Big Ten roundtable: Who to watch in Week 5
2 hours ago
Proud, tough and resilient. The same adjectives that could describe the Pittsburgh Steelers could also apply to their large and fiercely loyal fan base.
"It's in your blood. I have the Terrible Towel that I was wrapped in as a baby," said Rob Mowry, 35. The Pittsburgh-area native manages a trading company and owns a restaurant in Chicago, but still flies back to western Pennsylvania at least four times a year to watch Steelers games.
A yellow placard taped to a car window in a hotel parking garage offered a reminder through a new signature phrase: "Knocking On 7's Door."
After another AFC title trophy presentation at Heinz Field, team president Art Rooney II spoke Sunday night of "finishing the job."
"Steeler Nation, we're going to Dallas," he proclaimed. The Steelers, known as a model NFL franchise, have been run by three generations of the Rooney family.
It's the organization's mom and pop-type feel that resonates with its fan base, even if the Steelers are a big business and one of the top-selling teams in the NFL. The franchise's sense of loyalty appeals to the blue-collar sensibilities of western Pennsylvanians.
Many of those who departed [Pittsburgh] took their Steelers allegiance with them and passed it on to children and grandchildren. Those who stayed viewed the team as the common bond that offered a brief distraction from the economy's harsh realities.
"It's our way of life," Coen said. "If you're in this town, and you're not a Steelers fan, you're almost not accepted."
This dilemma has nothing to do with whether or not I will be rooting for the Steelers. It has to do with … ‘The Question’! What is the question? It goes something like this, “Ready for the Steelers’ game, George?” OR the ‘other question’, which is worse … “So, are you a Steelers’ fan?”To be perfectly honest, had you asked me before I read this blog if my friend was a Steeler fan or not, I would have said most certainly he was. Why wouldn't he be? But I am surprised. Just like when I found out my neighbor was a Pitt fan. Honestly, they look so normal sometimes it can be very deceiving.
When answering the first question, I can (and at times do) take the easy way out by responding with something to the effect of, “Sure, always ready for football!!!” And yet, there are times when for whatever reason I feel that I must elaborate and add, “But, I am not a diehard Steelers’ fan.” It is during these times that I see some of the dirtiest, confused looks on people’s faces. What can be worse are the situations when I must answer the second question. I will share my polite answer, but you must know that it does not always get me very far. When asked if I am a “Steelers’ fan”, I most often choose to respond with, “Not the way most people around here are. But I respect the team, everything that they have accomplished as a franchise, the Rooney family, and they way they seem to have done it with as much class as possible in an ever changing societal atmosphere.” As you might imagine, that answer often gets me out of further explanation.
“I am a HUGE NFL fan, but I just don’t have a favorite team. I tend to root for teams who have players or coaches whom I like and enjoy watching.” Most of the time, that type of answer will do it, especially if I immediately turn and walk away. It is simply not a very satisfying ending for me.I can live with an answer like that. I don't understand it, but I can live with it. This is a very common fan type as I will discuss below. But then he drops this bombshell:
The true response is that I grew up a Dallas Cowboys fan, bleeding silver and blue all over the place, crying my eyes out at 14 years old IN FRONT OF OTHER PEOPLE when they lost yet another Super Bowl to the ‘Stupid Steelers’.OMG. This is akin to finding out your first grade teacher was really a satanist. You suspected it back then, but would never have believed it years later when she was caught sacrificing animals on an altar in her livingroom, even if it had been posted on Youtube with several million hits. This is simply shocking.
This is a stupid hire. It will always be as stupid hire and David Brandon just led the worst coaching search in the history of Michigan football. He managed to chase off half of an already iffy recruiting class, hired a Plan C coach on January 11th, probably ensured the transfer of the reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, and restricted his "national search" to people who'd spent at least five years in Ann Arbor. Michigan just gave themselves a year of USC-level scholarship reduction voluntarily.
What are the chances that the best available coach is a 52-year-old with a 47-50 career record and no experience as a coordinator?
I'd rather have Rich Rodriguez entering year four with a new defensive staff than this, a total capitulation.
A completely average coach should be able to take 20 returning starters on a 7-6 team that sees the schedule ease considerably and get to 9-3. That's good, because that's probably what we hired. If Denard's out the door all bets are off except "will Brian cut down or across?"
Graham made $1.3 million at Tulsa, about $300,000 more than Wannstedt was paid from 2005 until this season, but is expected to be paid about $2 million per season at Pitt. Graham's salary is believed to be one reason he was bypassed during Pitt's initial search, but the school subsequently decided to pay more.
Penn State assistant coach Tom Bradley was among the first to be interviewed by Pitt, but he apparently did not have a second interview despite being pushed by some prominent Pitt boosters.
Michigan has fired football coach Rich Rodriguez after his third season ended with a school-record 38-point loss in the Gator Bowl, Fox 2 TV and the Detroit Free Press are reporting.
The report comes as Rodriguez is meeting with athletic director Dave Brandon on Tuesday. Members of the football team are scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Rodriguez traditionally holds the meeting the night before classes resume each semester.
Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh, who played quarterback at Michigan, has been cited as a potential candidate to replace Rodriguez. But a source with direct knowledge of Harbaugh's thinking said Harbaugh is "highly unlikely" to accept the Michigan job if offered, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Bolden and his dad, Robert, met today with coach Joe Paterno and his son Jay, the Nittany Lions' quarterback coach.Well at least Mrs. Williams cares about the values of her son. Granted, Bolden may not have gotten the playing time he wanted, but as a freshman at Penn State, the fact that he got ANY is simply amazing. And I am surprised at how willing his father is to have him transfer. So the message he wants to send to his son is this . . . when the going gets tough, just quit? And the decision was supposedly "made" BEFORE the bowl game.
Bolden's mom, Tonia Williams, told The Post-Gazette that Joe Paterno did not grant her son his release.
Williams said she is happy her son was denied his release, but worries about his future at Penn State.
"I didn't want Rob to leave," Williams said. "I think he should stay there. I just told him that I thought he was making the wrong decision. I really felt that he moved just a little bit too quick and too fast."
Orange Bowl administrators, determined to make tonight's matchup between No. 5 Stanford and No. 12 Virginia Tech less entertaining, have decided to bar Stanford's irreverent band from performing at halftime.I'm with Ed Rendell (just this once and very likely the ONLY time ever.) We're becoming a nation of wussies. And that includes you, Dick Foust.
The move comes after the band announced its show was entitled: "Recent Events in the Pro Sports World in Miami."
Apparently bowl officials were concerned that the band might mock LeBron James and hurt his feelings.