Sep 012013

I’ve sat through 2-9 records. I’ve been disappointed by 9-4 records.

… watched 13-9, jumping up and down, hooting and hollering throughout that agonizing and ultimately triumphant fourth quarter against West Virginia.


… was present when Rod Rutherford scampered 62 yards to score the lone touchdown as Pitt beat Pennstate, 12-0, at Three Rivers Stadium in 2000.

Pitt 12, PSU 0

Pitt 12, PSU 0

… started the “asshole” chant at Joe Paterno in 2000 at Three Rivers Stadium.

… bore witness when Larry caught that touchdown pass. And that one. And that one. And that one. And that one.

… will never forgive Oklahoma’s Jason White for denying Larry Fitzgerald the Heisman Trophy.

… saw Tyler Palko lay the wood on that BC player and Darrelle Revis’ ESPY-winning kickoff return for a touchdown.

… was so fucking proud when Pitt beat Notre Dame in five overtimes at ND Stadium.

… think Walt Harris made the right decision to start Palko over Joe Flacco.

… watched helplessly as Cincinnati came back in the fourth quarter to deny Pitt a BCS bowl berth.

… stood in the home student section at Beaver Stadium, too afraid for my life to say a word, watching Pitt fight and scratch and claw against Pennstate, only to lose 20-17 when LeVar blocked a last gasp field goal attempt.

… remember the “slide” against UConn.

… shook Dave Wannstedt’s hand after watching him give a talk to alumni after he was hired at Pitt.

… tried putting on a brave face when Mike Haywood was hired. (I couldn’t even convince myself though).

… was subjected to the Swinging Gate.

… wish Walt’s experiment with the Spread Offense, years before it became en vogue, had succeeded.

… refreshed ESPN Gamecast over and over and over again sitting on a connection in Bangladesh, ‘watching’ Pitt win the Tangerine Bowl vs NC State.

… sat through that entire bullshit meltdown in the rain against Youngstown State last season.

… saw Chryst rally the program to thump Virginia Tech after starting out 0-2.

Pitt 35, VT 17. Sept 5, 2012.

… have said a couple nice words about Tino Sunseri and even Bill Stull before him.

DITKADorsett, Marino, Curtis Martin, Russ Grimm, Chris Doleman, Rickey Jackson, Joe Schmidt. Beat that. Only three other schools can. Ruben Brown, Larry Fitzgerald, Darrelle Revis. We’re coming for the last three.

… have been a Pitt football season ticket holder in all but one year since 1998.

… refuse to give up hope.


Aug 222013
Golden Panther on the prowl with tail up

Or… Really, He’s Writing About the Damned Script Logo?!

Yesterday, I wrote about the second most annoying common issue that Pitt partisans bring up – the lack of an on-campus football stadium. Today’s let’s delve into the most aggravating common issue – the script logo, which Pitt used from 1973-1996.

I get why people pine for the return of the script logo. It’s pretty unique and just so happens to coincide (at least in its early years) with one of Pitt football’s most successful spells, a period that included a national title and three straight 11-1 seasons as well as a cavalcade of stars. Of the 8 Pitt players enshrined in Canton, 6 wore the script logo – Chris Doleman, Tony Dorsett, Russ Grimm, Rickey Jackson, Dan Marino and Curtis Martin. Ruben Brown stands a decent chance of adding to that total.

I love the script logo but I’ve come to accept that the administration won’t bring it back. Furthermore, a whole generation of Pitt fans has grown up without the script logo and so have no attachment to it. The current block logo is pretty decent, if not a little unimaginative. And both Larry Fitzgerald and Darrelle Revis (two possible Pro Football HOF candidates) made it proud.

Pitt Script logoscript logo, 1973-1996 pittblockblock logo, 1997-present.

If Pitt were to use the old script as a third uniform in the same way that ND occasionally wears their green uniforms, I think that would be a decent compromise. But if the administration really wants to get creative,  why not bring back logos for eras past.

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Apr 072009

A quick list of the Grand Canyon State’s ever growing contingent of Pittsburgh-related coaching connections:

* Cardinals’ coach Ken Whisenhunt served most of his coaching career with the Steelers, ending as Offensive Coordinator.

* Whisenhunt’s top assistant Russ Grimm is from Scottsdale, played his college ball at Pitt and was Bill Cowher’s top assistant/offensive line coach with the Steelers.

* Cardinals’ defensive coordinator Billy Davis got his first start in NFL coaching with the Steelers.

* Arizona State head basketball coach Herb Sendek grew up in Pittsburgh, graduating from Penn Hills High School and Carnegie Mellon University.

* Finally, new University of Arizona head basketball coach Sean Miller is from Blackhawk High School and considered one of the best point guards ever to play for Pitt. He also spent some time as an assistant at Pitt.

Is that enough to convince you that Arizona = Pittsburgh West? Oh and there’s also Larry Fitzgerald.

Jan 052007

I remember very little of the pre-Bill Cowher days.  I didn’t start following football in earnest till Chuck Noll’s last year in 1991; seeing the malaise of the team in his final games, thinking on what it must’ve been like in the glory years of the 1970’s before I was born.

I’m one of the lucky ones.  I’ve been to at least one Steelers game every year since Cowher took over.  I can’t imagine anyone else roaming the Steelers’ sidelines.  I can’t imagine not seeing that Jaw jutting out, the fire in Coach’s eyes.  As much as Dan Rooney’s silent, steady leadership, Bill Cowher’s tenure taught me the “Steelers Way”, our city’s way – hard work, team work, leadership, intensity, fundamentals with just a little bit of strut thrown in to keep people off balance (after all, it was a WR to WR pass that defined Superbowl XL).

I remember the coaching search after Coach Noll resigned and thinking who was this assistant from Kansas City who could possibly replace the Legend.  I thought the trendy candidate, Mike Holmgren of SF at the time, would’ve been a better hire.  Fifteen years later, I still marvel at the wisdom of the Rooney’s.  Holmgren also won a Superbowl and sooner than Cowher but he could never have shown a 12yr old football neophyte “how we do”.

I hope and pray and trust that the Rooney’s will once again find another Man who embodies “our way”.  It surely won’t be easy to hit the jackpot three times in a row (and this guy would like to see Russ Grimm as the next head coach).

You’re probably thinking that I’m over-eulogizing.  But you can’t know how it is until you’re one of us, one of the Steelers Nation.  I won’t like it one bit if/when Cowher comes back to coaching with a different team.  I’ll hate it when he coaches against his hometown team for the first time.  But Bill Cowher won’t ever be anything but a Pittsburgh Steeler to me.

Oct 292005

The preliminary list of candidates for induction into the Pro-Football Hall of Fame was announced yesterday. There are a number of great Steelers or Pittsburgh-related players listed including L.C. Greenwood, Donnie Shell, Dermontti Dawson and Jimbo Covert & Russ Grimm (who both played at Pitt and then on the famed Redskins “Hogs” lines). Dawson is in his first year of candidacy and so might not get in this year but he will eventually. I sincerely hope that Grimm & Covert get into the Hall at some point. 

It’s long been my position that Greenwood and Shell are most worthy candidates for election into the Hall of Fame. How can a member of the famed Steel Curtain defensive line not be elected?!  In addition, Shell was a great player on those teams, responsible for a lot of coverage and read assignments. 

There are those who will counter that there are already too many players from the 1970’s Steelers teams in the Hall of Fame. I fail to see how a great player can be less deserving because he played with other great players. Having said that, I must admit that I have my doubts as to whether Lynn Swann & John Stallworth deserved induction – not over L.C. Greenwood, not over Donnie Shell or even Andy Russell. 

It’s not fair to Greenwood that his greatness is often overlooked because he wasn’t as flashy as Mean Joe Greene or Jack Lambert or Lynn Swann or Franco Harris. Not having that signature moment that elevated Swann or some of the others shouldn’t diminish his candidacy nor should having played with other greats of the game.