In this week’s “U mad, bro?” Pittsburgh sports fans are mad about how the NFL is handling the Steelers-Titans postponement.
They are also mad at attempts to qualify the Steelers’ 3-0 start. Mad at the Penguins for trading Patric Hornqvist. And mad about the presidential debate.
I’m mad, too. Because I agree with almost all of your outrage!
That’s not what this weekly segment is supposed to be about. Agreement!?
Pfft! Where’s the fun in that?
After the Steelers improved to 3-0 Sunday, I pointed out that their opponents were a combined 0-9.
To be fair, I also pointed out that Tennessee’s were 1-8. And I mentioned that many of the AFC’s top teams hadn’t played very difficult schedules so far either.
That got a nice thread going in our comments section — as you might imagine.
Here’s what Paul offered up.
“ONE TEAM in the history of the NFL has gone undefeated. One. ANY WIN in the NFL is a good win. And a solid win. This ain’t college. This is professional football. 3-0 is an accomplishment. 3-0 sends a statement.”
Statement? Eh, I don’t know what “statement” it sends aside from head coach Mike Tomlin saying, “Hey! Maybe we won’t get punked by any rotten teams in games we are clearly supposed to win this year!”
There are 13 games to go. And there are still some dog opponents on that schedule. So let’s not get ahead of ourselves. But maybe the Steelers have kicked that annoying habit for one year.
Now, you want a true “statement” from the Steelers? Go to Tennessee and win. Get to 4-0 for the first time since 1979. Win two more against the Philadelphia Eagles and the Cleveland Browns. Be 6-0 going into the game against the Baltimore Ravens on Oct. 25.
That’s a statement.
Brian Metzer and I did our final regularly scheduled hockey podcast of the season this week. We spent a lot of time discussing the Patric Hornqvist trade to the Florida Panthers.
JT had some thoughts in our comments section.
“Playoff hockey is won in front of the net. And the Pens, by Sully’s insistence, are one of the easiest teams in the league to play against. This trade made them worse in that regard. I don’t have a problem trading (Hornqvist), but the return made them even easier to play against. Absolutely nobody is afraid to play against them now.”
I don’t think Hornqvist actually put “fear” into any other team. He just annoyed the daylights out of everyone he faced.
And there is something to be said for that.
On the penalty kill — and presumably on the forecheck — Colton Sceviour is supposed to bring some of that tough element. And defenseman Mike Matheson should make the team harder to play against in terms of his skating ability.
But, no, there is no replication of Hornqvist’s tenacity and net-front presence to be found in the return from Florida. Nor is it apparent in anyone in their farm system. Nor will they be able to find it on the trade market or free agency until they shed more salary.
In other words, yeah. I agree.
A lot of Steelers fans are upset about how the NFL is handling the covid-19 hot spot in the Tennessee Titans locker room.
Many folks seem to think the NFL should just play the game on Sunday with as many healthy players as Tennessee can muster. Or, at the very most, move the game to Monday, while not even considering Tuesday.
Also, a lot of fans I saw on social media were bent out of shape at the idea of making the Steelers, Titans and Baltimore Ravens juggle their bye weeks to accommodate the game being pushed off of this weekend’s slate.
This is the NFL’s chance to set a precedent for how they’ll deal with this. Moving a game to Tuesday is not the right move. Hopefully it’s just pushed to Monday.
— Randy Dineen (@RandyDineen) September 30, 2020
I don’t get why you can’t have two Monday night games. They did it to open the season, didn’t they? Especially if you give them two weeks to prepare changes to programming.
— WMBO (@DJWUMB0) September 30, 2020
What if a team loses 4 guys to injury in a game that can’t play the next game? Do they get a bye? Nope, play the game.
— Joe Kubacki (@Joe_Kubacki) September 29, 2020
Moving the game to Monday night is no big deal. The weather has done that to games before. If a 24-hour delay allows both teams to play and keep the sanctity of their schedules, so be it.
Also, waiting as long as possible gives the most time to identify as many potential incubating positive cases as they possibly can. Let’s not forget, the health of the Steelers roster is being protected in that sense.
But health is being compromised differently by asking the Steelers to play a Tuesday game, then host Philadelphia next Sunday. That’s too extreme. Especially since the club also has a second short week when they play the Ravens on Thanksgiving.
Reconfiguring the byes is a burden on the Steelers, too. It shouldn’t be the Steelers’ responsibility to take an unscheduled, unannounced, early bye (while they practiced all week) and then play 13 straight weeks of football because another team got sick.
It’s possible the Steelers may prefer working on a short week or sacrificing the comfort of their current bye to playing a team with recent positive tests. But what if two teams deal with this again after the bye weeks? What if it happens before a team is already scheduled to play on a Thursday?
Here’s what should happen. Play the game Monday night. If that can’t happen because more positive tests keep rolling in, play Tuesday.
But, if Tuesday becomes necessary, move the next week’s Steelers-Eagles game to Monday so the Steelers have extra time to rest. And move the current Monday night game (Saints versus Chargers) to Sunday afternoon. Or just have two Monday night games next week.
If a game in Nashville can be moved, so can games in Pittsburgh and New Orleans. Forget the television “flex guidelines.” And there are zero (or limited) fans in the stands for these games anyway.
The NFL is essentially saying this is a league problem now. So if Pittsburgh is adjusting for the good of the league, everyone else should adjust for the good of the league as well.
Last Thursday, I saw this tweet about some coronavirus regulations that were being lifted for on-field officials during ACC football games.
News from the ACC: After consultation with the Medical Advisory Group, football officials will be permitted to use traditional whistles in games this weekend. Officials may pull down their masks when the snap is imminent and may leave them down through the live ball period.
— Andrea Adelson (@aadelsonESPN) September 24, 2020
I didn’t even know those guidelines were in place. And my goodness, how supremely stupid, anal-retentive, nonsensical and optically driven those guidelines were.
When I expressed that opinion on Twitter, someone named “r winters” replied.
“How about respecting the adults who are trying to come up with the best practices to safely play the games. Some things work. Some things don’t. They will learn and adjust as they go.”
Well, here’s one adjustment we should all make when it comes to devising “regulations” surrounding covid-19 … for sports, and beyond.
Let’s ask ourselves if whatever measure we are debating is potentially being implemented for practicality, or for show. Let’s ask ourselves if we are sanctioning necessary health practices or taking part in “political theater.”
And let’s ask ourselves if what we are doing is in the best interest of safety overall, or just in the best interest of getting the approval of “coronabros” on social media.
Because the main reason the refs went back to “traditional whistles” is that the electric ones they were using in the first few games of this season couldn’t be heard by the players, and the student-athletes were getting exposed to dangerous late hits.
But, sure, there’s a one in 100 million chance that a field judge with his mask down during a play on a 100-yard field is going to transmit covid through an old-fashioned whistle.
Obviously, that’s much more dangerous than a 300-pound lineman diving late on a tackle because he didn’t know he should stop. Right?
Oh, I’m sorry, you were saying something about adults instituting “best practices.” Please do go on.
Finally, a tweet came across my feed comparing this week’s presidential debate to a professional wrestling match.
— BlitzburghVideos (@BlitzVideos) September 30, 2020
OK. That’s enough. I know you are trying to be funny. But let’s be clear.
That is rude. Dismissive. Insulting. Pejorative. Unnecessary. And disrespectful …
… toward professional wrestling.
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