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Idle Thoughts- A Grab Bag Of New Year's Sports Notes

I'm not one to share my opinion, but since you asked...

  • The Steelers have drawn a ticket to Denver for the AFC Wildcard Round.  The magic of Tim Tebow looks to have run out and given the Steelers past success in the Mile-High city during playoff time, things are looking good for a Divisional playoff rematch with either New England or Baltimore.
  • Sidney Crosby will not return to action before or during any playoff run the Penguins face.  If for some reason he does, don't expect it to last long.  We've seen the last of the great Sid the Kid, as I cannot see him returning to his former past given the nature of this freaky injury he has suffered.  Face the reality Pens fans, Crosby's career will never be the same and any chance of him playing like he did are slim to none.
  • Good riddance to Todd Graham, who apparently didn't enjoy his 11 months in Pittsburgh.  Maybe it was his quarterback.   Perhaps it was sharing facilities with the Steelers.  It could have been the lousy weather.  Or maybe it was just that he has happy feet and can't settle down in one place.  For whatever reason, there are many that are glad he put the hammer down and left town with speed, speed, speed, most notably Tino Sunseri who suffered the most under his reign as head football coach at Pitt.
  • The Pirates begin 2012 with question marks again at 3rd, short, 1st base, catcher, right field and their bullpen.  Can you say 20th losing season in a row?
  • It's still very early in the season, but this could be the year that Pitt Basketball does not make it to the big dance in mid-March.
  • Tiger Woods will not win a major golf tournament in 2012.
  • Tim Tebow will complete less than 10 passes on Sunday vs. the Steelers Defense that has now given up just three touchdowns in the past six games.  For all the injuries they have suffered, Dick LeBeau's squad is coming together at the right time, forcing turnovers and sacking the quarterback.
  • Losing Rashard Mendenhall on Sunday to what could be a torn ACL is the type of injury you hope to avoid during the last game of your regular season as you head into a playoff run.  If Isaac Redman has been waiting to shine, now's his chance.  Fumbling twice in the 2nd half of the Browns game is not a good start.
  • I'm tired of all the Yinzers out there who think Mike Tomlin is crazy for playing Ben with his high ankle sprain.  If he feels good enough to play, you start him.  Ben is your best option at quarterback 99.9% of the time, period.
  • Penn State's coaching search is becoming more of a circus each day.  So much for keeping a tight lid on the process.  The need to hire the 'right' candidate is true in any coaching search.  Given what happened at Happy Valley in November, I can understand the cautious nature the higher-ups at PSU are taking, but please, this isn't a job search for the Manhattan Project.  Pick somebody and get on with the business of fixing what was once a proud program.
  • Speaking of making the right hire, let's hope Steve Pederson got this one right by nabbing Wisconsin OC Paul Chryst as the next man to take Pitt back to its football glory.  Chryst seems like a man who will stay to finish a job he starts.  Getting Pitt to a BCS bowl will be a tough task, but two more seasons of Big East football may be what he needs to prepare them for ACC play starting in 2014.
  • I'm glad we got the 'is Hines Ward going to make 1,000 catches' talk out-of-the-way.  Now the only question is if the Steelers bring him back for 2012.  If he does come back, it will be for far less than what he is scheduled to be paid, somewhere in the $4 million dollar range.  Ward looks to be nothing more than a 4th or 5th receiver option at this point and won't merit that kind of money.  He knows it and the Steelers know it.   I'm leaning on this being his final year, as Ward is destined to make millions in TV.
  • I feel for Sidney Crosby.  He felt 100% to play back in November.  His doctors that were treating him felt certain he was ready to go.  Yet just eight games into his comeback, he's no better now that he was back in June or July. We truly have no idea what concussions do the human body or mind.  It's this reason I think Crosby's career will be one that we talk about as what could have been as opposed to what it ended up.  A short, successful one that ended due to a freak head injury.

John Phillips is the author of this article and a secret member of the Galactic Empire.  When he's not chasing down Jedi across Wholey's Fish Market, he can be heard hosting talk-show's and anchoring sports updates on 93.7 The Fan.  Follow JP on Twitter at www.twitter/937Phillips


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