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costanza2k1
01-26-2009, 05:55 PM
I'll be posting all of his updates and any interesting comments from his blog here all week.


Monday, January 26, 2009
Monday afternoon
We just finished up with the Steelers' portion of Monday's media schedule, as head coach Mike Tomlin, linebacker James Harrison, safety Troy Polamalu, wide receiver Hines Ward, tight end Heath Miller, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and defensive end Brett Keisel were made available to the media.

I had a nice moment with Tomlin and a couple of other reporters before he went up and answered questions from the masses as he arrived a little early.

Tomlin made a joke about making us work an extra week, to which I replied that at least he wasn't still working next week. My line of thinking was that if he were working next week, it would mean he would be coaching in the Pro Bowl - the job that falls on the losing coach in the conference championship game.

But he went another way with it, saying he wouldn't mind taking the Steelers and playing against the NFC in the Pro Bowl.

Tomlin really seemed to be enjoying the moment in the sun.

I asked Keisel if the rumors about defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau's retirement after the Super Bowl had been addressed.

He said they had and that they weren't true.

I'll have more in Tuesday's edition of the Observer-Reporter.
Posted by Dale Lolley at 4:35 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Greetings from Tampa
We touched down in Tampa at 11:55 a.m. after a quick and painless flight.

The players are having a lot of fun with this. A number of them are carrying camcorders to record the memories of this week.

Some even ventured back into our part of the plane to record us. I guess since we record them all the time, fair's fair.

After the plane touched down, a pillow fight was started in the front of the plane, with the little airplane pillows flying freely.

The team is very loose.
Posted by Dale Lolley at 1:10 PM

costanza2k1
01-27-2009, 04:21 PM
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Media day madness
Media day has just ended. It should actually be called media/I'm just a guy who wants to be on TV or get my picture taken day.

The lunatics were out in full force as usual today.

Just a quick rundown of what I saw:

A guy interviewing players in a wedding dress. (As Casey Hampton said, "that's f-ed up.")

An idiot in a coonskin hat.

Several female reporters - apparently all from Spanish-speaking stations who were either scantily clad or wearing clothing so tight they apparently had it painted on.

A ponytailed dude from the islands who got off getting the players to say aloha to him.

The craziness seemed a little toned down this year as opposed to others - or maybe I'm just getting used to it. I hope not.

I did get a chance to get a lot of interviews done with some people I normally don't get to speak to on the record.

Director of football operations Kevin Colbert is one of those people. Colbert doesn't speak to the media during the season because he doesn't want to be a distraction.

But he's kind of forced to talk today, so we had a nice long chat about the team's future and its current roster.

I'll have a story on it later this week.

Today was when I saw a big difference in the two teams.

The Cardinals went first with their media day and they seemed a little tight. They didn't have a lot of fun with all of the silliness that goes on.

The Steelers were very loose. Even James Harrison was having some fun with it, sitting down at Mike Tomlin's table for a while before Tomlin came in.
Posted by Dale Lolley at 1:58 PM

costanza2k1
01-27-2009, 07:20 PM
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Sitting down with Rod
I sat down with length today with former Steelers cornerback and current Hall of Fame finalist Rod Woodson.

Woodson, now an analyst for the NFL Network, was very concerned about the Steelers' matchup with the Cardinals because of what Arizona can do offensively spreading a defense out.

I'll have more on that in Thursday's Observer-Reporter.
Posted by Dale Lolley at 5:31 PM

SanAntonioSteelerFan
01-27-2009, 07:41 PM
Great stuff!!! Gahhh, I can't wait!!!

costanza2k1
01-28-2009, 01:58 PM
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Wednesday morning
I went to the Tampa media party last night - probably the only party I'll get to this week. But it was worth it.

The food - from many of Tampa's best joints - and liquor were plentiful and the price was just right.

The event was held at the Cuban Club in Ybor City. When I found that was where it was going to be, I looked the place up on line to learn a little more about it.

It was an interesting place, much like a party being held at the Duquesne Club in Pittsburgh.

Many of the buildings down here aren't that old - the city itself was barely a blip on the map 100 years ago. But cigar makers moved their production centers here around that time, turning this area into a giant smokehouse.

As such, there were gentlemen at the party last night rolling cigars on the spot. I'm not a cigar smoker, but some of the guys I was with are and they took advantage of the opportunity getting several different varieties.

Like everything else at the party, they were free as well.

The main entertainment was .38 Special, a band that I guess at this point would be considered classic rock. God, I must be getting old because I remembered every song they played from my high school days. But they were pretty good.

After that night, it's back to the grind today. There are more interviews to be done and plenty of stories to be written. Just thought I'd update you all on some of the non-football stuff going on here.
Posted by Dale Lolley at 11:39 AM

costanza2k1
01-28-2009, 09:12 PM
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Ward looking good
Hines Ward will wear a brace on his right knee Sunday, but it's looking highly likely that he'll play, not that it's a huge surprise.

It would be more surprising if Ward, a warrior, didn't play in a game of this magnitude.

I just finished a huge feature story on Mike Tomlin for Sunday's paper.

Sometimes you just have too much information to delve through. Every word Tomlin has spoken publicly in the past two weeks is transcribed and put up on the net. It's also e-mailed directly to me along with all of the other quotes from this week.

You don't realize how much stuff that is until you open you e-mail and see 500 different collections of quotes. And that's pretty much just from the last two days.

As the week wears on, there are more and more former players milling around.

I just stopped over at radio row - it's actually a big room - and Darrelle Revis and Franco Harris were being shuffled about to various radio shows.

I'll be on 970-AM tonight from 7 to 9 p.m. from Tank's Tap Room here in Tampa. But we won't have any big names, just me, Jim Wexell and Tim Benz.

I guess the listeners will have to live with that.
Posted by Dale Lolley at 3:58 PM

costanza2k1
01-29-2009, 01:35 PM
Interesting on the wildcat...


Thursday, January 29, 2009
Thursday morning
I can't believe the week is only halfway complete. It already seems like we've been here forever.

The players are getting a little tired of the bombardment of questions as well. They probably wouldn't mind so much if many of the questions weren't so repetetive.

I can only imagine how annoying that gets. I know it annoys the hell out of me when I'm standing there and hear the same question three times from three different people - and it's something I covered in a story in, say, November.

Did radio from Tank's Tap Room here in Tampa last night.

Tank's is a big Steelers bar here in Tampa. It's owned by a Johnstown guy (actually Southmont, I checked since I went to Pitt-Johnstown) and has about 60 different beers on tap.

I got a sandwich there, I believe it was called the Tankenator or something like that. It was roast beef, cheese, hot peppers, green peppers, onions and mushrooms.

I ordered the small - it comes in three sizes - and it was a monster. I can only imagine what the $20-plus sandwich looks like.

A few weeks ago, I alluded to an interesting game plan the Steelers were working on for the Ravens.

During the season, we're not allowed to talk specifically about what we see in practice under agreement with the Steelers. We don't talk about what we see other than basic stuff and they keep their practices completely open - something few teams now do.

But since we're shut out of practice now, I can tell you they've been working a wildcat package with Mewelde Moore in the backfield. No more secrets.
Posted by Dale Lolley at 9:12 AM

Steeler Shades
01-29-2009, 01:46 PM
"they've been working a wildcat package with Mewelde Moore in the backfield".
Please don't tease me. Airens putting in a wildcat package with Moore? I can't wait to see this...... particularly if Cohen can avoid false starting long enough for the play to be run. 8)

costanza2k1
01-29-2009, 05:02 PM
Thursday, January 29, 2009
The mouth that roared
Thursday, one of the Steelers took some shots at the Arizona Cardinals. And it wasn't somebody anyone would have expected.

It wasn't Anthony Smith guaranteeing a win over New England, but it was surprising none the less.

I was talking to center Justin Hartwig about the offensive line and if getting to the Super Bowl is some vidication for that group when he started questioning the Cardinals a bit.

I'm sure Hartwig didn't really think he was being all that disrespectful as he was doing it, but questioning the team's schedule and talking about how they got pounded by New England when the Steelers beat New England sure won't go over well in Arizona's locker room.

You can read all of Hartwig's comments in Friday's Observer-Reporter.

These guys are obviously getting tired of the constant questions coming from the gathered media.

In fact, it's gotten to the point now where when they see a familiar face from Pittsburgh, you get a reaction like you're an old friend they haven't seen in years.

The two-week lag between the championship games and the Super Bowl is too long, but I really don't see any way around it.

The logistics of having a Super Bowl in different host cities just makes holding the game the week after the championship games unworkable.

Head coach Mike Tomlin was named the Motorola coach of the year today. That one's voted on by the fans, so Steelers fans can give themselves a pat on the back for getting Tomlin that award.

Tomlin put the word "Wetsu" on the black board in the team's locker room Thursday. It's short for We Eat That **** Up.

Apparently, it's something his high school coach came up with to talk about big plays.
Posted by Dale Lolley at 3:06 PM

stlrz d
01-29-2009, 05:08 PM
WETSU!!!

:tt2

RuthlessBurgher
01-29-2009, 05:15 PM
WETSU!!!

:tt2

We eat that bad word up? Hopefully, that is not same "bad word" that appears when we try to type Coach LeBeau's name. After all, Brady Quinn is not on this team. :wink:

steeler_fan_in_t.o.
01-29-2009, 05:26 PM
particularly if Cohen can avoid false starting long enough for the play to be run. 8)

When did we get a jewish RT? :lol:

Steeler Shades
01-29-2009, 09:05 PM
[quote="Steeler Shades":v222sv69]particularly if Cohen can avoid false starting long enough for the play to be run. 8)When did we get a jewish RT? :lol:[/quote:v222sv69]
:lol: :lol:
Colon isn't Jewish, he just changed his name so no one would recognize him.
Sorry for the typo. 8)

mshifko
01-29-2009, 09:11 PM
in high school, we actually had to say WETSU when our team got a pick on defense, so the LB's/DL's would know to block downfield...pretty cool to see it pop up again in my life

costanza2k1
01-30-2009, 09:48 PM
Friday, January 30, 2009
Time for a pick
I guess since all the other media types are making their predictions, the time has come for mine.

I'm 8-2 in these playoffs against the spread and would hate to blow that by missing the Super Bowl pick.

That said, this is a tough game to figure because the Cardinals have been a tough team to figure. I did, however, pick them to beat Atlanta in the first round and Philadelphia in the NFC Championship game. I totally blew the Carolina game, however, as did most of the rest of the country.

I'm 2-0 with the Steelers this postseason, picking them to win and cover against both San Diego and Baltimore.

But I was put on the spot the other night on the radio and asked for my pick in this game and I'm going to stick with my first inclination, that the Steelers win and cover, 27-17.

I haven't seen an offense all season that's been able to figure out this defense and if the Steelers don't turn it over, the Cards will have a tough time breaking 20 points.

The Steelers, on the other hand, should be able to have some success against Arizona's defense.
Posted by Dale Lolley at 5:22 PM 3 comments Links to this post
Local ties
While walking into the Observer-Reporter's media booth at the media center today we're tucked in here between the New York Post and Dallas Morning News I noticed a policeman following me back.

I didn't think I had done anything wrong recently, but you never know.

Turns out, Detective Philip C. Eonda is a 1978 graduate of Trinity High School and grew up in North Franklin Township.

Det. Eonda is one of the many members of law enforcement on patrol here at the media center Tampa's Convention Center. He has been here in Tampa for a number of years, but wanted to stop back and say hello to somebody from his hometown.

I've given his information to Mike Jones, one of our news writers who's arriving here in Tampa today, so I'm sure Det. Eonda will appear in some way, shape or form in the Observer-Reporter over the weekend.
Posted by Dale Lolley at 1:19 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Friday morning
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt held their final press conferences of the week Friday morning, much, I'm sure, to both men's pleasure.

I can't speak for Whisenhunt, but I know that Tomlin has spoken to the media every day except last Sunday - since beating the Baltimore in the AFC Championship.

They've got to be talked out.

Speaking of talking, I'll be on Fox 970-AM tonight live from Tank's Tap Room here in Tampa from 8:30 to 10 p.m. with Tim Benz. Our segment will follow one by Gerry Dulac and Joe Bendel.

Tank's is a Steelers bar here that's owned by a guy from Johnstown. It should be hopping tonight.

I finally saw my first fans in Arizona Cardinals jerseys last night. I haven't seen a ton of Steelers fans here yet, but it had been 100-to-one before last night.

People are saying economics are playing a factor in the lack of fans here. I think it had more to do with the weather in Pittsburgh this week. People just couldn't get out of town.

That said, there are still plenty of tickets available for this game and they should start going at discount rates soon.

We had our first major rainfall here in Tampa last night. The monsoon-like rain lasted a couple of hours.

It wouldn't be a Steelers game this season without some poor weather.

It's in the 50s here today and threatening rain again.
Posted by Dale Lolley at 11:40 AM

mshifko
01-30-2009, 09:56 PM
100 steelers fan to 1 cardinals fan is the ratio he's seen down there? that's unbelievably awesome

costanza2k1
01-30-2009, 10:21 PM
[quote="mshifko"]100 steelers fan to 1 cardinals fan is the ratio he's seen down there? that's unbelievably awesome[/quote

so if the stadium seats 85,000 they'll have 850 fans there... HAHAHAHA!

steeler_fan_in_t.o.
01-31-2009, 12:25 AM
100 steelers fan to 1 cardinals fan is the ratio he's seen down there? that's unbelievably awesome[/quote

so if the stadium seats 85,000 they'll have 850 fans there... HAHAHAHA!

I think that might be high. :lol:

Mister Pittsburgh
01-31-2009, 01:17 AM
I saw on Sportsbeat where Paul Alexander confirmed with Pittsburgh International that they have flown 40,000 people from Pittsburgh to Tampa. You figure that is just the Steelers fans living in Pittsburgh. And that was just yesterday. I myself know some people that flew down today.