Big Lead Sports Bar


Time to Preview the AFC North

The 2006 NFL season is upon us. Given that we only think sports are relevant when they involve Pittsburgh, our 2006 NFL Preview is limited to the Steelers division, the AFC North. So here are the key additions, subtractions, and arrests that make the AFC North the best division in football (in order of predicted finish)...

1. Pittsburgh Steelers

Key Additions:

S Ryan Clark - Signed to spite the Redskins for signing Antwaan Randle El. Will be expected to run reverses, return punts, and throw touchdown passes in Super Bowl XLI.

WR Santonio Holmes - Had a busy year, including the Fiesta Bowl, NFL draft, two arrests, and not answering his phone when the name "B ROETHLISBERGER" showed up on caller ID.

OL Willie Colon - The Steelers draft an athlete from the Bronx. Fans everywhere are relieved when they find out it's not Carl Krauser.

S Anthony Smith - The only good thing to come out of the Syracuse football program since Mama McNabb's son.

Ben Roethlisberger is everywhere. He even works his way into a blurb about Anthony Smith.

C Marvin Phillip - Drafted in case Chukky Okobi should have a neck problem. Again, Steeler foresight shines through.

QB Omar Jacobs - Picked strictly for talk-show amusement, so Steeler fans can argue who will be the third quarterback this year. Also drafted so the Steelers can say all of their QBs come from MAC schools.

Key Subtractions:

RB/Bill Cowher Antagonist Jerome Bettis - Traded to NBC for Matt LeBlanc

Say what you want, but he's still better than Kornheiser

QB Tommy Maddox - signed with the Pittsburgh Colts.

WR Antwaan Randle El - turned his 35 catches into $31 million of Dan Snyder's Fool's Gold

DB Willie Williams - transferred from Miami to Pearl River Community College. Wait, that's the other Willie Williams. I think this guy retired. Actually, I think he retired in 2004.

DL Kimo von Oelhoffen - signed with the Cincinnati Bengals. Rooming with Carson Palmer at training camp.

S Chris Hope - signed with Tennessee to mentor Pac Man Jones in the secondary


WR Santonio Holmes (2) - disorderly conduct (standing in the street in Miami) - dimissed; domestic assault in Columbus, trial pending. Hopes to do two more stupid things and catch Chris Henry for the NFL lead.

OL Barrett Brooks - fled from police on Ben Roethlisberger's motorcycle

QB Ben Roethlisberger. Not arrested, just got a ticket for not having a PA motorcycle license.

He's not Natalie Gulbis, but he did win an MVP

2. Baltimore Ravens

Key Additions:

QB Steve McNair - Signed to a lucrative deal also includes unlimited vicodin, crutches, and 5 complimentary MRIs. They also included a clause to never lock him out of the practice facility.
The 26010, or as McNair calls it, "the usual"

Key Subtractions:

RB Chester Taylor - replaces Onterrio Smith in Minnesota. However, the team has yet to sign a replacement Whizzinator.

I guess the NFL Shop lets this jersey go through

QB Anthony Wright - signed with the Bengals. Already arrested twice.

LB Peter Boulware - retired out of embarrassment at brother Michael's showing in the Super Bowl

OL Orlando Brown - will now work in the league office towards creating a flag that won't blind you, or better yet, finding referees that won't throw them at your eyes

DB Deion Sanders - signed with AT & T so he can hang out with Andy Roddick and Big Papi


I could be wrong, but I don't see any. Of course, it's kind of hard to give them accolades as long as they have a murder accessory and a drug conspirator on their squad.

3. Cincinnati Bengals

Key Additions:

DT Sam Adams - 33 years young, 350 pounds fat. Just the kind of unmotivated player we want the Bengals to continue to sign.

S Dexter Jackson - Super Bowl XXXVII MVP and former free agent target of the Steelers a few years back. Stock has fallen so much, most of his income is derived from signing these photos, and not an NFL contract.

QB Anthony Wright - continues his tour of the AFC North by signing with Cincinnati. Will join the Browns in 2007.

DE Frostee Rucker - See below.

LB AJ Nicholson - See below. Again.

LB Ahmad Brooks - See below. Yet again.

Key Subtractions:

QB Jon Kitna - Decided he would rather play with three disappointing first round receivers under the guidance of Matt Millen than return to Cincinnati. Ouch, Bengal fans.


WR Chris Henry (4) - marijuana charges, charged with pulling a gun on a group in Orlando, speeding and drunken driving, charged with providing alcohol to minors.

DE Frostee Rucker - charged with two counts of spousal abuse and vandalism. Will be removed from .99 menu.
That's enough out of you, Frostee

LB AJ Nicholson - charged with burglary; previously arrested twice on suspicion of alcohol-related offenses. Usually, this is swept under the rug at Florida State.

DE Matthias Askew - subdued by a taser after refusing to move his illegally parked car
A re-enactment of Matthias Askew's tasering

OL Eric Steinbach - Boating under the influence. What is it about NFL players and trouble on boats?


LB Odell Thurman - 4 weeks - substance abuse. He allegedly beat a bag of marijuana with a baseball bat.


Rookie LB Ahmad Brooks was taken in the supplemental draft. He was only available because he was kicked off of UVa's football team for marijuana possession and other problems. Pitt fans holding tickets for a Sept. 2nd matchup with the Cavaliers rejoice.

4. Cleveland Browns

Key Additions:

WR Joe Jurevicius - Being a white wide receiver, Jurevicius is usually the victim of racial stereotypes like "Good route runner", "Deceptive speed", and "Posession receiver". With the recent creation of the Caucasian Wide Receivers of America, Jurevicius now has a legion of supporters on his side.

C LeCharles Bentley - Signed to a 6 year, $36 million contract in the offseason. See "Subtractions" column for the rest of the story.
The Curse of the Browns continues in 2006

LB Willie McGinest - One by one, the Browns are trying to acquire the entire Patriots organization. They start with the defensive coordinator. Then they take the heart and soul of the defense. And in 2007, they plan on making a run at Bill Belichick's grey hoodie.

Bill Belichick, wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt from the 2005 Duce Staley Collection

P Dave Zastudil - Baltimore stole Cleveland's entire football team, so Cleveland tries to get even by swiping their punter.

DT Ted Washington - Who doesn't want a 15 year veteran who weighs 365 pounds?

DE Kamerion Wimbley - Will try to live up to the high standards of previous Browns #1 picks like Tim Couch, Courtney Brown, Gerard Warren, William Green, Kellen Winslow and Braylon Edwards.

RB Lee Suggs - they tried to trade him to the Jets, but he was returned to sender. If nothing else, they've set up a perfectly awkward situation upon his return. And now, his confidence has to be completely destroyed---he wasn't wanted by a team who started 82-year-old Curtis Martin at running back last year.

Key Subtractions:

WR Antonio Bryant- fearing they have too many game breakers, the Browns let Bryant walk to San Francisco

C LeCharles Bentley - He was in one practice and is already out for the year. At least he'll be highly compensated.


Actually, none yet this season, although Ruben Droughns was involved in a domestic incident three days after being acquitted for a DUI. And as long as William Green is around, there's always a high ceiling for trouble. (Thanks to Mondesi's buddy TJ for Browns info)

So there you have it...I'm hoping for and expecting another exciting year of AFC North football. Where we line up, our best against your best, and punch you in the mouth. Three yards and a cloud of dust. Running and stopping the run. Defense and special teams. Double reverse passes. Onside kicks. Felony drug charges. Accesories to murder. The Bengals' fan misbehavior hotline. Motorcycle wrecks and chases. Bettis on NBC. Brian Billick. Kellen Winslow. The Thursday Night NFL Opener from Heinz Field. And much, much more. I can't wait. And they say the NBA is FANtastic!


SAMO said...

I think Cin, Bal, or Pit could win this div. Certainly Pittsburgh is the favorite, but if Palmer's knee holds up the Bengals have a shot, and if McNair can stay healthy than the Ravens can make some noise also.

Anonymous said...

Good job Raul. As usual you have cut away all of the rheotoric and told us what we already know about those fags in Cinci, Cle-town and Baltimoron. Way to go!

Anonymous said...

Steelers 11-5 -Playoffs, Cinci Crybabies 10-6 - No Playoffs, BlackBirds 8-8 Wait til Next Year, Brownies 6-10 Great Season for them.
Raul, I enjoy the sarcastic sports humor. You will make this NFL year much more fun.

Steeltown Mike said...

steelerfn8286 hit it on the head. The Sporting News actually has the Ravens winning the North!?!?

Stay tuned. My blog will be having its NFL preview in the next couple of weeks. Wait to see if I put Baltimore 3rd or dead last...

Anonymous said...

You guys so hot on Cincinnati seem to forget that Carson Palmer is still not ready to go by his own admission (regardless of what Marvin Lewis says) and they might play up to a month with Anthony Wright at QB. A month where they face KC and the Steelers on the road and New England at home.

Anonymous said...

I can hardly wait steeltown mike! Can you interview Ike again?

Anonymous said...

Cincy will be about 8-8 this year. Tougher schedule, and half the teams in jail. Not a good combo.

mai wen said...

Great job! I'd followed the news pretty well over the summer, but it's nice to have it all laid out in one place with great detail, witty comments, and fun pictures.

Keep up the good work, though I am surprised that you have Baltimore picked for second, I still think Cincinnati is a better team than Baltimore, especially because I know they'll get Carson back in there as soon as possible!!