Thursday, February 3, 2011


Editorial commentary by Angelo Spagnolo, Publisher

Okay, it's a given that Big Ben has screwed up plenty during the last few off seasons. If he wasn't wrecking his motorcycle, he was having train wrecks of other varieties. For his much-publicized brushes with the law, Roethlisberger became a pariah and was nearly shipped out a 'la Santonio Holmes. In fact, it was almost miraculous that he wasn't traded since his problems were far greater than those of Santonio Holmes. Some may argue that he's a great quarterback, the rarest of the rare commodities in the NFL. Others who focus on racial inequalities may argue that Ben, in addition to being a quarterback was also the "right color". While I personally don't prescribe to this theory, there aren't many Steelers who have screwed-up to half of the degree that Big Ben has who are still on the team.

He served a league suspension that was reduced from six games to four and has been a model citizen since his return. Despite my dislike of Roger Goodell, especially his most-recent attempts to make additional headlines for himself, I still feel that he may have unwittingly saved Roethlisberger's career from...Ben Roethlisberger.

Call it immaturity, call it being in love with yourself, call it having too much money, call it whatever you will, Roethlisberger had clearly lost his compass. His career was on the verge of an implosion.

Now comes word that Ben was out with the guys last night, treating his linemen to dinner and then drinks at a piano bar. There's no harm in that, right? Absolutely not. But in this era of instantaneous news reporting, Ben has to realize that he is now, unfortunately, a marked man. No matter how innocent this man's activities may be, like O.J. Simpson, another athlete who beat a rap for a crime that most Americans felt he had committed, Big Ben is viewed unfortunately in much the same way. Unfortunately, he's viewed by many as a rapist who plies his intended victims with liquor and who so far has eluded prosecution because of who he is, not necessarily because he's innocent. Just the way O.J. was followed around golf courses, supermarkets, fast food restaurants and laundromats, Ben Roethlisberger will be condemned to a life of having people looking through shrubs and turning on cell phone cameras in piano bars because of his past actions.

Sure, Ben did nothing wrong last night, but for as long as he is the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, he will be sentenced to a life of being scrutinized under an electron microscope. For this reason, Ben should have taken the high road and taken the guys out for a great steak dinner, a few glasses of wine and called it a night. I'm sure that everyone would have understood and then the denizens at TMZ could have focused on some other victim. But until Ben finally learns this basic principle, expect these kinds of stories to continue, no matter how innocent the activities may have been.

People may justifiably cry "foul", but the next person who can get that picture of Big Ben doing something awkward or worse, being drunk with a woman, will be able to cash in big on that picture. The bottom-feeders know this and they won't be going away anytime soon.


ABOVE: Several workers, dressed appropriately in black & gold, work at polishing the public persona of "Big Ben".

Every once in a great while, when there are extremely important games involving our beloved Black & Gold adorned sports teams, we will go to the very great expense of bringing in the one, the only, Michel de Nostradamus to give us his take on the crucial, upcoming match. In this case, it's "The Big Game", "The Grand Enchilada", "The Bowl that is Super" or the game known only by those who have paid the NFL to use its name...The "SuperBowl".

Ever since we have begun using the services of Nostradamus a few years ago, he has established a perfect record in predicting the fortunes of our local teams...even going so far as to name "A young man by the name of 'Antonio'" as being the hero in the AFC Championship game.

As soon as the Steelers dispatched the Jets to the trash heap of the NFL vanquished with Antonio Brown's clutch third down catch, we sent an email to Nostradamus asking him for another prediction interview (paid of course). Naturally, he took the obvious opportunity to tell us that he "knew" we would be calling. He promised to get back to us and remarkably, four days before the game, we already have had that interview (Last week he waited until three hours before gametime).

So without further adieu and in deep gratitude for all of his prior great information, here now is our predictions interview with the amazing Michel de Nostradamus with his SuperBowl pronostications.

"P.B. & G.": So how do you see the Steelers doing in the "big game"?

Nostradamus: I see Hines Ward taking all of the money, especially James Farrior's.

"P.B. & G.": James Farrior's money?? What are you talking about?

Nostradamus: The big card game on Friday night. Tomlin told Hines to cool it on the strip bars, so the guys are having a big card game on Friday night instead. 

"P.B. & G.": Brother! I'm talking about the SuperBowl game on Sunday night. I need predictions about that game!

Nostradamus: You know that you must be more specific with me. I'm looking at thousands of years of history you know.

"P.B. & G.": Okay, you make a good point. Let me rephrase my original question. What is your prediction regarding the outcome of SuperBowl XLV on Sunday, February 6th beginning at 6:30 p.m. being played at the Cowboys stadium in Dallas between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers. There, was that specific enough?

Nostradamus: Yes, very good. You're learning. It will be a titanic struggle, but those proclaiming to be men who slaughter meat whose fans, ironically, are partial to only dairy products will be in for an extreme disappointment. The defensive portion of the Pittsburgh unit will be particularly incensed due to the fact that they have achieved "underdog" status in this battle despite their unparalled success since...oh... 1974.

Also, there is a fellow who carries an odd-shaped object that I believe is covered with the hide of a sow, of all things, who will play a pivotal role. I believe his name is Rishad.

"P.B. & G.": Are you sure you're not talking about Rashard Mendenhall?

Nostradamus: Are you forgetting that I once referred to Hitler as Hister? I have a problem with names, okay?

"P.B. & G.": So go ahead, you were saying that Mendenhall will be a key?

Nostradamus: No, I said Rishad, if you will stop interrupting. Rishad will be big, the defense will be big, especially the one with the flowing locks. But the biggest one of all will be the one referred to as the "Large Clock". Yes the large clock will toll mournfully for the meat men of the bay, but that same bell will play a song that will be music to the ears all those who love him despite his human foibles.

"P.B. & G.": What type of a score do you foresee?

Nostradamus: I see the team from the three rivers inflicting great pain and injury as well as exerting their will over their green-adorned opposition. Yes, they ironically will be "green with envy" as the great silver prize, awarded by a man who perceives himself to be a king, is presented to representatives originally from Ireland as well as the large clock tower and his friends. In the end the vanquished will have scored just 13 points whilst the clock tower and his sow carrier will emerge with 24. This margin of victory will cause a great weeping and gnashing of teeth to all supporters of dairy products everywhere. Yay their supporters will rue this day for years to come whilst the legend of the men who each year are forged seemingly from molten metal will continue to grow.

"P.B. & G.": Thanks Nostradamus! Wow. That's a relief!!! I was really worried about this one! Now I can watch this game Sunday and really enjoy it!!!