Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bottle Knocker Hockey Classic - New Year's Day

Are you bummed that there won't be an NHL Winter Classic on New Year's Day?

Do you miss hockey?  

Still pissed at the fact these jagoffs Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr can't figure out how to divide millions of dollars?

Bottle Knocker Hockey understands your frustration and has a remedy for your hockey withdrawal!  The 1st annual Bottle Knocker Hockey Classic is set to air live on New Year's Day and will hopefully draw the interest of local Penguin fans as well as national hockey fans everywhere.

The Blue Collars will be coached by Matt Rethage.  The Red Bottles will be under the direction of Dan McManus.  

The game will feature full play-by-play and analysis from Mike Sasson and yours truly, Dominic Errico.  

The game is set to air at 1 PM on WBGN-TV and their sister/affiliated stations.  You can also view it online via this Livestream link.  You can also watch it via the the Bottle Knocker Hockey channel on YouTube.  Game should be available shortly after 1 PM on both Livestream and YouTube.

Give it a look, you won't be disappointed.  What ELSE are you going to watch on New Year's Day?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Ode To A Lost Season

"Ode To A Lost Season"

Mirror mirror on the wall
Which NFL team was the most disappointing of all?
I submit to you a prime contender
A faux favorite, a true pretender.

It’s a bitter pill to swallow
Being softer than a marshmallow
But really who else but yourselves are to blame
For losing to teams so pathetic and lame

The year started with a thud at mile high in Denver
Just like the season ended there last winter
Questions arose whether the defense was old and slow
By year’s end the blame fell upon “The O”

We thought our quarterback was elite
Down the stretch his mistakes got us beat
The Young Money Crew dropped the ball
We had no running game at all.

There’s plenty of blame in a season of despair
I sit here wondering why the leadership wasn’t there
Those who wanted Bruce Arians fired
Must have been shocked at who the Colts hired

Tomlin keeps firing off cliché after cliché
That’s not what’s needed on a team in disarray
Ben hates Haley, Haley hates Ben
Tell me who’s running this show again?

The bottom line is that these guys underachieved
More heart, desire and effort they need
It’s time to look at themselves in the mirror
The end of a Super Bowl window draws near

This offseason for the Steelers is a crucial one
If they can’t solve the riddle they might be done
Which vets will stay and which vets will go?
That’s something only Tomlin and Colbert know

The bottom line is that this team was disjointed
Their fans were left severely disappointed.
They better fix this mess by next year
Or it'll be the same reflection in the mirror

Monday, December 17, 2012

Young Money Crew owes Steeler fans a refund!

We have another Steeler loss and another morbid display of bad football from the “Young Money” crew.

All I hear out of some of the NFL experts is how this Steelers wide receiving corps might be one of the most talented in the entire NFL. They might have a lot of talent, and they might possess a strong skillset, but they also make up for that with an overabundance of stupidity.

Let’s look at Antonio Brown’s day. After the Steelers force a Dallas punt leading 24-17, it appeared the Steelers were somewhat in control, and could start going to work on the clock. Instead, Brown fields the punt, fails to secure the ball and ends up fumbling to give Dallas new life and a ton of momentum. Dallas marched right down the field for the tying score.

Brown also inexplicably played 60 yards off the punt late in the game and failed to properly field the ball, which cost the Steelers a good 20 yards in field position. Let’s not forget on the Steelers final drive when he ran straight out of bounds instead of staying inbounds to force the Cowboys to burn a crucial timeout.

Emmanuel Sanders dropped a big first down conversion on the opening drive. It was about an inch away from being a crucial fumble, but the Steelers got the benefit of the doubt. Sanders was also injured on the play.

Mike Wallace double clutched a key catch on third down, costing the Steelers another crucial first down conversion. You also had to love the effort he showed on the fateful interception in overtime. Real nice of him to stand there and watch Brandon Carr get up and run all the way to the goal line. Maybe a little bit of effort would have helped give the Steelers a slight chance to stop the Cowboys in overtime.

I keep waiting for this “Money” crew to prove they are worth it. I keep being sorely disappointed.

Brown signed a five-year extension for over $42 million dollars in the offseason. How does that investment look right now? He has three 100-yard games in a three-year career. That’s not exactly “money” to me. He has five receiving touchdowns in that same three-year span. Does that sound “money” to you?

If only these guys could pull their heads out of their butts and make some crucial plays for the Steelers, maybe they wouldn’t be sitting at 7-7. Brown had two fumbles, including a crucial lost one in the earlier Raiders loss. You can easily pin most of this loss today on him as well. Wallace had a crucial fumble that led to a Ravens FG in a three-point loss. Sanders fumbled the ball in a 20-14 loss to the Browns and then fumbled a week later in a tight win over the Ravens. These mistakes are a major reason why the Steelers are fighting for a No. 6 seed instead of handily winning the AFC North and competing for a bye right now.

I guess the most frustrating thing is the fact you have guys on this team who know how to make big plays in the clutch, namely Heath Miller. After a sizzling first half of production, the Steelers stopped using him as a weapon. Why? It’s not like the other guys are making plays when given the chance. Why stop using the one guy who has been your most consistent playmaker all season?

Unlike the Young Money Crew, Miller lets his play do all his talking. He doesn’t need a catchy nickname. He doesn’t show off after a first down. He doesn’t sprint backwards the last 20 yards and draw an excessive celebration flag. All he does is catch the ball when it’s thrown to him.

Maybe the “Young Money” crew could learn a thing or two from the “Old Money.”

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Why Players Should be Booed For Poor Performance

Much is being said about the fact the Heinz Field faithful booed Mike Wallace after another dropped pass clanged off his hands early during Sunday’s 34-24 loss to San Diego. Chances were good that Wallace would have taken it to the house on the play, so the drop cost the Steelers some much needed offensive performance.

Why shouldn’t fans boo poor performance? Wallace wants paid like a top receiver yet seems to have one or two awful drops in every game. The fact he ended the day with a strong stat line doesn’t excuse the fact he made a crucial mistake while the game was still competitive. Garbage time stats are never the same as crunch time stats other than on paper.

When did we get so soft as a society that we are being told not to boo professional athletes? Are we afraid of hurting their massive egos? Are we afraid it will cause them mental anguish? Excuse me if I go boo hoo right about now.

The bottom line is that the NFL is an entertainment industry that happens to center around playing a sport. These players, even the ones making league minimum, are compensated handsomely to play a game. If you go to a concert and a singer struggles to hit notes, you can expect them to get booed. Even the great Whitney Houston wasn’t immune to this.

This is the NFL, not little league. These players are all adults. It’s not enough to show up and get your participation trophy anymore at this level. Fans expect players to play hard and produce along the lines of their talent level. Wallace wants elite receiver money, but doesn’t show elite receiver hands. He’s fumbled at crucial times this year. He’s failed to get feet inbounds on key plays, and again, he’s shown poor hands at important junctures of games.

The Steelers got blown out of their own building by a team that’s probably firing their coach at the end of the year. The whole effort deserved to be booed.

I’m tired of all the political correctness creeping into our everyday lives. If you see a player dogging it out there then BOO HIM! If you see a player have a pass hit him in the hands and not catch it then BOO HIM!

Booing is the traditional way a large crowd lets their feelings be heard. There are rules in place saying you can’t throw anything on the field, which only makes sense. There are rules saying no profanity can be used at stadiums, which also makes sense. Again, what harm really comes out of booing someone other than a little hurt pride.

If it were me getting booed, I’d bust my butt to make sure it never happened again. I make sure I prepare enough in advance before a radio appearance so I know what I am talking about. I look up relevant stats and facts before writing columns, again, because that is part of my job.

Wallace’s job is to catch the damn football. He didn’t. End of story.

Boo me in the comments if you want. I can handle it.