Wednesday, October 31, 2012

GTOG Podcast: The Election, Halloween, Big Ben, the NHL Lockout, and more

With Hurricane Sandy behind us, we assess the election; government postponement of Halloween; Steelers-Giants; Ben's command of Eli, Phil and Matt; the NHL Lockout; and much more. It's the GTOG Podcast.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

GTOPG: This one's for the kid with hypothermia sitting next to me at the game; Steelers Win, 27-12

By Artistry

Do you know why the NFL is the most popular sports league in America?  It's not because it's not baseball, though that helps.  It's not because it's not the NHL, which is more dysfunctional than the Lohan family.  It's not because when we write about the NBA, we're totally joking.  Here's why the NFL is the most popular league in America: you can stay home and watch it on TV and you're not missing anything.  In fact, it's better!  You can see more stuff, you feel comfortable having your kids with you, you don't have to pee in a trough while touching elbows with men wearing helmets and war paint, you're probably the only angry drunk person in the room.  I could keep going.  And if you, like me, went to Heinz Field for the game against the Redskins on Sunday, I'm betting you found yourself thinking some of the same thoughts when you finally got to your cold, wet seat like 10 minutes into the first quarter. Don't even get me started about how these days it takes an hour just to get into the stadium because a bunch of teenagers with electric wands are taking their sweet time scanning your innocent, poncho-wearing ass.  DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED.  I sat down, looked to my left, and saw a young kid wrapped in a raincoat in what looked to be a catatonic state.  He wasn't having any fun.  He wasn't even moving.  Conditions were not perfect.

I think I peed next to him.
Still, it's not every hurricane-warning Sunday that you get to see Robert Griffin III Jonathan Dwyer play live. Some thoughts on the Steelers, after the jump... 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Steelers-Redskins Preview: Chris Cooley is back, and he's been doing 100 pushups a day

By Finesse

The chatter in Pittsburgh this week is about how the Steelers will try to stop Robert Griffin III, the Redskins' uber-talented rookie QB.  But as great as RGIII is, and as much as we hyped him on the podcast this week, he's not our focus.  After all, RGIII has played 7 games and lost 4 of them.  That doesn't make him a superstar.  That makes him a Washington Capital.

Instead, our attention is on a different hero with a similar career winning percentage: Chris Cooley, the veteran tight end who was cut by the Redskins during training camp in the culmination of a decline that shouldn't make you feel bad, as we explained here. (SPOILER ALERT: Chris Cooley tries to explain that he has a sense of humor).

Reminder: This happened while the 10-1 Steelers were defeating the 3-8 Redskins in 2004
But when the Skins' starting tight end Fred Davis went out with an Achilles injury last week, the Skins called on Cooley, and that naturally meant it was time for Washington Post reporter Mike Wise to drive Chris Cooley to practice in a minivan just to make sure you know that Mike Wise knows Chris Cooley.  Writes Wise:
When you’ve known someone since he was 22 and he’s now an evolved 30 — heck, when you realize you’re 18 months shy of 50 yourself — you can develop some paternal feelings, to the point where you might offer a ride to work on his first day back.
After Wise's reminder that his story about Chris Cooley is actually about how Mike Wise feels about Chris Cooley, it was time for Wise to ask Cooley some questions.  To break it all down, let's dust off the GTOG Translator and hit some of the highlights. 

Q: You think if Robert Griffin has a kid he’ll be RGIV?
Cooley: “He’s got to be.”
GTOG Translator: "Please let me out of the car"

Q: Sometimes I think, ‘If I could’ve been that mature at 22, I could’ve done some real big stuff.’
Cooley: “Are you kidding me, me too . . . it’s unreal . . . he’s good at everything. Even his commercials are good. They don’t suck; they’re not weird. No one teases him about them."
GTOG Translator: "Why does this guy keep talking about himself?"

Q: Best-case scenario?
Cooley: “Best-case scenario is I play the way Fred [Davis] was playing. The real ideal is I play and we win.”
GTOG Translator: "Look, I stink now. I had 8 catches last year. But I'm confident that no matter what I do, people will think I'm good.  Just look at Fred.  He was on pace for 742 yards and zero touchdowns this year and people are reacting like Kellen Winslow Sr. was assassinated at midfield.  As long as I don't throw up on RGIII's socks, I can't lose."

Q: When the ball comes to you Sunday, it’s just going to be muscle memory?
Cooley: “We’ll see. I’ll be nervous. I’ll definitely be nervous.”
GTOG Translator: "RGIII knows better than to throw to me, so I'm not that worried."

Q: Are you in football shape?
Cooley: “I’ve been riding my bike a lot. And I’ve been running. And I made it a goal to do 100 push-ups a day and 200 sit-ups a day. I take my dogs for a couple miles on a run. That’s plenty for me. I could go into the park and do the squats that I was doing when I left. I’m down about five pounds from training camp — probably 240 right now.”
GTOG Translator: "Do you remember when Bob Costas asked Jerry Sandusky if he was attracted to young boys and it took him 16 seconds to get around to saying "no?"  I still haven't said yes to your question."

Q: Hey, before you go, I got something for you.
Cooley: “You made me lunch?”
Q: Sort of. It’s out of my son’s cupboard: There’s a box of raisins, applesauce. But I put a protein bar in there and a Scooby-Doo fruit chew snack. Those are good.
Cooley: “Thanks, man.”
GTOG Translator: "If I could afford a publicist, I'd fire him."

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

GTOG Podcast: Steelers, Redskins, and Hockey Fans in Skinny Jeans

It's another podcast bursting at the seams with hardcore analysis and raw emotion. We touch on the Steelers, the NFL, RG3, the NHL, the Winter Classic, what we'd like 24/7 to be about, the Islanders' move to Brooklyn, hockey fans in skinny jeans, doping in high school girls cross-country races, and Lance Armstrong. It's power-packed. It's the GTOG Podcast.

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No! Please don't cancel the...OK fine, cancel the Winter Classic

By Artistry

Shrewd negotiator, awkward public speaker, and killer of seasons Gary Bettman noted on Wednesday that even if the league strikes a deal with the NHLPA before the New Year, the NHL may be forced to cancel the winter classic.

Good heavens. Perish the thought. Now what will people not watch while they're watching football?  Can we just take a second and remember what the Winter Classic looks like?

That's what the Winter Classic looks like. YOU CAN BARELY SEE IT. Sure, it's magical to watch Mario lead Penguin alumni around an outdoor rink like he's a tuque-wearing camp counselor. We get that.

OK, this is awesome.
But let's not forget that hockey was better before the Winter Classic. Like in the early 90's, when we had scoring, there were historically great teams, activist referees, and Gary Bettman wasn't commissioner.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

NHL shrewdly allowing owners to talk directly with players; what it means for the lockout

By Finesse

Good scoop by Yahoo! Sports obtaining a memo from the NHL to its owners allowing them to discuss some aspects of the NHL's current proposal to end the lockout with players over a 48-hour period last week (with the required legal disclaimers, of course).

The NHLPA is upset by this tactic, which is understandable given that they have the difficult job of wrangling hundreds of players with vastly different opportunities and incentives.  For them, the entire function of the Fehr family is to be the filter through which the players evaluate (and reject) the owners' proposals.  When you lose the filter, you lose the ability to control the message your players receive.

It's too early to tell whether this will work for the owners or at least have the effect of chipping away at union unity, but it is in my mind a very shrewd tactic.

As a union, the NHL players clearly don't like "the owners."  But as individual players, they likely feel a lot better about "their owner," also known as the old white guy who has been writing them big checks and probably acts a little star struck when he's around them.  They're probably friends, or at least friendly.  And in some cases, they are even landlord and tenant.

This is what Artistry looks like when he's posing for pictures with his 3 year-old son.
The message from the owners is not changing, or at least it's not supposed to.  But the messenger is, and that matters.  If your girlfriend tells you that you have something in your teeth,  you get it out.  If the guy behind you at airport security tells you that you have something in your teeth, you end up on the No Fly List.

As we've said repeatedly, we don't care who wins the lockout.  It's not our money.   But the players have to know that they are going to "lose" this negotiation at some point, in the sense that they aren't going to get as good of a deal as last time.  The danger is that even though the players know this, the lockout will drag on because the players don't want to lose to Gary Bettman.  Might they be more willing to lose to Mario?  If he's allowed to text them, they may not have a choice.

Monday, October 22, 2012

GTOG Recap: Steelers Win 24-17. Also, What's Up With Andy Dalton's Hair?

By GTOG Staff

When the Steelers found themselves in a 14-3 hole to the Bengals last night after an historically awful dropped pass by Barron Batch, an inexcusable interception by Ben, and a classic BenFumble ("Bumble") after he tried to re-cock his arm with 4 guys pulling him to the ground, there were two schools of thought: 1) this so-called mediocre team is outright bad, or 2) this so-called mediocre team is still mediocre so be patient and let's not forget we're playing the Bengals.  Thankfully the second school of thought prevailed and we're right back to where we were at the beginning of the game: the Steelers are an OK team in the thick of an OK conference with only one team that might be more than OK (Houston).  There are worse places to be.

Worse place to be.
There is a lot of talk in Pittsburgh on Monday about how once Andy Dalton bounced the ball into Lamar Woodley's chest Lamarr Woodley stepped up and picked off Andy Dalton, the defense completely shut the door on the Bengals. We saw a different game. We saw a game where Cincinnati inexplicably refused to challenge Ike Taylor. We saw a game where, if you look at the defensive box score, YOU DON'T EVEN SEE JAMES HARRISON'S NAME.  We saw a game where James Harrison appeared completely disinterested in making contact with people.  We saw a game where James Harrison would have run to the sideline after every play to collect partial payment if he could.  We saw a game where Cincinnati - sweet, dependable Cincinnati - inexplicably ran twice right behind the back-up center right into the folds of Casey Hampton's all-encompassing flesh with the game on the line. We saw a game where Casey Hampton immediately ran to the sideline to swallow two whole oxygen tanks.

That doesn't mean we played good defense. It means we played at Paul Brown Stadium.

Worse place to be.
Find out the real reason the Steelers won after the jump...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Big Ben's Barracks: The Godfather will see you now

By Artistry


The Steelers quarterback sits behind his desk, a pair of reading glasses on the tip of his famous nose, the playbook for Sunday night's showdown with the Bengals on his lap, his lips moving in time with his mental reps. There is a knock at the door.

Ben:  Come in.

Mike Tomlin:  Hello, Ben.

Ben:  Coach. What can I do for you?

Tomlin:  It's been a week of trials and a week of tribulations. The men have had some issues on the grass and some issues on the pavement as well.  Our mentality of positivity still reverberates in the locker room to some extent, but that is not translating to action, and I have some concerns that some of the men may be attempting to grab the wheel in order to steer this vessel into the side of the river bank, if you will.

Ben:  And you want my help.

Tomlin:  I want your leadership.

Ben:  We've known each other for many years, but this is the first time you came to me for counsel, for help. Some day, and that day may never come, I'll call upon you to do a service for me.  But until that day accept this justice as a gift on my still unborn child's wedding day.

Tomlin:  I'm not following you. Can you speak to the some of the men or not?

Ben: Sure, send them by.

Ben counsels Ike, the rampaging rookie nose tackle, Mitt Romney and more, after the jump...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Emily and JEF from The Bachelorette have broken up; How do we heal?

By Finesse

Shocking news yesterday that JEF and Emily have decided to end their relationship.  [We predicted they would last for 60 sunsets].  They each released statements that checked all the boxes: they tried, it didn't work, it was an incredible journey, they want privacy, they still love each other's families, Emily didn't sleep with Matt Leinart, or maybe she did, they need time to heal, and something about Little Ricki being cherished.  The only reason it didn't work, they both said, is that they were simply at different points in their lives.

Like so many of you, we at GTOG grieved the only way we know how: IMing each other.
Finesse: I assume you've already heard the news
Artistry: I read about it when I couldn't sleep in the middle of the night. It kept me up another 2 hours
Finesse: How did it make you feel?
Artistry: They are just at different points in their lives? No, they aren't. They were both at a point where they thought it would be a good idea to find love on the Bachelorette. Why can't that be good enough?
Finesse: They were at the exact same point in their lives. They may even have the same birthday.
Artistry: What a hilarious thing the Bachelor universe has evolved into. Everyone breaks up and dates other people in the Bachelor universe. Does no one else understand them?
Finesse: They want to be on TV and have sex with each other.
Artistry: We should do a podcast soon 
Indeed, with so many unanswered questions still lingering, we will be doing a podcast soon.  Until then, we mourn the loss of one great celebrity family...

...and celebrate the promise of another.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

GTOG Weekend Review: Vick's Dog, Nats' Collapse, and New NHL Proposal

What a weekend.  An Austrian guy jumped out of a hot air balloon in space and landed in New Mexico.  Alex Rodriguez struck out 9 times in 5 at-bats.  And the Steelers have continued efforts to go down as one of the most unlikable collections of individuals in team history (more on that later this week).

But there is no bigger story than the news that Mike Vick is a dog owner again, as he inadvertently revealed on Twitter in a photo showing a box of milk bones.  It's unclear where he got this new pet, but our sources tell us that it's from a shelter caddy-corner to the TGIFriday's that just hired Josh Hamilton as a bartender.

(photo via USAToday)
Having gotten that out of the way, let's get to the rest of what was an enormously busy weekend....

Friday, October 12, 2012

GTOPG: What's so funny, Joe Biden? Titans 26, Steelers 23

By GTOG Staff

These are tough times for America. The Steelers can't stop the run.  They certainly can't stop the pass.  Men on the offensive line are taking heavy fire.  We're apparently going with a running back by committee of Barron Batch and Chris Rainey.  Terry Bradshaw hates Ben.  Ben wants so badly to reach out to Terry Bradshaw.  We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them.

So when Vice President Joe Biden took the stage Thursday night for his critical debate with Paul Ryan, he had one eye on the earnest young congressman from Wisconsin and obviously one eye on the Steelers/Titans game.  What transpired next was immature, it was unprofessional, it was entirely unbefitting a world leader.  Seriously, there is nothing f***ing funny about this. Do you hear us Joe Biden?? THIS IS NOT FUNNY.

Better to laugh than cry, after the jump...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Beano Cook dies at age 81

By Finesse

News broke today that legendary college football everything-but-player Beano Cook died last night.  He was 81.  Never heard of anyone changing the channel when Beano came on.

My personal Twitter account, my father, informed me via email as follows:

Subject: Beano Cook
Body: Died today

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

GTOG Podcast: Steelers, Roethlisberger, Sandusky, and more

It's a marathon podcast hitting on all the key topics: the Steelers, fatherhood, Bruce Arians, baseball, Dottie Sandusky, the NHL Lockout, drugs, sex, alcohol, Mario Lemieux, Washington sports fans, Artistry's father, and so much more.  It's the GTOG Podcast.

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A new love for B.A.?

Monday, October 8, 2012

GTOPG: Mildly Above-Average Steelers Defeat More Mildly Above-Average Eagles 16-14

By GTOG Staff

The Steelers are capable of winning any game on the schedule, but Sunday's come-from-behind win over the mildly above-average Eagles solidified in our minds that this is at best a 10-6 team destined for something far short of greatness.  How do we know this?  Let's look at three key pieces of evidence.  First, here's what Finesse tweeted just prior to the Steelers' game-winning drive:

It would be easy to second-guess us and point out that the chances were actually closer to 208%, and you'd be right.  We forgot to factor in that Willie Colon was still out there.

Second, here's what a disappointed Shady McCoy had to say after the game:  "I don't know how I can say this humble...we felt like we could drive on them."  You can't say that humble, Shady, and you shouldn't have to.  We actually owe you an apology, because, really, you could drive on them.  We have no idea how that didn't happen to the proper degree.  So sorry, man.

And, at the risk of bringing you down in the wake of a win that will probably end up propelling the Steelers to a wildcard playoff berth, check out the third and most critical piece of evidence after the jump...