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September 7, 2014, 1:00pmET

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Old 11-01-2009, 08:42 AM   #1
mesaSteeler
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Default A bye week is better than being a Browns, Bills or Raiders fan

http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/...-1-Steigerwald
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Sunday, November 1, 2009


11/1/2009 4:32 AM

A bye week is better than being a Browns, Bills or Raiders fan

This article has been read 152 times.

How will you spend your bye day? It's called bye week for the players because they get most of the week off, but it's really just one day off for the fans.

With no Steelers game to watch, today is a good day for Steelers fans everywhere to appreciate how good they have it.

You could be a Browns fan. Think of all the enjoyment and excitement that you, as a Steelers fan, have experienced since 1999, the year that the Browns came back into the league.

OK, 1999 was a disaster, but there has only been one losing season for the Steelers this century. That was 2003, when The Tommy Gun era died a merciful death. There have been three trips to the AFC Championship game and two successful trips to the Super Bowl.

Since 1999 the Browns are 55-113.

Do I need to remind you that they haven't won an NFL championship in 45 years?

The No. 1 Dawg in the Dawg Pound is calling on Browns fans to stay out of their seats until after the kickoff today in order to send a message to Browns ownership.

That stuff rarely works and it's a little hard for a grown man who wears a dog suit to get anybody to take him seriously.

Think what it would be like to be a Buffalo Bills fan.

They're 0-for the 21st century in making the playoffs. Everybody in town wants to fire the coach, Dick Jauron, and last season they began exporting one game a year to Toronto.

When you watch the games today think about being a Kansas City Chiefs or Oakland Raiders fan. Their teams are two of the most successful in NFL history.

The Raiders' head coach is still trying to get people to believe that he didn't sucker punch one of his assistants.

The Chiefs' biggest star, Larry Johnson, has been suspended for tweeting and saying stupid things. He has a new contract extension that guarantees him something like $14 million.

How about the Redskins?

All you need to know about Dan Snyder's disaster is that a hockey team is the most popular in D.C. There was a time when a Redskins golf tournament in May was a bigger deal than a Capitals' playoff game. And I'm not kidding.

Meanwhile, the biggest worry for Steelers fans on this happiest of bye days is who should start at running back.

After the 2007-08 season, Sidney Crosby said that he was going to work on his faceoffs over the summer. He came back and established himself as one of the best faceoff guys in the league. After the Stanley Cup win in June, Crosby said his summer project would be improving his shooting accuracy. He decided he needed to become more of a goal scorer. He's on pace to score 60. That may be out of his reach, but I wouldn't bet against 50.

I wonder if Mark McGwire, as part of his agreement to become the Cardinals' hitting coach, will provide the really big tent that the Cardinals are going to need for the circus that will be showing up in St. Petersburg this spring.

As I heard all the pleas from University of Connecticut officials for information leading to the arrest of the person who killed Huskies football player Jasper Howard last week, I couldn't help thinking about Ray Lewis.

The two people who were killed the night in 2000 when Lewis and his entourage got in a fight with the rapper Chino Nino's entourage are still dead. Lewis was initially charged with murder but made a deal with the prosecutor and got one year's probation after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice and agreeing to testify against his two friends, who didn't happen to be all-pro linebackers making millions of dollars.

After the incident, witnesses claimed that Lewis was directly involved in the fight. Those witnesses changed their stories when they showed up in court.

Lewis' two buddies were acquitted and Lewis, by all appearances, seems to be an NFL star in good standing.

The two people killed that night never received the outpouring of sympathy that Howard received and their murders didn't generate nearly as much outrage, but they're just as dead and I'll always believe that Ray Lewis knows who killed them.

I wonder what Lewis was thinking when he saw the story of Howard's murder?

How things have changed.

While doing research for a book, I came across this piece of information: In 1984, Mario Lemiuex's rookie year, the Penguins televised a total of 15 games and when the games were on TV, there was no radio coverage. Now, there would be rioting in the streets if FSN had the nerve to televise a game that wasn't in HD.

What more does any self-respecting sports fan need to see than the starting pitchers in Game 1, to refuse to invest more than five minutes in the World Series?

Cliff Lee and C.C. Sabathia are both products of the Cleveland Indians system, both won Cy Young Awards and both were salary dumped and ended up in Top 5 markets. That's one of many, many reasons why I won't see one pitch.

If you haven't become a fan of Pitt quarterback Bill Stull yet, you have no heart.

John Steigerwald writes a Sunday column for the Observer-Reporter.
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