Okay, I write this not so much to get you psyched about potentially purchasing a copy of the Pittsburgh Steelers Annual from Maple Street Press that I will be editing for the second year in row. If you happen to be in a place where you can afford to do so later this summer, great. We're not there yet though. Instead, I write this just to give you a heads up about my whereabouts late last week and early this week. That would be preoccupied meeting a content deadline for this year's publication. So, I thought I'd at least give you a glimpse of what will be included in this year's version of the annual. You can check out last year's table of contents here if you're so inclined. By the way, while adamantaly telling MSP that I'd be more punctual this year, I told them to get their act together and come up with a front cover design that was worthy of the otherwise outstanding production value they had produced. I'm confident it will in fact look a bit more appealing from afar, because you know what they say - you absolutely can judge a book by its cover. At least you can when it comes to preseason NFL publications.
Anyway, I'm hoping this year can match last year's outstanding product. Though I sounded like a goof (it was 4 -freaking - 30 in the morning my time during the call), I was thrilled to hear Stan Savran and Guy Junker rave highly about the publication after I hung up one morning last summer to promptly get my skinny, flustered ass back in bed. I knew I had fared poorly, but what they hey, I had out of town guests and was more than likely closer to intoxicated than I was sober and rested. (Mother, please be taking a break from reading my boring weblog this morning).
Okay, onto an overview of this year's contents (in no particular order):
- Like any preseason publication worth its salt, there's a recap of the 2009 season. Those can be drab and linear, but fortunately for me and this year's publication, this piece was penned by none other than mary rose. We also throw in a very interesting statistical overview of the 2009 season for those who prefer numbers over prose.
- We also part ways with a legendary Steelers 'back in an article title 'Goodbye, Fast One.'
- I'm thrilled to have reeled in BTSC's own steeler.lifer once again to write an article about this year's Draft class. The old wise sage hit a homerun with last year's article, and I'm eager to see his take about this year's crop and how they may or may not fit in on an already crowded roster.
- Doug Farrar of Football Outsiders, ESPN.com and seemingly dozens other major properties is writing an article about the 'Trips WR Sets' deployed at times by Bruce Arians. I've not yet seen this but Farrar knows his stuff and is sure to teach us all a thing or two about what's going on when the Steelers bunch three WRs on one side.
- Last year, Ken Laird of 1250 ESPN spent a long segment discussing the statistical article compiled by Adrian Atkinson about Bruce Arians' play-calling tendencies. We'll be doing the same thing again this year following one of the most prolific, but ultimately unsatisfactory offensive seasons in NFL history.
- We also welcome back Larry Foote and Antwaan Randle El in an article that should get you psyched to see them donning the black and gold once again.
- Of course, just like last year, we'll break down the roster and the slate of opponents.
I was disappointed we couldn't get Jim Wexell back again this year, but his colleague Dale Lolley, whom many of you know from his insightful NFL From The Sidelines, will provide us with a glimpse into new offensive line coach Sean Kugler's work this coming month with the offensive line. Should be a real nice glimpse into what we can expect from the big nasties up front in 2010 under the new tutelage of Kugler.
- Like history? How about a tour of the memorable games from the 1960s and a piece on the old Pitt Stadium. I myself definitely learned something this past weekend reading both.
- For those of you real old school BTSC'ers, this may be a real surprise, but remember TheMostViolentTeam, a fan with a really great eye and understanding of the game? His preview of the 2008 matchup between the New York Giants offense and the Pittsburgh Steelers defense was one of my favorite 'nuts and bolts' pieces ever written on this site. Very accessible yet informative. Anyway, TMVT had to leave us to go train to become a NAVY SEALS Officer. I was super stoked to get him on board to write something brief about what the Steelers mean to our brave men and women serving our country.
- Remember this fantastic trip down memory lane by RickVa about his time as a walk-on football player at Temple? If not and you're looking for something fresh to read during the offseason, check it out. Mr. Cole has been in contact with his old college roommate and teammate, Randy Grossman, in recent months, and promises to write an interesting piece about the former Steelers tight end.
- And last, but most certainly not least, what I think will be the crown jewel of this year's publication and perhaps ultimately one of the finest things ever written about the subject - a tribute to the late, great Myron Cope. I wish I felt comfortable sharing more, but I'll just say that a certain Homer J. here in our sandbox is one hell of a well-connected and accomplished individual - one of those truly great and uniquely American hustlers that is able to stay true to himself and his roots while balling all over the place. He'll be writing this piece. He contributed last year as well with a legitimately one-of-a-kind account of the Immaculate Reception. Take it from there if you're curious. Anyway, this piece about Cope will be moving and one of a kind, as I've heard that he's been in contact with a bunch of his and Cope's old pals/colleagues. Worth the price of admission alone, without doubt.