Big Lead Sports Bar


Friday Bullet Points

It's Friday and still snowing in Pittsburgh. After a Thursday spent mostly on the road, I've got plenty of thoughts in the old noggin. So here's some musings for the content-starved. Please feel free to add your two cents on any or all topics.

--Four quick thoughts on the Anthony Smith comments:
1. First of all, it's a non-story. Total creation of the media looking to add fuel to the fire of Sunday's game. I think Ed Werder put him up to it. Guarantees are BORING, meaningless, and old news. Unless it's Joe Namath and the year is 1969, it doesn't matter what any player thinks.
2. My title a few weeks ago of "Anthony Smith: Steeler Capable of Really Annoying Me at Times" is coming true. I didn't check his bio, but don't remember seeing the words "Mensa member" in there.
3. The predictable "Who's Anthony Smith" response from New England was no surprise whatsoever, and equally as boring as the original guarantee itself. Outside of his hometown, Syracuse, and Pittsburgh, Smith's kinda not well known to say the least. But the media had no problem with a relatively anonymous guy making a useless guarantee. What, was Greg Warren unavailable for comment?
4. That being said, hats off to the Patriots for implying that they're too good to ever talk trash. I forgot just how perfect they were.
--Patriots hatred isn't just jealousy. It's media overkill and saturation. I was watching the high school football playoffs recently, and it was basically a few hours of Terrelle Pryor talk, with a few minutes of game commentary sprinkled in. By the end of the game, I was so sick of hearing about Terrelle Pryor it was frightening.
The moral of the story: people get tired of things. That's a fact. They got tired of the Where's the Beef lady, they got tired of Married With Children, they get tired of hearing about the same two Major League Baseball teams, and they get tired of hearing about the Patriots. Period.

--I think a few of you mentioned it in the comments section a few days back, but who else out there heard that ridiculous Hines Ward press conference following the Sunday nighter? You know, the one where he said, "No one ever gave me a chance" for about 15 minutes?
I don't know about you, but I've grown weary of hearing that line. As Mike Prisuta pointed out this morning on DVE, Hines was a third-round pick. Sorry Hines, but that's quite a pretty good chance, as a matter of fact.

As a player, I love Hines and think he's one of the greatest Steelers of all time. But he's clearly a player who needs to play the me/us-against-the-world card to get motivated. That act gets tiresome after, oh, 10 years of hearing it.

--I'm watching FSN at length the other day and I see a commercial that said, "Panther fans first". But I thought Pirate fans were first? And I also remember hearing that Steeler fans were first. As a matter of fact, I believe I've heard FSN say Penguin fans were first. So which one is it?

--Congrats to the Duquesne for making the City Game competitive this year. It looks like Ron Everhart is really starting to build a nice foundation for the Dukes. Although I'm an unapologetic Pitt fan, I enjoy when the Dukes (and Robert Morris, for that matter) do well. Unfazed, the sun still rose again at Dukes Court.

--My old buddy Dave Dameshek (late of 93.7 FM) was this week's featured guest on Bill Simmons' BS Report podcast, chock full of Pittsburgh talk. See, good things happen once those 93.7 shackles come off.
--Looks like the Pens are really starting to round into shape. They played two teams with contrasting styles in consecutive nights and came out with two Ws. And the dramatic ending last night, with Kris Letang scoring in the shootout, was the icing on the cake.
--My brother Ramon Mondesi, resident monitor of the message boards, tells me that the natives are becoming restless on the Pirate boards. Their main point of contention is the inactivity of the new regime. But if the best they can do is Jason Bay and Ronny Paulino for Kelly Shoppach, Ricky Gutierrez and Cliff Lee, I say "stand".
Ever hear the phrase, "Buy low, sell high"? If you move Bay right now, you're selling LOW. Really low.
--Email from Mike:
Just one more thought to consider. How exactly did the Steelers improve so much from last year to this year? Consider that last years team was 8-8 and got steamrolled at least 4 times (Chargers, Jags, Ravens (2X), not to mention an embarrassing loss to the Raiders. Since last year, the following has occurred:
-The 2007 draft class contributes almost nothing to this years team
-Our big free agent signing, Sean Mahan, is the weak link on the O-Line
-Speaking of the O-Line, it was maybe only above average last year and has certainly not improved its performance this year
-Significant playing time missed by starters Polamalu, Santonio, Hines, and Marvel Smith and others
-New coach replacing a legend
If anything, we should be much worse this year than last year, and yet hear we are, being hailed as perhaps the only threat left to defeat the best team of all-time, on their turf. How exactly did we get to this place? I'll answer my own question and say its almost entirely the improved QB play of Ben (with a nod to the improved Santonio Holmes as well). Which is kind of unsettling in that we can take last years average team, subtract all of the above negative factors that have occurred since then, and yet that is all more than offset because one guy, the QB, is playing so much better than last year. Nothing else really to say about any of this, other than it makes me scratch my head.
I'll make it real simple. Since I'm obviously in the mood for lists today, here's my top four reasons for the Steelers' turnaround:
1. Ben being healthy and ready to play.
2. Ben being healthy and ready to play.
3. Ben being healthy and ready to play.
4. The addition of Steely McBeam.
--I really enjoyed the opportunity to watch that NFL Network game last night. Brian Griese, Todd Collins, Adrian Peterson (the mediocre one)...
I'm going to guess cable operators' phone lines weren't too busy fielding NFLN requests last night.
A few links to further kill some time:
--An institution none other than USA Today gives a full article to the shot in the arm that Saturday's upset was for Pitt recruiting.
--This is simply titled, "Salisbury, Lotion, and Brett Favre".
--Did Darth Boras settle for less money, or is he just setting up a big payday for Andruw Jones down the road?
--We've heard all about the great West Virginia fans threatening to kill their placekicker (you guys really are great fans, if I haven't mentioned that before), but Pierogis N'At took it a step further and gave him a video tribute.
--Who's better, the Steeler fan or the Patriot fan? PSAMP has the answer.
--No, Donald Trump DIDN'T tip a waiter $10,000.
--It's an annual treat: the Scared of Santa Gallery.


HotDog_Zanzabar said...

Was I the only person that heard Marcellus Wiley suggest the Steelers should cut Anthony Smith? With that line, I think ESPN should hand him his walking papers.

Solid writeup Duke.

It's tough being a Pirate fan when you consider we have one of the worst major league teams and minor league systems in the game. Always a good place to start for a rookie GM.

The Duke from Dukes Court said...

I'll take credit for pointing out Hines Ward's awful post game comments:

The Duke said...
Did anyone hear the Hines Ward postgame comment when he thanked Will Blackwell for helping to make him a better receiver?

Yes, THAT Will Blackwell.

The Duke from Dukes Court said...

Todd Collins' power to draw an audience should not be underestimated.

Chris said...

Greg Warren is a beast.

Anonymous said...

Anthony Smith is an embarrassment. They're undefeated; you've lost to Denver, Arizona, and the friggin' Jets. STFU!!!

I say it all the time on these boards, but THE PIRATES ARE IRRELEVANT.

I refuse to root for the Buccos until they set the record for MLB futility by clinching their 17th consecutive losing season. I plan to be in attendance for loss #82 of the 2009 season when they set the mark.

After that....I'll get back on board.

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

Anthony Smith has some attitude, and he likes to hit.

I kind of like that. He's an up-and-comer.

Put Smith down for a sack, a pick, and decapitations for of Moss, Welker, and/or Stallworth for Sunday.

I don't mind what he said at all. It was blown out of proportion anyways.

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...


On Around the Horn, the panelists made it sound like Anthony Smith was some journeyman scrub who's only getting the start because Ryan Clark is hurt.

When in actuality, he's one of the Steelers best defensive prospects, was their 2nd pick in the 06 draft, and was actually sort of platooning with Ryan at the time of that injury and could probably start for about 22 NFL teams right now.

It's not like this was some shitty player that we HAD to stick in at safety because of an injury. This was the heir apparent to that starting job probably by next season.

Never let something like good reporting get in the way of four dorks yelling at each other about sports on TV though!!

Anonymous said...

Smith is Lee Flowers 10 yrs later. I agree that he can hit, but at this point in his career, his bark is considerably larger than his bite.

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

Flowers couldn't cover a receiver, that was his problem.

He and Burnt Alexander were our safeties and they were slow and only strong in run support.

We have the #1 pass defense in the league so I think our safeties now are considerably better than 6 years ago.

Dirty Sanchez said...

It isn't like Anthony Smith said the Patriots suck, and Brady is a homo, and that the Steelers were going to give the Pats an Ike Turner-like ass whipping. Honestly, I've got no problem with what he said and I don't want to hear Farrior or anyone else cowering when it's brought up.

NE would run a double reverse on 4th down if they were up by 40 on the Steelers anyway, so is this going to really fire them up? Fuck Belichick, fuck Brady, and I hope Smith lays the wood on alligator-armed Randy Moss so he'll stop trying.

Dirty Sanchez said...

Upon further review, maybe Anthony Smith should shut the fuck up in the future.

That was certainly demoralizing.

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

Remember what I said about not minding the Tony Smith guarantee because it's not a big deal?

I was wrong and I'm man enough to admit that.

Anonymous said...

Cecil from Cecil Twp. said...

Anthony Smith is an embarrassment. They're undefeated; you've lost to Denver, Arizona, and the friggin' Jets. STFU!!!