Big Lead Sports Bar




"You might want to post some pictures I have from Sid's day with the Cup. I was lucky enough to get some good photos of him when he went by in the parade and also of Max Talbot (who also signed my Max Talbot SSSSHHHHH! shirt I was wearing that day, incidentally I did not even know he was going to be there, so a very cool moment for me.)" -- Ryan B., Nova Scotia

"I figured that you may enjoy this... my friend from Latrobe has has his own little T-shirt design company for a little while, and he made this great pirates shirt a couple years ago..."
-- Joshua F.

"Just thought I would send you some pics of card carrying members of Steeler Nation" -- Anonymous

"The Great Wall of China is representing the Steel Army, supporting the Riverhounds and soccer in Pittsburgh !!" -- Chris E.

"Attached is the pic of my son born 6/22/09. We are living in Dallas so needless to say the nursing staff wasn’t too excited to see the Towel… However, our gyno dr. was… he is also a western PA guy and is huge into the Black and Gold!" -- Tom R., Texas

"It was hard to get a Steeler plate. Even Penguins plates are popular in calif.... Here is mine. Trying to find a right combo for my Steeler plate for my 2nd car...... Maybe you can have others post their plates or ideas...Pittsburghers represent well out here!!!" -- Laura, California


"Yes, it's against some weak competition, but Isaac Redman looks pretty impressive in this highlight compilation." --Collin T.


From Philip R.:

"Thanks for introducing me to my new Big Ben stat soul mate, Dutch W.

I was recently in a little debate regarding the Top 5 QBs in today’s NFL. For the record, I have Ben at #3, though I will listen to arguments for Drew Brees in that spot and Ben at #4. Regardless, Ben should not fall outside of the Top 5, so here was my rebuttal to those who had Ben ranked too low:

For another perspective, let's all jump in our respective time machines and head back to July 2007. The argument du jour was 'Which NFL QB is #1', and the only two real candidates were Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. No one disagreed with these two being the Top 2. Since this was before Brady's breakout season, it all came down to whether the person was a stats fan (Manning) or a fan of results (Brady).

Let's look at Brady's career stats prior to 2007 (NOTE: Before anyone gets bent out of shape, I'm not arguing that we should disregard Brady's record-breaking season in the overall conversation -- that season is one of the main reasons I have Brady at #1 on my own list).

Tom Brady (2001-2006):
1,895 - 3,061 = 61.9% completion
510 attempts per season
21,558 total yards = 3,593 yards per season
7.04 yards per attempt
147 TDs = 24.5 TDs per season = 4.8% TD percentage
78 INTs = 13.0 INTs per season = 2.5% INT percentage
QB rating = 88.4

Ben Roethlisberger (2004-2008)
1,189 - 1,905 = 62.4% completion
381 attempts per season
14,974 total yards = 2,995 yards per season
7.86 yards per attempt
101 TDs = 20.2 TDs per season = 5.3% TD percentage
69 INTs = 13.8 INTs per season = 3.6% INT percentage
QB rating = 89.4

The numbers are pretty similar, if you ask me. Ben has better rates across the board, with the exception of his INT percentage. Brady had better total numbers, but when you account for the extra pass attempts that Brady had, it shows that Ben was actually more efficient.

Again, this is just to put today's argument in perspective. Two years ago, Tom Brady was hands down one of the Top 2 QBs in the NFL. The argument for Brady was that he:
- Won the big game (3 Super Bowls)
- Was as clutch as you could get
The argument against Brady was that he:
- Didn't put up gaudy fantasy stats
- Benefitted from a well-rounded team and amazing head coach

Two years later, Ben puts up very similar numbers and carries the exact same argument, yet several people say that Ben is not in the Top 5 QBs (sometimes not even in the Top 10!). What changed in the past two years?

Of course, people came back with the requisite “Ben only wins because of his defense and running game!” retorts.

Let’s compare Super Bowl years:

Tom Brady won in 2001, 2003, and 2004. The Patriots’ average defensive rank during those years was 3rd in the NFL. They gave up 16.1 points per game during those three seasons. The Pats’ average rushing attack rank was 15.6 in the NFL.

Ben Roethlisberger won in 2005 and 2008. The Steelers’ average defensive rank during those years was 2nd in the NFL. They gave up 15.0 points per game during those two seasons. The Steelers’ average rushing attack rank was 14.0 in the NFL.

They took very similar teams to championships.

And to those who say that “Ben just needs to score 10 or 14 points per game in order to win” – well, I guess Ben didn’t get the memo, because his offense has averaged 23.2 points per game during his career, just below Brady’s 24.0 points per game during that aforementioned 2001-2006 span.

Someone then called Ben out saying that his offensive points per game were aided by all of the Steelers defensive TDs.

Funny enough, Brady’s Patriots had far more defensive and special teams touchdowns than Ben’s Steelers. During that six-year span, the Patriots scored 28 TDs this way, while the Steelers only scored 17 in Ben’s five years. So, re-adjusting the offensive output number, we see that Brady barely edges out Ben by a score of 21.95 ppg to 21.71 ppg.


Not sure if you saw this, but earlier today one of the ESPN talking heads suggested that Packer fans show their displeasure by throwing batteries at Brett Favre. Or, as we in Pittsburgh call it, "The Cobra Treatment." Video here" -- John N.


"Last night I was in Oakland just getting done watching an awesome comedy show, headlined by local boy Bill Crawford, at Hemingway's. My friends and I walked down the block to The Original Hot Dog Shop. I was excited because I had never been to this place but always heard it was awesome. As I was eating my enormous, so-called "small," bowl of fries, my friend is says "Dude Carey Davis is behind you." I didn't immediately turn around, but when I lifted my head I spotted another Steeler at the counter. I said, "Dude Mendenhall is behind you." We were all excited but didn't act like a bunch of little girls. My friend has a strict code about not wanting to bother celebrities in public places. Still it was really cool to see them out on the town, no one bothering them or nothing. That begs the question though: What the hell were they doing at the "O"? It is training camp and the season is about to start. They shouldn't be eating that garbage." -- Chris H. [Editor's sidenote: The O has a Wikipedia page? Who knew]


Written by Mike S. of Pittsburgh , who said he had nowhere else to send this:

"12 years is a long time. 12 years is the amount of time between first grade and graduation from high school. 12 years is an eternity for Hollywood marriages. 12 years is 3 Presidential Terms/ 12 years constitutes almost 1/5th of the average life span. 12 years is also the amount of time that Hines Ward and Deshea Townsend have spent rooming, eating, sleeping, aching, and playing together. Common law marriages have nothing on these two.

In an age when teammates change with such regularity, bonding with one is almost impossible. In the turmoil filled world of the NFL the guys sitting next to you in the locker room could easily not be there the next day due to a myriad of factors, including free-agency, salary cap casualties, injury or trade. If you see the same faces for five years, you will have been lucky. That’s probably why when two mid-round draft choices showed up for their first training camp in 1998, their bond was formed out of mutual “new to the world of pro-football” naiveté, as it was actually wanting to find a new friend. The BMOC’s were now small fish in a big pond and it is only human nature to look for comfort in those whose situation mirrors your own. So you can save the star-crossed sentimentality for some other story. Necessity and condition brought them together. What has kept them that way is something trickier to figure out.

The Odd Couple was a popular stage play, movie and television show based on the unique bond formed between the uptight neat-nick and his sloppy, but loveable shlub pal. The attraction was that in friendship often times you can’t define why you like who you like, but it can often fly in the face of what our own personal tastes are. It would be clichéd to say that Ward and Townsend are Felix and Oscar incarnate, but it is impossible not to notice how their differences fly in the face of their companionship. Raised in suburban Atlanta, Ward is an only child, raised by a Korean immigrant mother who on top of working 18 hour days, had not entirely grasped the English language. Sports were a safe haven from the taunts and racial epithets and were his passport on to bigger and brighter spotlights at the University of Georgia . Townsend was raised in rural Mississippi, and comes from a large Southern Bapist family. Deshea excelled at the football powerhouse of South Panolla and although undersized, went on to be a four year starter at the University of Alabama. Although both were highly touted college recruits, their paths would start to diverge at this point. Hines became Mr. Football while at Georgia, setting records for receiving, rushing and passing and setting the standard for versatility on the football field. As the adage goes though, Ward began to gain the “Jack of All Trades/Master of None” moniker, and was looked as a player with no true position. Townsend on the other hand would begin to build on the reputation that would carry on throughout his college and pro career. Despite his diminutive stature, would provide the most consistent performance of anyone on the field, always being looked at as “holder” of the position until someone else would come along to “claim” it. In reality, Alabama doesn’t have birthrights to positions and his performance would speak for itself over his four years at the school. The disclaimer being that despite his success at the highest of collegiate levels, his height and his game would never translate to a slot on Sunday rosters.

In the 1998 NFL Draft the Steelers would make Ward the 14 wide receiver chosen, midway through the 3rd round. Twenty five players later, they would select Townsend. Hindsight, perspective and ego will not allow us to give honest answers to questions regarding our past emotions, but given the opportunity to ask these two men what their emotional make up was on that draft day, the prevailing thought would uncertainty. Mid-round draft picks are almost assured a spot on NFL rosters, but playing time and opportunities are not. So as they embarked on their first steps to being professional football players, for the first time they did not know what the game had in store for them and would only have each other to confide an emotion that was as alien to them when putting on the pads: fear.

This is where the bond becomes solidified. Getting to know another man’s insecurities is the most sacred of all machismo bonds. Realizing that different backgrounds and experiences are building blocks to greater self fulfillment is a ritualistic step into adulthood. If you don’t have brothers or sisters, asking someone who does what it is like is important. Understanding that someone requires a television to be on at night to successfully fall to sleep, is simply preparation for marriage. Letting someone know that you are mad and upset about the uncertainty of your playing time or place on the depth chart, is real.

And so it goes. Through hard work and fearless play on the field, Ward would go on to become the most prolific wide receiver in Steelers history. Owner of virtually every team record, Super Bowl MVP and icon to a city that cherishes its sports heroes as if they were Greek Gods incarnate. Townsend’s career would follow a different path. Deshea would toil on the bench behind players that he was undoubtedly more talented then. It was his demeanor and professionalism during this time that would eventually serve him well when his opportunity finally presented itself. Townsend would go on to become a starter on two Super Bowl winning teams, and display an uncanny ability to rise to certain occasions when the spotlight shone brightest. Deshea’s popularity, while not Wardsian, is strong among Steeler fans. Even in his 12th year, it has become routine for a challenger to present themselves to this “holder” of the position, but it still seems that birthrights don’t exist on football fields

Throughout their journey, the constant has remained their friendship. Ward’s heights and acclaim were always lent perspective by the guy who remembers late night discussion about when it was going to be his turn. Deshea’s despair over his lack of opportunity was always eased by the guy who remembers being recruited by the same colleges as him and knowing that besting him in practice was one an incredibly tall order. Their friendship remained still while the worlds around them changed. Marriages, divorces, children, houses, cars, championships. The moments that make up a lifetime would pass through the bond between them, but never break it. Like any friendships there would be tests. Money and fame can have an allergic reaction with egos and personalities, but honesty and love, tend to satiate that reaction, especially when it is needed.

As they enter this 12th year together it would be easy to sit and ruminate on the greatness of their achievements and ease into the retrospective sense of thinking. But when you reach a certain age in the NFL, the eyes become less over-looking and more suspicious. Players in this league have a shelf life that Ward and Townsend have long since past and it is now not a question of when will it get my chance, but rather, how long do I have? So entering training camp number twelve, the circle has been completed. The boys who found a bond in uncertainty, are right back where they stated. Age is a great equalizer and it has brought these two old friends right back to each other, if nothing else because there isn’t anyone else who would understand. They are anomalies is a world of status quo. The questions they ask are only capable of being answered by one another. I wonder if they still stay up late at night wondering if the coaches noticed them? I’m betting they do."

"John Lopez at apparently feels that 33 year old defensive end Aaron Smith is the most indispensable player on the Steelers. Moreso than even old “what’s-his-name” who plays QB.

Aaron Smith is awesome, but he’s got 10 other guys behind him who make up the #1 defense in the league. Losing him would hurt, but he is not indispensable. On offense, Ben is playing behind 5 O-Line guys doing their best impression of a screen door on a submarine. Lose Ben and we may not finish .500.

It’s bad enough that #7 gets low mark compared to other “proven” QB’s in the league (Carson Palmer, Drew Brees, Jon Kitna), but now he’s even being ranked behind other teammates.

If only he’d win a Super Bowl or two to shut everyone up and…….oh wait, never mind." -- Mike V., Lawrenceville

And to close, a little controversy, of course:

"I wonder if Pitt will have these same problems? " -- Rege R.




HotDog_Zanzabar said...

I wonder if Deshea and Hines reminisce about their first trip to Erotica back in 98

jmarinara said...

I have an Alabama fan friend of mine who is sympathetic to PSU because "that's real college football" as opposed to Pitt who, I dunno, is playing with a nerf ball or something I guess. . .

Anyway. . .

He defended the asinine policy to not play Pitt saying that it hurt PSU more to lose to Pitt than it helped them to win against Pitt.

Yeah, and that blowout against COASTAL CAROLINA really did wonders for your BCS chances didn't it?

One of these days, Akron, La-Laffeyette, or the St. Martin Charm School for girls is gonna smack the lionesses right in the mouth and we Pitt fans are going to laugh and laugh.

Grow a set, PSU, schedule Pitt, or at least someone else decent like Utah, Georgia, Cal, something. . . because your embarassing yourselves here.

the nigerian nightmare said...

They have Alabama next I guess that would qualify.

Steve said...

I'm assuming Adam is somewhere between pages 15 and 16 of his 40 page rebuttal to the above comments. This one should be good.

Ben State said...

I read the SI article of most indespensible players. I don't necessarily agree with the Aaron Smith choice, but it should be noted that the article specifically discounted all quarterbacks because just about every team's most indespensible player is their quarterback.

Unknown said...

As for Redman and Division II football being weak - the gap doesn't exist anymore. There are as many D2 players in the NFL as there are guys from the CFL and I-AA. The Steelers have a long history of D2 players - most recently Ricardo Colclough and Nate Washington. Jason Capizzi is a LB for the Steelers and from...IUP. There are two other D2 players on the roster as well. Walter Payton? D2 player. Jerry Rice? D2 player.

BurressWithButterflywings said...

I really just wish PSU and Pitt would play every year. Bottom line.

Off the topic: Is Garrett Jones faster than 5(minus 3)-Tool Lastings Milledge?

Minus 3= No defense, no speed, no power.

Brian said...

If you've ever been to the Great Wall you'll know that there's unfortunately a lot of graffiti there. I visited a relatively remote area outside of Beijing---there are no people in my photos of the wall, so that's a plus---and even there I found graffiti in many languages and vendors hollering outside of each guard tower. That said, whomever put the Pittsburgh soccer decal/painting on the wall is crass, and not simply b/c Pittsburgh soccer is lame. Show a little respect for a historical treasure that's about six times older than our country.

AJ said...

Wow... the Pirates losing streak started 5 years before Heinz and Deshea became teammates.

Steve said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
the nigerian nightmare said...

Have to agree with the Great Wall comment..........and honestly I had no idea the Riverhounds still existed.

jmarinara said...

Yeah PSU v. Bama should be a good game.

I agree with the great wall thing. . . should have been a Pens logo. . . *smirk*