30 January 2009
29 January 2009
Transportation officials in Texas are scrambling to prevent hackers from changing messages on digital road signs after one sign in Austin was altered to read, "Zombies Ahead." Chris Lippincott, director of media relations for the Texas Department of Transportation, confirmed that a portable traffic sign at Lamar Boulevard and West 15th Street, near the University of Texas at Austin, was hacked into during the early hours of Jan. 19.
"It was clever, kind of cute, but not what it was intended for," said Lippincott, who saw the sign during his morning commute. "Those signs are deployed for a reason — to improve traffic conditions, let folks know there's a road closure."
"It's sort of amusing, but not at all helpful," he told FOXNews.com.
27 January 2009
23 January 2009
I like the new style and think it represents Pittsburgh better simply because it is black and gold like all Pittsburgh sports teams.
Let's Go Bucs!
22 January 2009
Basically, I am telling all of you to check out this band and let me know what you think!
You have to know the Steelers and football's first family a little bit to understand this, but the snub actually seemed to delight Rooney.
At a black-tie dinner two nights later at a Hilton in Washington, D.C., Rooney had a little better luck when he handed over a game ball from the AFC Championship Game to the newest member of a now-rapidly expanding Steelers Nation: the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama.
"He's a Bears fan first, he admits that," Rooney told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "But he's a Steelers fan. He said it, and all his staff, they're rooting for us [in the Super Bowl]."
The thought first popped into my head while watching Rooney leave that elevator and disappear down a hallway of Heinz Field, the picture of quiet, dignified strength. Then I actually wrote it in my notebook after the Steelers beat up the Ravens for a trip to Super Bowl XLIII and the chance to become the first NFL team to win six Lombardi trophies. But now that the most popular man on the planet and the leader of the free world has acknowledged his allegiance to the black and gold, I feel a lot more comfortable asking this question out loud:
Are the Steelers the best sports franchise ever?
Purchased by Art Rooney Sr. in 1933, with $2,500 he supposedly won at the track (love that), the Steelers initially struggled for decades. But since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 (something Art Sr. helped orchestrate), no one's been better. No one. And now, after seven Super Bowls, 30 postseason wins, seven championship games in the past 14 years, 19 Hall of Famers and the dynasty of the 1970s that includes probably the greatest, baddest football team ever assembled … if you factor in the popularity of the NFL and the quaint but sturdy Midwestern soul of this franchise, it's hard to argue against what the Steelers have built.
Yes, of course, I know the Montreal Canadiens have won 24 Stanley Cups. But if we're talking about the best-run, most successful franchise in our lifetime, the Habs are disqualified for winning only two Cups in the past 30 years. There are the defending NBA champs in Boston, of course, who have collected 17 titles, but they too were largely a non-factor for the past two decades. The Cowboys? America's Team? Please. They haven't won a playoff game in a dozen years.
The stats definitely favor the Yankees, I know. In fact, the numbers are nearly impossible to argue: They've got a gazillion titles (26) in 109 years, but nothing since 2000. The Steelers could have six in the past 43, giving them 14 percent of their sport's titles as compared to 24 percent for the Yanks. I could go on with this, but the truth is math gives me a headache. So let me say this: You can't buy titles in football the way you can on the diamond. Therefore extreme parity in the NFL, plus the economic constraints of a hard salary cap, make it (at least) twice as hard to win Lombardi trophies.
"I see the personal sacrifice that people from our team make on a daily basis for this to happen," coach Mike Tomlin said Sunday night. "That is not just the players; the players are special, but the support staff, training, equipment, medical team, etc. It is a lot of sacrifice by a lot of people. I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge that this is the Steelers' story and not my story."
Indeed, as Tomlin spoke it was impossible not to feel the profound impact of the Rooney Rule. In 2003 Dan Rooney chaired a committee that opened doors and changed the face of our national pastime by requiring teams to interview at least one minority candidate for head-coaching jobs. Rooney, who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2000 and has had a major impact on labor negotiations and realignment in the NFL, has always said the best part of his Rooney Rule is that, hopefully, the NFL won't need it much longer. (Maybe the NFL can loan it to the NCAA.)
That kind of social responsibility and impact, however, is one reason why during the past five years the Steelers have compiled an average ranking of 12 in ESPN The Magazine's exhaustive and comprehensive evaluation of all 122 sports franchises. The Yanks' rank? No. 33. In a sports world drowning in drama, the Steelers are the picture of continuity: They've had one philosophy (defense wins championships) and three coaches in the past four decades. The Lions, meanwhile, are on their fourth coach in the past four years.
And finally, let's not forget the little fact that the Steelers aren't currently constructing a new stadium that destroys inner-city playgrounds and green space while costing taxpayers a billion bucks.
Sorry, Yanks; it's the Terrible Towel.
Realizing that the argument for the Steelers as the best sports franchise would still be a pretty tough sell (I mean, none of their players are, like, dating Madonna, duh), late Sunday inside the Pittsburgh locker room I asked Dan's son, Steelers President Art Rooney II, what the team's secret was.
"Our secret?" he said, almost embarrassed by the question. "We try to put a team on the field every year that can win a championship … "
Then he stopped for a split second.
And I swear, that artful pause somehow perfectly captured the essence of this franchise, a team that has remained grounded in its Steeltown roots while simultaneously soaring over the rest of the sports landscape.
We try to put a team on the field every year that can win a championship.
"And," Rooney said, "we never take a year off."
20 January 2009
18 January 2009
Jeff Reed didn't have to kick the game winner this time, but it is good that we have his steady foot in our arsenol.
Let's Go Pens!
17 January 2009
Earl Clark had 16 points and 11 rebounds on his 21st birthday to lead No. 20 Louisville to a 69-63 victory over the Panthers on Saturday night.
The win was Louisville's first over a No. 1 team since beating Florida on Dec. 13, 2003.
Clark capped a stirring second-half rally by hitting a jumper from the top of the key with 45 seconds left and Louisville made enough free throws to make it hold up. The Cardinals celebrated by dancing their way off the court as the crowd serenaded Clark with a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday."
The party may just be beginning for Louisville, which won its fifth straight and is starting to play like the team ranked No. 3 in the preseason poll.
The Panthers had risen to the top spot in the rankings for the first time in school history behind 16 straight dominant but largely anonymous wins. Pittsburgh missed a chance to add a little quality to its quantity thanks to a nightmarish final 8:48 when a 55-45 lead evaporated.
Williams started Louisville's game-ending surge with a pull-up jumper and Clark followed with a shot from the corner. Preston Knowles drilled a 3-pointer before Clark dunked on the break to pull the Cardinals within 55-54 with 6:25 left.
Louisville finally pulled even at 58-all on a jam by Samardo Samuels and Louisville took the lead for good on a layup by Williams with 2:53 to go that put them up 60-58.
The Panthers, who had answered every previous Louisville surge, wilted under the Cardinals' fullcourt pressure. Pittsburgh turned it over a season-high 20 times, including six by point guard Levance Fields.
Even when the Panthers held on to it, they couldn't knock down the shots. They shot just 30.6 percent in the second half, including 3-of-15 from 3-point range. Center DeJuan Blair battled foul trouble most of the second half and finished with nine points and 10 rebounds in 20 minutes. His absence allowed the Cardinals to hold a 42-38 edge on the boards.
The victory capped a thrilling week for the Cardinals, who beat No. 13 Notre Dame 87-73 in overtime on Monday.
Clark made sure the extra work wasn't necessary this time, doing a little bit of everything in the second half as the Cardinals hung around long enough for their offense to get going late.
The rivalry has become one of the Big East's most heated since the Cardinals joined the conference three years ago, with only one of the previous six meetings being decided by more than six points.
Saturday night was no different.
Louisville trailed by as many as 13 points early before using an 11-0 burst midway through the first half to take a 24-23 lead. Still, the Panthers led 32-30 at halftime, surviving the final 5 minutes with Blair and Young both on the bench with two fouls.
Here We Go Steelers!
14 January 2009
If you're the mayor of Pittsburgh and your beloved Pittsburgh Steelers are playing one of their archrivals for the right to go to the Super Bowl, certainly not "Raven."
So goodbye, Luke Ravenstahll; hello, Luke Steelerstahl.
Ravenstahl, -- er, Steelerstahl -- says he decided to remove "Raven" from his name just as he predicts the Steelers will remove the hated Baltimore Ravens from contention in Sunday's AFC Championship Game.
On Wednesday morning, the mayor began, but did not complete, an official name change petition, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
Civil court staff gave the petition a docket number but said they did not expect to file it, in part because they did not receive the required check for $108 to process the change, the newspaper reported.
Ravenstahl said he did not come up with the idea for the name change, according to the report. That honor, he said, belonged to callers to a local radio station's morning show, who "called in and thought it would be a good idea to change from Ravenstahl, given we are playing the hated Baltimore Ravens this weekend, to Steelerstahl.
"As soon as I heard it, I thought it was a great idea."
Ravenstahl will keep the name at least through Sunday.
Coincidentally, "stahl" is German for steel.
I love the spirit this guy has. I don't believe I have been around a young, enthusiastic mayor that genuinely loves his sports teams as much as Mayor Ravenstahl...ahh...Steelerstahl!
Meantime, fans can gear up for Sunday's game with another "Black and Gold Day" and pep rally on Friday. The rally will once again be around the Terrible Tree in the courtyard of the Allegheny County Courthouse at noon. Fans are urged to wear their black and gold, grab their Terrible Towels and come down to "Roast the Ravens."
13 January 2009