Random Thoughts, Plus Cheerleader Preview


by John Cihon

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I had planned to write more and earlier this week, but my car got vandalized and part of my ceiling fell in during the torrential rains on Monday. So, to keep a long story short because this is a football blog, not problems-with-John-Cihon’s-life blog, it’s been a rough week.

The Pittsburgh Steelers upcoming opponent cheerleader of the week is Cincinnati Ben-Gal Lindsey. Lindsey’s hobbies include sleeping, and her most memorable Cincinnati Bengals game is anytime a player is released from jail, I mean anytime the Bengals beat the Steelers. Hopefully she can take a nice nap sometime soon to forget the shellacking the Steelers are likely to put on the Bengals this week.

Before we look too far ahead however, let’s take a look back for a few thoughts on Monday night’s game. Steelers were falling over themselves lining up to say they prefer playing on grass over turf this week. But there’s no way from where I stand to say that game wasn’t a debacle. The horrible field conditions gave the Miami Dolphins, a vastly inferior team, a very legitimate shot at winning that game. Heck, you might think the Dolphins would have had the advantage, playing in a virtual aquarium. The NFL left officials in Pittsburgh to oversee Heinz Field, to make sure that there’s not a repeat of the Joey Porter Mud Bowl. But the rain is coming down pretty hard right now, and I’m not sure that the NFL plans can compete with God’s plans. The bottom line is, the grass was a nice idea, but it isn’t working. A lot of armchair critics have suggested not playing high school and Pitt games at the stadium, but that’s not really an option. The stadium was paid for by tax dollars (despite the taxpayers overwhelmingly voting against doing so) and a deal was made with Pitt, so it would be bad form, at the very least, to kick the other games out. Not to mention, playing in that stadium is literally the thrill of a lifetime for a lot of those high school kids.

I thought that the Monday night game was boring and a bad product on the television screen, so I was very surprised that it was the third-highest rated Monday night game of the season. The rating also peaked later than any other Monday night game this year, which means that people were turning on the television and starting to watch late in the game, rather than getting sleepy and turning the television off as the game went on. I suspect that the sheer novelty of the game was the main viewer attraction.

On the other hand, the Thursday night Green Bay Packers-Dallas Cowboys game was great television product, and the best game this year that most people didn’t get a chance to see. Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette had a great idea for dealing with the situation: simply call your cable company the day of the game and add the NFL network, and then cancel the network as soon as the game is over.

And finally, let me say that I was saddened by Ricky Williams‘ short NFL comeback. As he fell down, I thought to myself that it was ironic that playing on grass would ever cause that guy a problem. But all kidding and cheap shots aside, one of the reasons for Ricky William’s comeback is that the Florida courts refused to reduce his child support obligation when he was no longer playing in the NFL, forcing him to pay support at levels befitting the salary of a first-round draft pick. Williams is only coming back at league minimum salary, but it doesn’t go too far when you consider the high tax burden he would face, coupled with the high non tax-deductible support obligation. Hey Ricky, seriously, better luck next year.

Tags: Cheerleader Cincinnati Ben-Gal Cincinnati Bengals Dallas Cowboys Ed Bouchette Grass Green Bay Packers Heinz Field High School Joey Porter Joey Porter Mud Bowl John Cihon Lindsey Miami Dolphins Mud Bowl Pitt Pittsburgh Post Gazette Pittsburgh Steelers Ricky Williams The NFL The NFL Network