As the incessant off-season continues and the boredom increases, I came across this article this morning after church... It's for "pure entertainment purposes only", and I'm passing it on as nothing more than a funny read.... Enjoy!...
Knowing Roman numerals helps in predicting NFL
Sunday, June 22, 2008
By Gene Collier, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Some extraneous Web surfing this week left me unable to escape the fact that Sports Illustrated's estimable Dr. Z has already selected the Minnesota Vikings to win Super Bowl XLIII, which is astounding when you consider that we're still more than seven months upstream, but not so astounding when you realize that Mel Kiper Jr. has probably already identified the top five speed rushers in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Originally, I had to review my Roman numerals just to make sure Dr. Z was talking about this next Super Bowl, not the following Super Bowl or the one after that, because if you can see seven months in the distance, you might as well take a crack as Super Bowls XLIV and XLV.

Frankly, I've got nothing to dissuade me from the notion that the Houston Texans are going to win Super Bowl L, now only eight years off. So let's put it on the record. That 50th Super Bowl? Texans 31, Packers 7.

Where's the risk?

As it happens, Dr. Z did the same thing at about this time last year, picking the New Orleans Saints to win it all, but the Saints tweaked his credibility by failing to win until October and winding up 7-9, which everyone would have forgotten had Z not pointed it out while picking the Vikings.

See, in this media age then, I'm pretty much screwed, because unlike Z and Mel and the thousands of experts in their horde, my foresight is limited. This being Sunday, for example, I really have no idea what will happen Monday, except that it makes me vaguely uncomfortable.

But this is the era of interminable preview, in which the length of the pregame shows now dwarf the length of the events being previewed. The Steelers don't play for anything that counts for another 11 weeks, but what the heck, welcome to the pregame show.

Countdown to kickoff? One thousand eight hundred fifty-one hours, three minutes, seven seconds, give or take. We're talking 1 p.m. (high noon Texas time) at Heinz Field, those same Super Bowl L-bound Houston Texans against your Pittsburgh Pennsylvanians, and let's start by fretting over the reappearance on the North Side lawn of one Steve Slaton, third-round draft pick and erstwhile West Virginia Mountaineer.

Last seen within the city limits, the Texans' rookie running back piled up 130 yards and two touchdowns.

And those were just his receiving yards.

In the first half.

For the night, in that 45-27 runoff of Pitt, Slaton totaled 345 yards and had a 59-yard run called back. So he likes it here. Will that be a factor? From 11 weeks out, it's looking like an established maybe.

More tangibly, perhaps, what is Steelers left tackle Marvel Smith, coming off back surgery, going to do about Mario Williams and his 291 pounds of 41-inch vertical leaping ability? Good thing this isn't basketball. Williams, for whom the Texans withstood an ocean of scorn for drafting him instead of Reggie Bush or Vince Young, had 14 sacks last year, six more than any Steeler.

Will his first sack of 2008 come against Ben Roethlisberger? From 11 weeks out, clearly maybe. Either that or his first three.

To complement Williams on the left side, the Texans this month signed former New England Patriots rusher Rosevelt Colvin, who pronounced that move "icing on the cake."

Of course, the cake was 8-8 last year, 2-6 on the road, and for all its defensive talent including Williams, Pro Bowl middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans and cornerback Fred Bennett, Houston still allowed more points than it scored.

While Colvin's analysis sounded a little curious, nothing anyone in the Texans' organization said in the offseason has rivaled this observation from rookie corner Antwaun Molden:

"Houston is a slow city; it's not like Cleveland."

No, but really, what is?

The "big key" (you know, like when they give you the key to the city?) for Houston in its opener at Pittsburgh still has to be whether offensive linemen Chester Pitts and Ephraim Salaam can come back to earth after an offseason accepting bouquets for their critically acclaimed Super Bowl commercial. It's the one where Salaam explains that as a student at San Diego State, he'd often see, on his trips to the store, this big guy bagging groceries. Salaam told the bagger he should be playing football, but the bagger, Mr. Pitts, had attended the California Academy of Math and Science, which had no football team. He played the oboe.

Pitts got talked into walking on at San Diego State and was eventually drafted in the second round.

"I was drafted in the seventh round!" Salaam says incredulously, sitting next to Pitts. "He's livin' the dream. He didn't even have a dream until I told him what it was! Now I've got to give him another one. Super Bowl."

Wait now. I've already done that. Super Bowl L, Feb. 4, 2016.

As for that opener a mere 11 weeks away, I like the Steelers, 50-0.