Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Hard as it may be for some people to believe, the building that today dominates the Pittsburgh skyline, the elegant PPG Building, was once derided by a great number of people as being too "gaudy" or "austentatious". Fortunately their opinions did not hold sway as the PPG Building stands today as one of Pittsburgh's most beautiful examples of architecture. Our feature shot today shows this crown jewel of the Pittsburgh skyline framed by a beautiful cloudless sky.

As is always the case, if you would like tp order a copy of this picture send our Director of Pittsburgh Photography, Gary Gayda, an email at GMGayda@yahoo.com. Let him know the picture name and number and what size of a print you would like. Gary will get back with you posthaste.

By the way, thanks to all of you who sent emails about Gary's "Beer Wars" pictorial last week. We'll have tours throughout 2010 of some of your favorite Pittsburgh spots. Last week Gary took over 400 shots in preparation for "Beer Wars", but fortunately did not suffer a case of "trigger finger" as a result.

# 63   "JEWEL"

ABOVE: How could anybody not like this? They did, but it's too late now. The PPG Building will be here at least until December 21, 2012.

#64 "Mirror, Mirror"

ABOVE: The windows of 5 PPG Place, one of the complex in the PPG development, catches a reflection of its' big brother creating a surrealistic impression.


Dennis Dixon came into Sunday's game against the Steelers' bitter rival, the Baltimore Ravens, with only one pass play's experience on his NFL resume'. But the young Oregon quarterback had plenty of moxie, directing the team to a fourth quarter lead which the defense, once again, could not hold. But it wasn't until overtime when Dixon's nightmare first reared its' ugly head...

ABOVE: Freddy Kreuger, cousin of Baltimore defender Paul Kreuger, celebrates moments after his relative snared Dennis Dixon's pass in OT. The Ravens went on to win 20-17.

On Sunday, prior to this important AFC North matchup, our previous post mentioned that this game would be "compelling" because of all of the plot twists that got Dixon into the game as an unexpected starter at zero hour. We expected compelling. What we got was compelling with a heavy dose of gut wrenching, nerve wracking and finally, fittingly, a blow to the solar plexis. But, on the bright side, for those few remaining NFL fans who hate the Steelers, it was a third consecutive week to dance on their grave.

ABOVE: Ray Rice looks like he will be a thorn in the Steelers' side for quite some time to come.

But fear not Steeler fans. The noises coming from the Steeler locker room after the game were not cries of anguish or despair. Rather, they were the sounds of defiant, angry, men who are now more determined than ever to get back on the winning track. As the inimitable "Mr.T" might say, "I pity the fool who thinks that the Steelers are dead."

However, in the aftermath of this uber-compelling struggle, signs of a possible rift in the locker room emanated from no less than Hine Ward (also often referred to by Mark Madden as "Wines Hard"). Ward, in a pregame interview with Bob Costas, amazingly went on to say that he was shocked that Ben didn't play. He was also apparently upset that Tomlin didn't even notify the captains of  the team.

In his post game comments, a very agitated Mike Tomlin expressed his surprise that anyone would, "Question the toughness of 'Seven'. If anyone wants to further question his desire, maybe they should see me personally to discuss it."

Ward stated that there was a, "50-50 split in the locker room as to whether or not Ben should have played." and that he's (Ward), "Played with concussions (himself) in the past." In light of the NFL's oft-repeated concerns over concussions, plus local situations regarding Mike Webster, Merrill Hoge and most recently, 60's Steeler Paul Martha, Ward's opinion can only be regarded as eyebrow-raising to say the least.

Ward, appearing close to tears afterwards, whispered that, "I was proud of him (Dixon). He played strong. I was not not calling-out Ben Roethlisberger."

Tomlin was eliciting further juicy comments in his post game press conference, stating that, "We will unleash hell in December," and "We will not go gently."

The Steelers, for their part, had been faced with a most perplexing situation: How do you write a game plan in 24 hours for a guy who only has pre-season experience, whose biggest asset is his legs and who you can't risk sending out of the pocket because his backup, Tyler Palko, had just been fitted for a helmet three days earlier? Add to this the fact that Chrtis Kemoeatu would miss the game on the O line and you had the makings of a possible Waco massacre.

To the massive credit of the offensive line, not only was Dixon never sacked, Rashard Mendenhall also managed to have an effective game running the ball (26 for 91 yards 3.5 per carry). Dixon, using a greatly-simplified game plan, managed to avoid the massive mistake while making some fine throws and even scoring a touchdown on a scamper around the right edge for 24 yards.

While charting every play in this game that I knew would be taken apart and analyzed for generations to come, I made "game commentaries" throughout. Here are just a few excerpts...


In their first possession, the Steelers had two handoffs to Mendenhall followed by a tipped ball that was nearly intercepted. "...No imagination here. Steelers should have thrown downfield on first play to show Baltimore that they won't be afraid to do this, maybe back off some of their pressure."

Following Baltimore's first possession, a horrible defensive series where Baltimore went 73 yards on nine plays, I wrote..."Defense horrible. Defensive backs aren't even in the picture."

As a first half summary, I made this notation: "Dixon has done as well as could be expected. The defense has been a big disappointment. I don't know if the offense can manufacture enough to offset defensive shortcomings tonight."

Midway through the third quarter: "Steelers need to unshackel Dixon. Third and long doesn't make it. We have good field position, use it!" After a monster sack by Lawrence Timmons..."Defense starting to dial in on Flacco."

After Dixon's 24 yard run around end for a touchdown I wrote, "What an awesome job Dixon has done. Question: Will Steelers install a wildcat with Dixon when Ben returns?"

Then, after James Farrior correctly calls "Tails" for the overtime kickoff return, I wrote, "Amazing that the Steelers have gotten this far in this game, but Dixon is looking shakier and shakier as pressure has increased. How about a big kickoff return?"....

Immediately after the "Kreuger moment" and subsequent game-winning field goal, Ray Lewis and Ray Rice were interviewed by NBC. Lewis, as could only be expected, was completely delerious with joy, hugging Rice and saying, "Ray and Ray. Double trouble. With us and the Steelers it's personal...We like to hit people too...It doesn't get any better for football, bottom line."

For once this maniac was right. If you were just a fan of football, watching a catclysmic battle between the Steelers and Ravens, nothing does get better than this...except when the Steelers kick the game-winner, that is.

ABOVE: He may be celebrating now, but we'll see if "Ray Ray" is still celebrating on December 27th.