Friday, May 29, 2009

Exciting Times

This is an exciting time for Pittsburgh. First things first, the Pens are back in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Remember back in February, that week or so after the Steelers had won the Super Bowl and we were still riding that big-time high that only world champions know? If you remember, one week after we hoisted Lombardi, The Red Wings came to town and gave the Penguins a pretty good smacking. A week later, after an embarrassing 6-2 loss against the Maple Leafs, Michel Therrien was fired. Enter Dan Bylsma.

Call him Mike Tomlin 2.0 if you want. Much like Tomlin, Bylsma is all business and came in talking the talk and forced his players to walk the walk. Now the Pens are playing a physical, up-tempo, take-it-to-them style of hockey. Bylsma is a perfect fit to coach a Pittsburgh team, and he has the Pens right on the doorstep of joining the Steelers in holding something silver over their heads at the end of the season.

Additionally, it was announced yesterday that Pittsburgh will be hosting the G-20 summit in September. Regardless of what you think of the G-20, this is a HUGE deal for the Pittsburgh economy and for the perception of the city on an international level.

I've always said Pittsburgh is the capital of the world, now I get to laugh at those people that laughed at me.

For those of you who might not be aware, the G-20 is the gathering of world leaders from the 20 largest countries in the world (that make up about 90% of the world's economic marketplace) to discuss economic issues and stuff. So not only will world leaders (and President Obama) be in town, but there will be a media extravaganza as well.

Now, since we love conspiracy theories around here. Here are our conspiracy theories about why the G-20 summit is being held in Pittsburgh.

1) Barack Obama wanted to meet James Harrison.
Why? Because James Harrison is scarier than discussing global economics. James didn't want to go visit Barack, so Barack is coming here to visit him. The summit is just a cover so that Barack can meet James Harrison.

2) Barack Obama wanted to distract the media from the Steelers/Bears game.

Conspicuously, the summit will be on September 24 and 25. Who do the Steelers play the week before? That's right: Chicago. With the recent popularity of the Steelers around the White House, questions may arise about where Obama's allegiances truly lie.

Well, with the Steelers-Bears game in Chicago the week before, Barack is making a great political move by creating a distraction big enough to keep the media away from the Steelers-Bears game and his torn allegiances. And what could possibly be bigger than bringing the leaders of the 20 biggest nations in the world to Pittsburgh?

3) Barack Obama wanted more pancakes.

For those that may not have heard, while he was campaigning here Mr. Obama swung through one of Pamela's P&G Diners. He was so impressed with the pancakes, he invited them to come cook pancakes for his family and the white house staff over Memorial Day.

This theory is about as thin as the Olsen twins, but we needed something non-football related.

Go Pens!

...and lest we forget during this long offseason.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Blog Free Agency

As you may remember from this post, some of our blogging staff hit the free agent market this offseason. Our fearless negotiating team did some fantastic work and made some offers that could not be refused. So before we begin, hats off to our lead negotiator.

In the biggest news of blog free agency, our key Road Warrior, Aragorn, was able to be retained. We signed him to a 3-year deal and he is really looking forward to the opportunity to close out his career as a Steeler. Even though we usually don't negotiate with players over 90, we feel that his "football age" is a bit younger, since he's got the Blood of Numenor thing going for him. We forsee Aragorn as having the potential to make the Steelers a strong team on the road for many years to come.

Aragorn was undefeated on the road last season.
After signing his contract, he had this to say:
"This day does not belong to one man but to all."
...and then he launched into a song that we couldn't understand.

If Aragorn pushed our limits on age requirements for staff members, Lead Analyst Yoda pushed it to new extremes. However, after a lengthy negotiating process, we were able to sign Yoda, who was a restricted free agent for a salary of hot dogs and biscuits. He had this to say:
"Better than what I eat, this tastes, MMMM!"

Sadly, we did lose two members of our staff to other teams in Free Agency.

Looking to beef up their "badass" reputation, the New York J-E-T-S signed our former defender of the home turf.

With a new quarterback in town, Jack will need to do a lot of home turf defending, particularly with some of the weapons other AFC East teams accumulated during the offseason. We wish Jack the best of luck in New York and hope he enjoys his new home and much larger contract that the Jets are giving him that we were not willing to pay.

The second, and likely bigger loss to our team was the loss of lead medical analyst JD. JD got a gig with the Detroit Lions, based on the argument that Dr. Cox likes the Red Wings so he wanted to be as close to them as possible.

JD had this to say:
"The voice in my head told me to. And this is about as far away from the Janitor as I can get."

Guess who just booked tickets on the Steelers flight to Detroit?

October 11. Mark your calendars. The Janitor will get his revenge.

We are still looking for a secondary member of the medical staff, but until then Jack remains our go-to guy.

Jack could not be reached for comment. He is in an undisclosed location.

Negotiations with Jules about his contract extension are still in the works. He has one year left on his current deal and we're not sure how that's going to go.

We're still looking for a few more people to add to the roster for next season, so if anyone knows of any big name free agents out there, let us know!

Picture of the Year: Round 2 Matchup 6

After a bit of a hiatus for the NFL Draft and finals week, the Picture of the Year tournament is back!

There are 3 polls left to round out the second round of the tournament. Today's poll features the game-breaking Santonio Holmes touchdown from the first game against the Ravens against the Defensive Line after a 4th down stand against the Texans.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Logo Changes: The Best and The Worst

Some of you may have heard this already, some may have not. As many teams wallowed in misery will do, the Detroit Lions changed their logo.

Personally, I like the sleeker design, but from a distance it looks like the Lion is slobbering. Not sure if that's what the Lions were going for or not.

In light of this, here are, in my humble opinion, the best and worst logo changes in NFL history. Since a lot of really old logos sucked, mainly because teams lacked the power of computers to make logos, so the logos were hand-sewn, those have been discarded. Only Super Bowl-era logos were taken into consideration.

The Best
Biggest improvements over prior logos

5. Seattle (2002)

Seattle made a good move here, and it resulted in them having success on the field. In addition to that, the replacement of the run-of-the-mill silver with the metallic blue helmets was a plus.

4. Miami (1996)

Small change by Miami here, making the Dolphin sleeker. While the new Dolphin is a little more cartoony, it also looks less like something from a 5-year old's coloring book.

3. New York Giants (1976)

Not sure what the obsession with stencil-logos is, but this went from a completely awful logo to one that produced two Super Bowl championships.

2. Cincinnati (1981)

Gotta give credit where credit is due here. The Bungles went from having their name on the side of the helmet, like a lot of other teams of that era, to having one of, if not the most unique helmet in football. Good work here. Too bad the current players mistake the stripes for jail bars.

1. Denver (1968)

What were the people in Denver smoking between 1962 and 67? Wait...don't answer that, it was the 60s. But that's still no excuse for a bad logo. In spite of the new logo looking a bit like a unicorn, this was still a vast improvement over their old Gumby-and-Pooky logo.

The Worst
Teams whose new logo was worse than the old.

5. Buffalo (1974)

What is a "Bill" anyways? Buffalo stuck with the "Bison" idea but slapped a big red gash into the side of it. By itself, the blue leaping Bison would have been cool. But the red streak just makes it look, well...lame. Add on to this that the Bills uniforms now look like they have bibs on them, it might be time to send in the big Gunn.

4. New York Jets (1998)

The Jets went back to a logo reminiscent of the ones they wore back when they were relevant. But guess what? They still sucked. At least the old Jets logo incorporated something about the team's nickname into it.

3. Washington (1970)

The Redskins took a logo, helmet, and color scheme very similar to Florida State's and completely turned it on it's head. The R logo came with the ugly yellow helmets, a divergence from the quality burgundy that the team sported before the change. Luckily, the Redskins got it together and brought back the red helmets.

2. Tennessee (1999)

I realize that naming a team the "Tennessee Oilers" didn't make much sense. But then again, neither does "Titans". This one makes the list mainly because it destroyed a classic logo. For those who may not remember, Tennessee played as the Oilers for one season after moving before changing their name to the "Titans." Luckily for everyone, the NFL is celebrating the AFL this year so the Titans will don the old Houston Oilers uniforms and we'll get to see the Oil Derricks once again.

1. Tampa Bay (1997)

This isn't Pirates of the Caribbean, Jack. Bucco Bruce was not only a classic, he also had that look of a swashbuckling buccaneer. The raised eyebrow, wink, and knife in his mouth said "I'm not taking shit from you." Unlike the new logo that is eerily reminiscent of the Oakland Raiders logo with the skull and crossed swords. And the football on the flag? Really? Bring back the Creamsicles.

Larry the Lion

Per the guys at Pride of Detroit and confirmed on the Lions website...

The Detroit Lions have signed Larry Foote to a 1-year deal.

I'm not really sure how he fits into their system. He is a little undersized to play the MLB spot in the 4-3 that the Lions run and he lacks the speed to play at the OLB spot. We'll see how he does. He was a solid contributor while he was here, but he wanted to leave, so we wish him the best of luck.

Speaking of the Lions, props to the guys at Pride of Detroit for still blogging after last season. The Lions also unveiled a new logo recently. More on that coming soon.

It's Lawrence Timmons' show now.