Tuesday, October 12, 2010


ABOVE AND BELOW: There are two Big Bens currently undergoing an image overhaul, Pittsburgh's Big Ben and that "other one" over in London. Curious how both Big Bens have men with gold helmets around looking after them! Sadly enough for the Cleveland Browns, Big Ben will be striking 12 both here and abroad this coming Sunday.

I would not want to be Eric Mangini this week. He'll be bringing in his battered and bruised Cleveland Browns team into a typically-hostile Heinz Field minus his top two quarterbacks Seneca Wallace and Jake Delhomme and with a banged-up running back, Peyton Hillis.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the line of scrimmage, the Steelers will counter with a mostly-healthy starting lineup plus have their two-time Superbowl-winning quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, back in the saddle for the first time following his well-documented suspension for sexual hijinks in a Georgia college bar.

Roethlisberger is literally foaming at the mouth to play again and from all reports he is in the best shape of his entire career. If there is any danger that the Steelers may face in this game, it would be Big Ben trying to do "too much". If he plays within himself and allows the small patches of ferrous oxide to naturally wear off of his uniform, the Steelers should have no trouble dispatching the Browns and improving their record to 4-1. It could get grotesquely ugly before it's over with a "Harrison Slam" or two a possibility. Speaking of people whom I wouldn't want to be this week, the name "Colt McCoy" also springs into my mind. The Browns picked up a quarterback off the Ravens practice squad this week to back up McCoy, but the question is, "Will one be enough?"

ABOVE: Eric "Mangenious" has his hands full this week, minus two quarterbacks and possibly his featured running back, Peyton Hillis. The Steelers would be well-advised to look out for a major-league-sized dose of Joshua Cribbs in the wildcat formation on Sunday...but I think our own "Mangenious", "Dickgenious Labeaueinstein" will have already figured that out.

But in the back of every Steeler players' mind should be the horrible losses they suffered versus the Browns, Raiders and Chiefs last year. All three of those games were viewed as "eminently winnable" and the Steelers did have Roethlisberger for all three losses. However, they have a much different team this year. They are focused, seem to be on a mission to get back to championship status, are much healthier than last year and now have a quarterback who has been brought back to Earth by our wonderful N.F.L. commissioner. THANK YOU ROGER GOODELL!!!

All together now..."Happy days are here again....

LEFT: "Annette Hanshaw and Her Boys" could really play this song. Word is that the Pirates are looking to bring them in for a "Skyblast Show."

If you're a Pittsburgh Steeler fan, I'd say you're in for some good times the rest of the year. As was noted by our occasional prognosticator, Michel de Nostradamus, earlier this year he called for the Black & Gold to go 9-3 once Big Ben returned. Coupled with the 3-1 start that they managed sans the "Large One", that would have them finishing with a 12-4 mark and in the thick of things for another Superbowl appearance. But hold the fort, a lot of things can happen in the always-mercurial National Football League...just ask the Minnesota Vikings and their guy who's always trying to "Get out of his Levi's", Brett Favre. 

  Sports Ramblings From Hither and Thither....

I was glad to see the Pittsburgh Penguins sit down Marc Andre Fleury yesterday. I guess Dan Bylsma has finally joined the legions of Penguins fans who are sick and tired of Fleury's complete lapses in concentration...Don't be expecting some big name manager to be hired by the Pirates. They have already figured out that with their present pitching staff they'll win as many games with a "Joe Blow" manager as they would resurrecting Danny Murtaugh or Casey Stengle. They'll use some of the money they save to bring in acts like "Three Dog Night" or "Huey Lewis and the News" next year. Don't laugh, they're making money doing just this type of thing....Question: Is it me or are the Cleveland Browns the football antithesis of the Pittsburgh Pirates? Answer: No, they have no Skyblast Shows"...Talk about laying an egg, crapping the bed, stumbling out of the gate, whatever you want to call it. Who would have ever thought that the Penguins would have lost their first two games at the new Low Wattage Center? By the way, word is that the crowds have been none too vocal thus far this season. They're probably out enjoying those spacious concourses, dining on gourmet smoked kielbasa and luxuriating in those new bathrooms...From the always-competitive world of politics, who out there isn't sick of the political ads we're now being besieged with? I know this much, if half of the mud being slung around is true, God help our country, no matter who wins!!! Are these the best candidates that both parties could come up with???