IX - Hard to believe we're just two short weekends away from the conclusion of the 2011 regular season. Seems like the lockout was being lifted just yesterday. From the looks of it, the vast majority of you will have to find alternative viewing options for the Steelers home tilt with the St. Louis Rams Here's your NFL Week 16 TV Distribution Map.
X - Let the Litigation begin! 21 former NFL players sued the league over concussions, accusing the NFL for not adequately protecting them from the potential dangers of head trauma injuries. We'll see if these suits ever get any traction, but it's safe to say that this will just be one of an avalanche of similar litigation on the horizon.
XIII - Could Hines Ward potentially be playing his last game at Heinz Field on Saturday? That's the attention-grabbing headline and theory written by Ralph Paulk on Friday. Firstly, let's hope that Week 16 is not the final home game for the Steelers in 2011. I don't think it will be, but it's a possibility. More importantly though, Ward has reiterated that he'd like to play again in 2012. We'll see what unfolds, but if Roethlisberger is limited with his mobility if and when he returns from the high ankle injury he suffered against the Cleveland Browns, I'd imagine that he and Bruce Arians will try to keep Roethlisberger off his back with more quick-hitting passing plays, some of which, I imagine, would be designed for Ward.
XIV - Sean Conboy, the sports editor at Pittsburgh Magazine, wrote a fantastic article about head injuries in the NFL titled 'Sick in the Head.' The article is Conboy's first contribution in a sports literary journal called The Classical that looks quite good.
XL - After having to take last week off while traveling, it was fun to speak to Bill Priatko and Dave Villiotti again this week. We did so on Wednesday night for the 20th episode of Terrible Towel Talk this season.
XLIII - Even though the game itself was infinitely frustrating, I enjoyed the Monday Night Football telecast this past week. Quite frankly, the MNF matchups this year have been so bad that I haven't caught much of the previous 14 weeks. It's impossible to watch a football broadcast and not shake your head at least a few times at some of the inane things said by the commentators, but I think Ron Jaworski and Jon Gruden make a good team that is unsurprisingly led flawlessly by the veteran Mike Tirico. I bring that up because I just recently got to the lengthy but engaging profile of Gruden published in an early-December issue of The New Yorker. Worth the read over the Christmas weekend.