The miscellaneous ramblings and thoughts of Dan G. Switzer, II

Barfin' on the Browns…

This is one of the funniest football stories I've heard in a long time. This comes from a great interview with Craig Wolfley—the color analyst for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

BTSC:  You were part of many great games in the Browns-Steelers rivalry.  I make no attempt to hide my disdain for the Cleveland Browns.  What one thing do you remember most about that rivalry?

WOLFLEY:  Tunch Ilkin used to get anxiety attacks where he would throw up alot.  You never knew when they would happen.  Even in training camp, he would throw up at any time.  Anyhow, we're playing the Browns in a preseason game in the early 80s.  Tunch is standing next to me in the huddle and I notice vomit on my foot.  Tunch is gurgling.  We broke for the line and I could hear his stomach.  I'm thinking, this could be great.  On that particular play, I was assigned to help Tunch double-team their defensive tackle, Ron Simmons.  Right at the snap, as if it were choreographed, we both lunge at Simmons and Tunch lets it loose.  I'm not talking about a dribbler, I'm talking about a gusher.  He heaves right in Simmons' face and the guy goes crazy.  We didn't need to block him.  He was PO'd beyond belief, Tunch is sick and I'm laughing hysterically.  The next play he still has chunks on his face and he lines up four yards behind the ball.  Tunch didn't have to block him the rest of the game.   I'm still laughing.


(Tunch Illkin on the left, Craig Wofley on the right)

Thanks to Behind the Steel Curtain for such an entertaining story!

The Sixburgh Steelers and Mike Tomlin's prophecy...

As a Steelers fan, I might be considered a bit biased, but last night's Super Bowl was one of the best I've seen. That's back-to-back years where the Super Bowl has been exciting and it's hard to believe a game could have topped the end of last years, but these game I think did it.

I couldn't sleep at all last night and I'm still feeling little bursts of adrenaline—just an amazing game with huge plays at the end of each half. From James Harrison's INT for a TD at the end of the first half (which was simply amazing and was the difference in the game) to Holmes fantastic catch in the corner of the endzone—what an amazing game.

Anyway, after the Steelers beat the Ravens in the AFCC game, I kept thinking about an article I read about Tomlin shortly after he was hired. The article was about Mike Tomlin and was an interview with his mother. The article was about how Tomlin has always set lofty goals that his mom often that were unrealistic, but time after time her proved his mom wrong and reached his goals. The one quote that always stood out to me was the following quote that he would win the Super Bowl sooner rather than later:

"He already told me he was winning the Super Bowl," said Mrs. Copeland, and what son would fib to his mother? " 'I will be hoisting that trophy, and I won't be patient about doing it, either.'

"Those were his words."

After years of small doubts, she has learned to believe.

"Because everything you've said so far," she told him after he was hired as the Steelers coach in January, "you've done it."

Pretty amazing.

The Terrible Towel at Obama's Inauguration

The Terrible Towel turns up everywhere. It's to the point when I look for it like a "Where's Waldo?" game at every crowd event. Here's a video of the towel at Obama's speech:

Get pumped up with this Steelers highlight video...

This is a very well done highlight video. The creator did a create job of syncing up the video to the music. This is the kind of stuff to watch to get you even more pumped up for the Super Bowl!

ESPN Photo shoot of the Steelers Defense.

Here's a good behind the scenes look at the comradery amongst the players on the Steelers Defense.

The Steelers/Ravens game and the NFL Rulebook

There was a lot of discussion last night on whether or not Santonio Holmes scored a TD against the Ravens last night. However, it appears like there's a real lack of understanding of the NFL rulebook by the media, so I'm going to quote the NFL rulebook:

Rule 11 Scoring

Section 2 Touchdown

Article 1      It is a touchdown (3-38):

(a) when a runner advances from the field of play and the ball touches the opponents’
goal line (plane); or
(b) while inbounds any player catches or recovers a loose ball (3-2-3) on or behind the
opponents’ goal line.

I've bolded the important part. Notice that the rule says as long as "player" is on or behind the opponents goal line, it's a touchdown. There's nothing in the rule book that says the ball must break the plane on a catch. It specifically states this is the case for a "runner", but in the case of a receiver it states "any player catches or recovers a loose ball on or behind the opponents' goal line."

I don't think there's any doubt that Holmes clearly had two feet in the endzone when he caught the pass. However, the only thing being brought up by the media has been that the ball has to break the plane—which doesn't appear to be the case.

I must confess, I was unclear of this rule as well, but most fans learn the rules from listening to broadcasts, which in the past they've always declared the ball must break the plane of the goal line.

I had to look this rule up after hearing the refs ruling after the review. If you listen to his ruling, he specifically doesn't mention anything about the ball breaking the plane—just that the receiver had two feet down with clear possession of the ball while being the endzone.

Anyway, there's much debate about this ruling yesterday and the Ravens fans are up in arms about the call. Hopefully this rule adds some clarity to the situation.

This quote comes from the 2006 NFL Rulebook (page 79), but I can't find any rule changes that indicate this rule has changed over the past two seasons, so I believe this ruling is still accurate.

You can't crack-back block on James Harrison...

I had a great view of this play in person on Sunday and it completely jacked me up. Notice how Harrison turns his head and locates Roy Williams trying to set up a block and then completely blows Williams up. Harrison is playing lights out football—and has been for the past two years. He should be the Defensive Player of the Year this year.

My trip to see the Steelers/Cowboys game...

Over the weekend, Jenn & I took our annual trip to Pittsburgh to see the Steelers play. We meet up with our friends Bob & Tina (from Indiana) once a year to see a game at Heinz Field. This is a trip we look forward to all year.

We drove over to Pittsburgh on Saturday, in the middle of the first winter storm of the season. While the weather wasn't that bad, we drove by dozens of car accidents on I-70. Lots of cars that spun off the road and a few multi-car accidents. We even detoured off I-70 briefly due to traffic being completely halted. We ended up jumping on SR-40 (old National Rd) for a few miles to get around the traffic jam. Fortunately we got to Pittsburgh and back without incident.


Kyle Lograsso a remarkable 5-year old...

If you're a fan of golf or just of heartwarming stories, then this is for you. My mom sent me this story and it is indeed remarkable (and heartwarming.) Kyle began his fascination with golf at age 2, but it wasn't until after developing cancer and losing his left eye did he actually play the sport for the first time.

Kyle Lograsso @ Yahoo! Video

Steelers football starts tonight!

I actually always look forward to preseason football. I mean I'm always worried about the injury bug, but I love seeing all the young rookies trying to make their mark. What diehard football fan can't wait to see their top draft picks in uniform.

Tonight's the first Steelers preseason game, against the Eagles. The game starts at 7:30pm EST. Those not in the Pittsburgh area, but lucky enough to have NFL Network will get to see the game live. Here are some of the guys I'm keeping an eye out for:

  • Rashard Mendenhall, RB - Our #1 draft pick. I'm anxious to see how well he does in short yardage situations—since the Steelers Coaching staff has been really looking for a power inside runner to compliment parker.
  • Gary Russell, RB - Russell is a second year undrafted player. He played his college ball in Minnesota with Lawrence Maroney. I was really impressed with him last year (and in college) and his running style reminds me of Emmit Smith. He tends to always fall forward. Even with Melwede Moore and Rashard Mendenhall on the team, I still won't be surprised if Russell finds his way into the normal rotation.
  • Limas Sweed, WR - Can't wait to see our #2 pick. The Steelers discovered he had an astigmatism a few weeks ago and fitted him with contacts. He claims he's seeing the ball much better now too.
  • Dallas Baker, WR - Baker is another second year player who supposedly had a tremendous spring camp. Baker "The Touchdown Maker" was hidden on the practice squad, but everything I've heard from camp sounds like he'll make the team. If he pans out, the Steelers will have a ridiculously talented WR corp.
  • Kyle Clement, DE - The Steelers need youth and depth on the defensive line. Clement comes from a small school program, but has lots of athleticism. It sounds like he's been spotty in camp, but I'm anxious to see how the guy plays in a real game.
  • Roy Lewis, DB - From everything I've read, this undrafted rookie has really stood out in camp. They have him playing both FS and CB. His coverage skills are supposedly very solid and he can really lay the wood when making a tackle.
  • Dennis Dixon, QB - Can this kid be the future backup QB? He started off pretty poorly in training camp, but it's said he's getting much better every day. The Steelers scouting team hasn't done a very good job evaluating late round QBs lately. There's no doubt Dixon is a heck of an athlete, but will he be able to handle the reigns of QB if he's asked to play. Hopefully I'll get a feel for that tonight.
  • Bruce Davis, OLB - Another rookie, who terrorized opposing QBs the past few years in the PAC-10 as a defensive end. While its said he needs to bulk up a bit (his upper body strength is reported to not be great) he was primarily a speed rusher in College. He put up like 22 1/2 sacks the past two years at UCLA, so I'm hoping we have our future bookend to Lamar Woodley.
  • Lamar Woodley, OLB - Woodley's a second year player, who from all reports, has been the star of camp. Word is he's unblockable and everyone says he reminds them of Shawn Merriman. Kevin Greene, who came in a special advisor to the LB corp, said Woodley might be the best rushing LB to every put on the Black-n-Gold (and that says a ton coming from KG.)
  • Paul Ernster, P - Yeah, I know a punter. Who pays attention to a punter. Well, the Steelers starting Punter (Daniel Sepulveda) was injured on the first few days of camp. Since the Steelers didn't have a second punter, they called this guy up and got him into camp. I saw Ernster punt the couple of games he played in last year and he really stunk. Word from camp is that he shanks a couple, then booms a couple—which is what I remember as well. Consistency and accuracy are two of the key components I look for in a Punter and constantly shanking the ball in practice does not bode well to me.

I'm also going to really be paying special attention to special teams. The Steelers have brought in a number of big name players to try and find a top-notch Punt Returner (Eddie Drummond, Melwede Moore, Jeremy Bloom, etc.) The Steelers Special Teams has been anything but special the past few years, so I'm hoping to see some improvement. Poor special teams cost us a couple of games last year (and almost cost us a couple others.)

So, there's lots to look forward to in a preseason game, but most importantly it means the regular season is getting closer!

Akeem Havens, 14 year old quadriplegic, gets signed as a Steeler

Here's a video segment about Akeem Havens, a 14 year old quadriplegic who got his wish to play video games with Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers FO office signed Akeem to a 1 day contract and he even got to practice with the Steelers team.

Mike Tomlin is an Iron man...

I really hate those Coors Light commercials where they've tried to re-factor NFL Coach's Post Game Conferences into something "funny"—at least I assume they're supposed to be funny. I don't know anyone who actually thinks the commercials are amusing in the least bit.

However, someone has been actually able to create a funny parody of the commercials in the Pittsburgh area. Perhaps it's only going to be funny to those who've lived in Pittsburgh, visit there frequently or are just a fan of the Steelers (I qualify for the last two.) Anyway, I found this parody to be much better put together. They've selected quotes from Coach Mike Tomlin that are much more fitting to the questions being asked. Well I think it's funny anyway!

Steelers 38, Ravens 7 (Nov 5, 2007 / MNF)

In case you missed it, or just want to see it again (like I do) here are some NFL Video highlights from last nights Steelers/Ravens game.

Steelers 38, Ravens 7
Week 9: Ben Roethlisberger highlights
NFLTA: Ravens vs. Steelers analysis
Steelers postgame press conference
NFLTA: Ravens vs. Steelers highlights

This was the game the Steelers needed to put together against the Ravens. The Ravens really physically dominated the Steelers in both games last year and the Steelers returned the favor last night.


Amazing ending to a Div III Football game..

This is a pretty amazing ending to a NCAA Division III. Trinity University uses 15 laterals to defaut Millsaps for first place in their conference.

It's Steelers time!

I'm starting to get real pumped up about the upcoming football season. The Steelers new Head Coach, Mike Tomlin, gets me more excited every time I hear him speak. He just says all the right things. The real measure of a Head Coach is how they handle things on Sundays, but I think Tomlin will prove to be the next great Steelers Head Coach. I can absolutely see why the Rooneys were impressed by his interview.

For a 35 year old HC, he sure seems awful old school. From listening to his football philosophies, you'd think he was a 60 year old HC coaching in the 60s. He certainly fits the mold of a Steelers HC.

Training Camp starts this Monday, so more and more news should start rolling in every day. To get you started, here's a summary from Tomlin's news conference.