Football POP

By Steve Samek

This may Seem like it belongs on the social blog, but its work here.

Today Funko announced NFL Hall of Famers would become POP figures. 11 players and two coaches receive the Funko treatment.

For players you have Brett Favre, Terry Bradshaw, Deion Sanders, Lawrence Taylor, Dan Marino, Bo Jackson and more. The Coaches are Mike Ditka and Tom Landry. Sander’s also comes with exclusive options only found at Toys r us.

I like how these look a lot. I also like how it extends the NFL line and works well with the current players already in the line.

What I don’t like is how hard these things seem to find. I may find an NFL pop if I’m lucky, but it’s never a Pittsburgh Steeler. I have looked at multiple stores and can’t come away with Antonio Brown, or Big Ben.  Only Can Newton and a couple Seahawks to be seen.

I think from the line I’ll pick up Bradshaw and Mike Ditka for the Pittsburgh connection.

The Funko sports line seems to be neglected a bit and this should help. Between this addition and the new NFL wave set to come out it looks like the sports line is starting to return again.  Hopefully this leds to more NBA, NHL and MLB pops returning to the line.

Check out the new line here. https://funko.com/blogs/news/coming-soon-nfl-legends-pop-s.

 

Bell Hold Out

By Steve Samek

With training camp just, a couple weeks away the hot button topic for the Pittsburgh Steelers is running back Le’veon Bell.

Bell is playing with the franchise tag this season. Bell feels like he is entitled to the big money. Wanting to get paid like a number one back and a number two receiver. https://www.si.com/nfl/2017/07/25/leveon-bell-pittsburgh-steelers-kirk-cousins-washington-redskins-themmqb-andrew-brandt.

The problem is do the Steelers want to pay for the on the field Bell, or the off the field Bell.

On the field Bell is a top talent rushing for 1,268 yards on 261 attempts while scoring seven touchdowns. http://www.espn.com/nfl/player/gamelog/_/id/15825/leveon-bell

This was in 12 games after missing the first one’s due to suspension. http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000687567/article/leveon-bells-suspension-reduced-to-three-games.

 Bell has been suspended to start the past two seasons for drug issues. The Steelers have had no trouble parting ways with stars with off the field issues like Plaxico Burress, or Santonio Holmes. Yet the Steelers also held on to Ben Roethlisberger, despite off the field issues.

Too push Bell the Steelers drafted James Conor in the third round. Conor can learn under Bell and then take over as the starter when Bell leaves in two years. http://www.nfl.com/draft/2017/profiles/james-conner?id=2557978. This would be dependent on Conor working out, but the expectation is there. Conor is a Public relations darling as well between beating cancer and being drafted by the NFL team in the same city he went to college in. He is also amongst the best-selling jerseys in the NFL. https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/look-steelers-backup-rookie-rb-james-conner-has-the-nfls-top-selling-jersey/. So, if Conor performers and stays out of trouble the organization helps to maintain the positive image the Steelers are known for.

Running backs seem to come and go and developing them seems easier than finding a franchise quarterback. That’s why I feel Roethlisberger was kept and receivers were let go, even with off the field issues.

I think that will be the case with Bell. He can play out the final two years of his contract and then move on. That way the Steelers can take advantage of his performance the next two years, but then get rid of him if he continues to be a headache off the field.

Bell wants to hold out and can do so. Antonio Brown is trying to get him not to. Brown is more focused on teaming up with Bell to get to the Super Bowl this season. http://thebiglead.com/2017/07/26/antonio-brown-vs-leveon-bell-is-an-interesting-subplot/.  Should be an interesting idea, but Brown needs to tread lightly before he gets into trouble.

Bell is a big contributor to this team. He needs to be on the field. He just needs to behave off of it.

 

 

 

Best Black and Gold QB

By Steve Samek

Quarterbacks are the main position for any football team. Both on and off the field the quarterback can be the face of the franchise. ESPN has taken to naming the best Qb’s for each team. http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/19649516/the-franchise-qbs-final-all-rankings-all-32-teams.

 I will be looking at my vote for the Pittsburgh Steelers best signal caller.

The fans voted and Ben Roethlisberger was number one over Terry Bradshaw. The NFL Nation vote had Bradshaw as the winner. http://www.espn.com/sportsnation/story/_/id/19684083/the-franchise-qbs-final-rankings-top-signal-callers-pittsburgh-steelers-history.

Roethlisberger is a winner of two super bowls. He has thrown for 46,814 yards and has 301 touchdown passes with 3,804 completions. All of these are top marks in the history of the Steelers.  Add in five Pro Bowl invites and an AP Offensive rookie of the year and you have a true talent. http://www.espn.com/sportsnation/story/_/id/19684083/the-franchise-qbs-final-rankings-top-signal-callers-pittsburgh-steelers-history.

Bradshaw is a three-time Pro Bowl selection. He led the Steelers to the playoffs from 1972 to 1979. During the 1978 season He was named AP Most Valuable player. Only Steeler to ever do so. Bradshaw has thrown 212 touchdowns and competed 2025 passes for 27,989 yards in 13 NFL seasons. http://www.profootballhof.com/players/terry-bradshaw/stats/.

The key stat though, four super bowl wins against Roethlisberger’s two. Championship wins matter a lot in these debates and do here. The 1989 Hall of Famer is the best QB to wear the black and gold. Roethlisberger can be in the conversation, as he has the edge over Bradshaw by stats, but doesn’t have the big wins. Big Ben should join Bradshaw in Canton when his career is done though.

Just Play the Game

By Steve Samek

Recently I picked up the book Just Watch the Game by John Steigerwald as well as its companion Just watch the game (Again). Both tell of the Pittsburgh sports reporters experiences as a reporter and in his youth. Steigerwald primary joy in most of his experiences come from the fact that he was able to be at the stadium and just watch the game without the bells and whistles we enjoy today.

I enjoyed both books being a Pittsburgh Sports fan and an aspiring sports broadcaster and reporter. So, the experiences and stories really hit home for me.

In the first chapter of book one I learned about how Roberto Clemente hit a walk-off grand slam, which I now know is called an ultimate grand slam. Though this was the second one hit that season by the Pirates. Unique story I’d never heard before.  I also enjoyed reading about other Pittsburgh sports icons Chuck Noll, Dave Parker, Terry Bradshaw and a host more. Though I must say that the best story came from Steigerwald’s treatment of Mr. Rodgers. I laughed a good bit during both books where Mr. Rodgers was mentioned. If you’re a fan of Yinzer culture of any variety the book will have you covered.

Another thing I really enjoyed was the opinion sharing. Steigerwald does a good job of stating his opinion and backing it up enthusiasm. He really believes in his thoughts even if they are unpopular. It makes for some funny banter when combined with some of the stories he tells.

The final thing I really enjoyed from the book was the experiences in the broadcast field stories. Being a future broadcaster I learned a lot about what it takes to get to a high level in the field. From taking jobs in the minor leagues, or middle of nowhere markets to get to Pittsburgh. It gave me a perspective as to what to expect to get to where I want to get to. The most important lesson that I learned from the experiences is to just keep improving and getting better even if the money isn’t the biggest. It’s about enjoying the ride and the experiences.

I would recommend reading both of these books. Each one is equally filled with great stories and experiences unique to each one. The other cool thing is you can read the chapters or even the books out of order. Though I recommend reading the books in order so you understand some of the mentions in the second book. Plus, it’s an easy read you won’t want to put down. Pittsburgh sports fans be sure to check out the set. Overall 10/10 and highly recommend.

 

Three Reasons Why Mike Tomlin Should Be Fired

 By Kyle Dawson

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Photo credit: Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Pittsburgh media has started to get on the coaching staff of the Steelers, and rightfully so.

Coming off their bye week, the Steelers laid an egg in a battle for first-place in the AFC North in Baltimore Sunday, Nov. 6.

It’s the third straight loss for the Steelers, who may have been worse against the Baltimore Ravens than the first loss in the string, a road loss in Miami to a Dolphins team that at the time of the game in Week Six was 1-4 with the only win coming against the winless Cleveland Browns.

Scrunched between those two losses was a loss to New England without starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who had surgery for a torn meniscus the Monday following the loss to Miami, before being on bye in Week Eight.

Then this loss happened.

Roethlisberger returned in the loss to Baltimore and was abysmal before the fourth quarter.

The Steelers were favored entering the game against a team under .500 and on the road, a situation in which Mike Tomlin teams have not exceled in during his tenure as head coach.

It’s time for the Mike Tomlin era to end, whether now or at season’s end.

After all, “the standard is the standard,” and the standard for Steeler football is to beat the teams they should beat and compete for championships year in and year out.

Here are three reasons why it’s time to relieve Tomlin of his duties and wish him luck in his future endeavors. Let’s use some of his dubbed “Tomlin-isms” to explain why. Continue reading “Three Reasons Why Mike Tomlin Should Be Fired”

Carson Wentz Looks to Be the NFL’s Next Star

By Ty McEliece

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Photo credit: Yong Kim http://www.philly.com

If you want to have a successful football team in the NFL, then you need a good quarterback. After losing Donovan McNabb (1999-2009) in his prime, the Eagles have struggled to find their next good field general.  Michael Vick (2010-2012) was expected to produce like he did for the Falcons but he didn’t live up to the hype.

Nick Foles (2013-2014) looked promising for a season but then slumped the next. Sam Bradford (2015) played like typical Sam Bradford. Granted both Foles and Bradford of those quarterbacks dealt with college football genius to NFL question mark Chip Kelly, they still didn’t produce like expected. Continue reading “Carson Wentz Looks to Be the NFL’s Next Star”