During a playoff push, a football fan has a whole lot swirling through their noodle, whether it's tiebreakers, injury reports or weather reports. My black and gold mind feels like a frenzy of ponderous tidbits are slam-dancing in my noodle. As always, it is my civic duty to make your brain feel that way too.
But first, I know I have offended various parties in last week's column and will probably do so again this week. So, like Billy Madison, I should probably apologize before I end up on a "Steve Buscemi-like "people to kill" list.
So like the Salvation Army, I ring my bell of regret for and in the general direction of the following...
- The self gratification habits of John Travolta characters
- To the Parker Brothers staple that is Rich Uncle Pennybags for incorrectly calling him "Mr. Moneybags" as pointed out by Homer J..
- To myself, for apologizing for calling the aforementioned Pennybags by the correct name. It was officially changed in 1999.
- For the use of the terms "sausage-fest" and "horny masses".
- Ben Roethlisberger, for implying that he looks like he would never pass up poultry.
- Seigfried and Roy
- Implying that Rogers Freyvogel would ever put IcyHot in a jockstrap like Lambda Lambda Lambda perpetrated on the Alpha Betas in 1984's "Revenge of the Nerds"
- In-laws everywhere...even in Cincinnati
- Gloria Gaynor, but not Cake (they butchered that song)
- Drunk girls singing anti-male redemption karaoke songs. They are treasured resources to the horny masses. Oops...I did it again.
- Gary Russell
Ladies and degenerates...I present to you "Random Thoughts of a Black and Gold Mind."
- Ben Roethlisberger has unequivocally taken the reins as the undisputed team leader and it's good to see. By taking Antonio Brown aside and explaining to him that losing any yards due to unnecessary penalties can make the difference in a win or a loss is crucial. However, is it falling on deaf ears? It's like that episode of Full House when Stephanie was joyriding with cool upperclassmen and DJ took her aside and warned her and she went out and died in a horrific accident and the lives of the Tanner clan were never the same again. That didn't actually happen quite that way, but it would have been an effective message and the Stephanie character sucked anyway. But AB needs to step up as a leader and realize that his brand is safe without the celebratory antics. Risking a penalty, a game and ultimately the playoffs for a dance is ludicrous. Mike Tomlin needs to make like John Lithgow as Reverend Shaw Moore in Footloose and ban dancing altogether.
- Mike Tomlin's proclamation of a four-man OLB rotation, but not five, leaves an odd-man out. He has already committed to James Harrison as the hot hand, which is 100% accurate. Bud Dupree is a talented pass rusher and he will increase his workload from his twenty sacks of a week ago. That leaves Aurthur Moats, Anthony Chickillo and Jarvis Jones. It kind of looks like JJ is going to be the odd man out here. In this, his fifth season, the pass rush hasn't ever come to fruition for No. 95 and it looks like Jarvis is doing a Pete Best impression as the forgotten and ousted Beetle in 1963.
- Artie Burns looks to me like he can be an Ike Taylor with hands. That's a major compliment. Now Ike actually possessed hands, however they just didn't have grabability. I am a big fan of Swaggin' University's favorite alumnus, but Ike couldn't catch a STD in a brothel. If only Taylor had surgically implanted suction cups on his burger-grabbers. He would have been an all-decade guy.
- The 2004 draft has been well-documented as a great QB draft. 1983 still rates better due to boasting six first-rounders (Elway, Blackledge, Kelly, Eason, O'Brien and Marino), three HOFers (If you don't know, you just don't know), a Super Bowl winning coach (Gary Kubiak) and guys named Clete, Jim Bob and Babe. But '04 has more Lombardi trophies (4) and a much better SB winning percentage at 80%. But who among Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger make it to Canton first? In my mind it should be Ben, but with NFL politics it's going to be Eli.
- Ladarius Green can erase all of the uncertainty surrounding his signing in the stretch-run here. Behind Brown and Bell, Green is probably the next most-important weapon on offense for Ben as the team fights for a division crown and a seat at the playoff table.
- As Eddie Murphy said in his 1987 stand-up feature "Raw", if you give a starving man a cracker...It will taste like the best cracker ever. A Ritz cracker. Spare the comments, I realize that wins are wins and that winning ugly doesn't matter sometimes. But sometimes it masks bigger problems. My question is...have the Steelers actually fixed their problems or was a winless Browns team and a decimated Colts squad merely perfect timing and a gift on the schedule? The Giants game will tell us if this team is indeed a Ritz or a stale dog biscuit with salt on it.
- Here we go again, the Steelers are home favorites to win this game. But let me remind you that in 1948 Dewey was a favorite to defeat Truman. The opening credits of Cheers allude to that (not completely though). And yes, Trump vs Clinton was forecasted incorrectly. (So, the next candidate with a T, R,U and M to start their surname should just get atomatically elected to spare us the advertising fatigue.) But I digress. The biggest advantage that the Steelers have in this contest is a superior running game. The Giants defensive front is hot and the secondary is capable of great things, with Landon Collins among the league's best in interceptions.
- My goal for the remaining five fourth-quarters of 2016 would be to see lots of silky number 3s. Against the Colts, I was thrilled to see Landry Jones and Fitz Toussaint plying their trade at Lucas Oil Stadium in the closing minutes of Turkey Night. Ben and Bell in garbage time is too risky. To channel my inner Johnny Cochran, "If the game's not in doubt, you must take them out!"
- The return of Roosevelt Nix has been met with very little fanfare, but Nix has intangibles that make a difference to the offense and on special teams. He is a key piece to the playoff puzzle.
- I abhor the Baltimore Ravens, but I'm starting to see them start to gel. The defense is tops against the run and they have the best kicker in the league in Justin Tucker. They play Miami at home this weekend. If they snap their winning streak, they could prove to be dangerous down the stretch. There's going to be a lot on the line come Christmas Day in Pittsburgh.
- If you get a chance, watch "Chuck Noll: A Football Life" on NFL Network. He was a true genius.
- I wonder what Ray Seals is doing these days.
Until next week,
Obey Dire Straits and get your money for nothing and get your chicks for free.