Archive for November, 2009

Going Back to Denver
November 14, 2009

What is it about Pittsburgh Sports, and the allure of Championships? My last blog entry was after the Stanley Cup victory, over 5 months ago! So, I thought a good time to resume blogging would be the site at which I first began. The Mile-High City. We all were encouraged to give it a go during the AFC Championships in 2006, but time seemed less pressing at that time, compared to this most recent trip for Monday Night Football.

Therefore, I am finally getting around to it now– but, technological idiot that I am, I erased all my photos for the last month as I was transferring them from the camera. Sometimes, an obsession to straighten up can be absolute digital devastation. But thanks to John Meyer I have this shot of  Guy Junker, John Meyer, and me, sitting in our director’s chairs, talking Steeler football for an hour and a half in our Black and Gold Primetime Special. The three-person format was fabulous, and working with the two men was a joy! However, we were shivering here, in the rapidly dropping temperatures of the Denver night.

photo

And walking around a Steelers game at Invesco Field is like…well, like walking around almost any stadium in the U.S.,where the Steelers are playing.  Steeler Nation in abundance. In Denver, many of the folks were former Burghers who had left during the downturn of the 1980’s. But a large contingent had never been there. They became fans during those great years in the 70’s.

IMG_0222Now, these people I know. Well, it least the man on the left.  His name is Ric Ettinger, who had been one of our directors way back when I first came to WTAE in 1980. Those are his children, Daniel and Amy . They all live in Denver now, but are rabid Steeler fans. They were in good company. Daniel estimated, after walking the entire way around the stadium, there were at least 20 thousand jersey-wearing, towel-waving Black and Gold Faithful.

And what a game! Denver’s highly ranked ground game proved no match for the Steelers defense– Number 1 against the run  in the league. And three interceptions–all from the safeties. Two for the stellar back-up Ty Carter, and one for Troy.

And amongst the deleted photos–my shots of  Mike and Mike from Friday morning, when they were broadcasting their morning show at Bettis’ Grille. But suffice it to say, the Monday Night Football performance convinced Golic that the Steelers were the best team in the NFL right now. The guys had done their mid-season awards the day before , and Golic had picked Drew Brees as the Offensive MVP. Greenie had picked Brett Favre. So, naturally I asked where Ben was in this conversation, since he has a league-leading 70 percent completion percentage (I think it is still atop the league). They both agreed that the lingering perception of the Steelers as a defensive-oriented, run-dominated team, skews how he is considered in the conversation of greats. But they tagged him as unquestionably “elite.”

IMG_1520(sorry, this is the only photo I have of Ben–playing softball at Hines’ charity game for the Fallen Police officers last June) . I interviewed Ben several days before the MNF game, and you should see him light up when he talks about the no-huddle offense. What he likes is the ability to make decisions, and welcomes the responsibility. As he says, “It is 100 percent me.” In his 6th year, with two Super Bowls, he certainly deserves that responsibility.

And Ben will be one of the many Steelers at the “In The Pocket” event at J. Verno Studios on the Southside, Monday night. It is the third year for Charlie Batch’s fundraiser for his Best of the Batch Foundation. Charlie  is extraordinary in his philanthropy, and has given back so much to the kids of  this region. The focus this year is literacy, and there will be a genuine Dr. Seuss costume on hand, along with the official referees, Jim and Randy of the DVE Morning Show. I will also be there, “trying” to play ping pong, I think. Been woefully bad the past two years.

For more information go to this link: http://batchfoundation.org/inthepocket/index.shtml.

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