Just happy to be there
By Mike Batista
February 21, 2009
Steelahs.com will not be this year's George Mason.
would have been a major upset if I had beaten PensBurgh, a Penguins site, in the first round of the inaugural Best Pittsburgh
Sports Blogs Tournament.
The real thrill, of course, was just being in the tournament. We all went crazy in the Steelahs.com gym when our
name was called on Selection Thursday. We were the No. 7 seed in the
Rich Erenberg Division, going up against No. 2-seeded PensBurgh. Maybe my prediction that Santonio Holmes would be Super Bowl MVP was the big win I needed to convince the selection committee that I belonged in the
Actually, I think the selection committee consisted
of one guy, Sean at Sean's Ramblings. And maybe there wasn't really a selection show. Sean sent me an e-mail Thursday telling me I was in the tournament. I voted for myself and saw that PensBurgh had 63 percent
of the votes compared to my 37 percent. That's pretty much how
it stayed throughout the day and a half of voting. If this matchup
was on TV they would have switched to another blog matchup before halftime. The final score was 62.6-37.4 (Unless Sean forgot to turn off the voting. Give it a try, it's worth a shot). Thank you to everyone who made up the 37.4 percent.
It was a tough matchup for me. PensBurgh plays in the powerful SportsBlog Nation
conference. Steelahs.com is a member of the obscure Register.com league.
PensBurgh has an intimidating logo of a giant penguin towering over the Pittsburgh skyline. I took a picture of a mini Heinz
Field replica, which I bought when I went there in 2002, and made the Steelahs.com logo out of that.
Had I won, I probably would have gone up against Blog 'N' Gold, a No. 3 seed that could easily be a top seed.
Blog 'N' Gold has helped me get a lot of my traffic by linking to me on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Web site. Trying
to beat Blog 'N' Gold would have been like biting the hand that feeds me.
Despite being blown out in the first round, it was an honor not only being in the tournament, but to compete in the
Rich Erenberg Division. Erenberg was a running back for the Steelers from 1984-1986. He scored a touchdown in the 1984 AFC
championship game at Miami, which the Steelers lost 45-28. I was 13 and just starting to understand blocking, and I noticed
Erenberg throwing a really good one in that game. He's one of the guys who personified how the Steelers weren't that
good in the 1980s but tried real hard.
The exposure from this
tournament should help my recruiting. I just hope that I don't have to go to everyone's house for an official visit
to get them to go to my site.
Vote for me!
By Mike Batista
February 19, 2009
Before we get to March Madness, we have February Madness.
was chosen as one of 32 sites to compete in the first-ever Pittsburgh Sports Blog Tournament on Sean's Ramblings. And I need your vote!
Click on the link in the previous paragraph or the one below to go to the tournament
bracket and cast your vote. I'm the No. 7 seed in the Rich Erenberg Division. I'm up against PensBurgh, a Penguins
site. Right now I'm behind in the polls, and it's not like I can catch up in a debate, because my opponent would be
talking about Penguins stuff, and I'd be talking about Steelers stuff. We wouldn't be able to tackle the really serious
So here's your chance to prove that you really like
this site, or if you told me you like it just to be nice!
you, and God Bless this great Steelers Nation of ours!
Feeling a draft
By Mike Batista
February 17, 2009
It turns out Ben Roethlisberger didn't need a tall receiver as much as he thought he did.
Before I take a long overdue look at the 2009 NFL draft, let's flash back to
last season at this time, when Roethlisberger said he'd like to have a tall receiver to throw to. In the second round, they drafted 6-foot-4 Limas Sweed, the missing piece in their championship
OK, maybe not.
Sweed caught six passes in the regular season and two in the AFC championship game. But in the Super Bowl, eight
different guys caught passes, and Sweed wasn't one of them.
On the game-winning drive, Roethlisberger's main target was 5-foot-11 Santonio
Holmes. He's tall, right? Hey, I'd love to be 5-11. As if winning another
Super Bowl weren't enough to make me happy, the Steelers just signed a fellow 5-foot-7 guy, running back Stefan Logan.
Now there's somebody I can see eye-to-eye with.
But the main point here is that Roethlisberger had enough pull last year to ask
for a tall receiver and get one.
Imagine how much pull he has
With the 32nd pick ...
I said during the season that the Steelers should not pick anyone weighing less
than 300 pounds on the first day of the draft. While the Steelers' offensive
line was almost adequate by the end of the season, Roethlisberger won't live to play the remaining seven years of his
contract if he's being sacked 49 times a season. Add to that the fact that Max Starks, Chris Kemoeatu, Trai Essex and
Marvel Smith all can become unrestricted free agents, and Willie Colon can become a restricted free agent. The Steelers need
more bodies on the O-Line. That should be their No. 1 priority.
though the Steelers boasted the No. 1 defense in the NFL, their defensive line isn't getting any younger. An injection
of youth is needed there. That's their No. 2 area of need.
No. 3 need is a big, short-yardage back. The Steelers converted just 25 percent (3 for 12) of their fourth downs last season,
dead last in the NFL. This need might have to be addressed on Day 2, because the only big back likely to go in the first two
rounds, Iowa's Shonn Greene, would be a reach in the first round and likely gone by the time the Steelers pick at No.
64 in the second round.
Right now, I have cornerback as the
No. 4 need. If they don't resign Bryant McFadden, it might become more of a need, maybe enough to break my 300-pound rule on Day 1.
Their No. 5 need, according
to me, is wide receiver. It's too early to give up on Sweed, but it wouldn't hurt to put a little heat on him. Plus,
they might lose Nate Washington, And Hines Ward won't be around forever.
The Steelers have the No. 32 pick in the first round. Here's a list of players who are likely to be available
late in the first round and in the second round in their areas of need. Players with an asterisk next to their names are juniors.
Players with two asterisks are sophomores. OK, some of them weigh less than three bills. They're still big dudes.
1. OFFENSIVE LINE:
Alex Mack, C-G, 6-4, 312, California
Eben Britton*, T, 6-6, 310, Arizona
Max Unger, C, 6-5, 299, Oregon
William Beatty, T, 6-6, 291, Connecticut
Duke Robinson, G, 6-5, 335, Oklahoma
Eric Wood, G-C, 6-4, 304, Louisville
Jermon Meredith, OT, 6-5, 289, South Carolina
Herman Johnson, G, 6-8, 382,
Phil Loadholt, T, 6-8, 343, Oklahoma
Fenuki Tupou, T, 6-5, 328, Oregon
Andy Levitre, G, 6-2, 308, Oregon
Jonathan Luigs, C, 6-4, 314, Arkansas
Kraig Urbik, G, 6-5, 323, Wisconsin
2. DEFENSIVE LINE:
Peria Jerry, T, 6-2, 290, Mississippi
Tyson Jackson, E, 6-4, 295,
Robert Ayers, E, 6-3, 273, Tennessee
Michael Johnson, E, 6-7, 258, Georgia Tech
Evander Hood, T, 6-3, 298,
Sen' Derrick Marks*, T, 6-2, 300, Auburn
Paul Kruger**, E, 6-5, 265, Utah
Connor Barwin, E, 6-4,
Ron Brace, T, 6-3, 329, Boston College
Jarron Gilbert, E, 6-5, 287, San Jose State
T, 6-4, 298, USC
3. SHORT-YARDAGE BACK:
Shonn Greene*, 5-11, 235, Iowa
D.J. Moore*, 5-10, 184, Vanderbilt
Vontae Davis*, 6-0, 204, Illinois
Alphonso Smith, 5-9, 193, Wake Forest
Sean Smith*; 6-3, 210, Utah
Darius Butler, 5-10, 178, Connecticut
Coye Francies, 6-0, 179, San Jose State
Mike Mickens, 6-0, 185, Cincinnati
Jarius Byrd*, 6-0, 205, Oregon
5. WIDE RECEIVER:
Percy Harvin*, 5-11, 185, Florida
Heyward-Bey*, 6-2 206, Maryland
Hakeem Nicks*, 6-1, 210, North Carolina
Kenny Britt*, 6-4, 215, Rutgers
Williams, 5-11, 197, Penn State
Brian Robiskie, 6-3, 207, Ohio State
Juaquin Iglesias, 6-1, 204, Oklahoma
Massaquoi, NA, Georgia
Patrick Turner, 6-5, 225, USC
to Holmes' TD
On my live Super Bowl XLIII blog,
I chronicled my reaction to Santonio Holmes' game-winning touchdown, and asked you how you reacted. So far I've heard
from two people. Here they are.
Tony from Baltimore:
"I was pounding on the extended footrest of my recliner, and screaming at the top of my lungs. The people in the
apartment above me probably thought I was killing a wolf."
from Richmond, Va.: "I was pacing around the room, too, for most of the 4th quarter. I had to walk outside for
about 30 seconds after the Steelers' last 3-and-out, so I missed the 2nd Fitzgerald TD. I can't imagine live blogging
it like you did, I was too nervous. When he caught it, I was cautiously excited. I said 'Great catch, but it's not
over yet, what if Fitzgerald makes another catch and outruns everyone again!' When the game ended, I was more relieved
Did you see who was on Ellen DeGeneres last week? Super Bowl loser Kurt Warner,
that's who. Roethlisberger gets to talk about the game-winning drive on Letterman. Warner has to dance with Ellen DeGenerate.
That should be motivation for all future Super Bowl teams not to lose. You've just won the Super Bowl. What are you going
to do now? "I don't have to go on that stupid chick show!"
Roethlisberger needs to
win one more Super Bowl to match Tom Brady. But he's already surpassed another Brady: Greg. Roethlisberger said he played
in the Super Bowl with two fractured ribs. When Greg Brady fractured a rib playing football, he never stepped on the field
again. But Big Ben's tougher than that. And his ribs were really fractured. He swears.
C'mon! Like being one of 10 quarterbacks to win two Super Bowls isn't enough. Besides, the Steelers say they
know nothing about the injury. As Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said the week before the Super Bowl, "Ben's health is
often the subject of inaccurate reports." I can't help but laugh, it's so true.
After unnecessary roughness
was called on Jeff Reed for his hit on an empty bathroom towel dispenser, do you think fans on the road will be waving paper
towels every time he attempts a field goal or extra point?