t…
Depending on your choice of news, either Tom Bradley is the next Pitt coach, will be the next Pitt coach or is the leading candidate to be the next Pitt football coach.
Whatever the case, it looks like Pitt is zeroed in on Bradley, despite the other names (Sal Sunseri, Teryl Austin, Paul Chryst, Todd Graham)being mentioned as possible successors to the short-lived Mike Haywood experiment.
Much to my dismay, Pitt doesn't want Rich Rodriguez.
Bradley would be a solid second choice.
It didn't seem that way the first time around. When Bradley contacted Pitt about getting an interview he was turned down. My problem with the ascendancy of Bradley is this: If he wasn't good enough for an interview the first time around, why is he now the leading choice?
The short answer is, it's just Pitt. Dan Rooney recommended Pitt look at Bradley. It wasn't enough to impress athletic director Steve Pederson. For some reason, Pederson saw something in Haywood that not many other people …
I'll be the first to admit that it seemed far-fetched at the time. Dave Wannstedt still was the Panthers' coach and it wasn't certain that he'd be fired, and Rodriguez still was employed by the University of Michigan, although it was a better bet that he would be sent packing.
Wannstedt later was fired, which set the ball in motion. Pitt rushed to make a hire that didn't seem to have many finalists, selecting Miami (Ohio) coach Mike Haywood as its new leader.
The hiring was unimpressive, and the press conference touting Haywood as a man of character and integrity was less than inspiring. Haywood was fired less than three weeks later after a domestic violence charge, creating the vacancy again and making that press conference seem even more laughable.
Then things really got interesting.
CBSsports.com's Dennis Dodd touted a Rodriguez-to-Pitt move as a good thing. Later, the P…