19 January 2011
Today's interview is with newspaper mogul Brandt Gelman of Penn State's Daily Collegian. A barbarian sport expert, the rugby-wrestling aficionado hails from the town of Black and Yellow, a city whose people have enough northeast influence not to qualify them as hicks, but enough Rust Belt residue to lower their collective sports IQ. Sadly, Gelman's feelings about the Steelers and Sunday's AFC Championship Game are representative of Steelers Nation.
RS: A bigger buffoon: Ben Roethlisberger or Rex Ryan? Be objective, if possible.
BG: This is an interesting question. I think Ben and Rex are equally great buffoons, but on complete opposite ends of the spectrum. Simply put, Ben can’t help himself. He self-admittedly fell into the “Big Ben” persona and his natural “Yinzer” came out. I give Roethlisberger too much slack due to the happiness he has brought me on the football field, but he is definitely a big-time buffoon.
Rex Ryan is a calculated buffoon. The Jets are one of the rare teams that can actually back up their talk. There is no denying the swag Ryan has infused into this team; Bart Scott's postgame interview was somewhat terrifying. But at the same time, people take what Ryan says with a grain of salt and in reality no one is really listening to all of his bantering. Which, at least until he wins a super bowl, makes him look like a buffoon as well.
RS: I love Mike Tomlin. Rex loves Mike Tomlin. Why do you?
BG: Tomlin brings ”coolness” to the team. His coaching style allows the players to have just as much fun as Ryan’s, but it’s much more subtle. In Pittsburgh it’s all about winning and Tomlin has won the AFC North three of the last four years including a Super Bowl victory. It's not hard to love having him as a coach.
RS: Why are you not taking the Jets seriously? Did you not see them strike down your team's Kryptonite last week in New England? How ignorant are Steelers fans?
BG: I don’t know of anyone in Pittsburgh who is taking the Jets lightly. You just mistake our confidence of playing at home game as cockiness. Getting Troy and Heath Miller back gives Steeler fans even more reasons to believe.
Sanchez’s record in the playoffs, and obviously on the road, are very impressive, but this game will be a huge test for him; like Bart Scott said, “New England couldn’t stop a nose bleed.” You put it well in that the Patriots are our Kryptonite, and to not have to play in New England gives a sigh of relief to all Steeler fans. I also think there is a lot of mutual respect between the teams, so I don’t think either team is taking its opponent lightly.
RS: Let's expand on the ignorance of Pittsburgh sports fans. You are front-runners. No one cared about the Steelers from 1933 until 1969. It was a Pirates town because they were winning. No one cared about the Penguins until you drafted Mario. Once his prime faded into the sunset your team came within a Sidney Crosby ping pong ball of moving to Kansas City (the Penguins were dead last in attendance the season before Sid arrived and had no new arena in place). And the Pirates have come in the bottom five in MLB attendance every season since 2003.
BG: This question is just a personal attack on Pittsburgh sports fans in general, and I find it funny. I have met countless New York fans that choose whichever baseball, football, or hockey team in New York that is having the best season. People are Mets fans until they fail to make the playoffs, and then they bring out the Yankee fitted and rep them harder than anyone. I believe that is one of the most ignorant things any sports fan can do (other than wanting to win fantasy football more than have their own team with a championship).
RS: I've read in many places that Mike Wallace is going to light up Darrelle Revis. Please tell me you're not drinking this Kool-Aid.
BG: This is an easy answer: No I’m not sipping any of that Kool-Aid. Darrelle Revis is a special player, and I saw him play in person many times when he was stud for the University of Pittsburgh. His performance on Reggie Wayne was masterful, and I don’t look for Wallace to have a stand out game.
RS: How important is it for Ben to have more Super Bowl rings than rapes? He has two apiece right now.
BG: I think realistically it will be four Super Bowls to two alleged rapes. I don’t think there will be any more rape charges, and after getting another ring this year it seems very possible.
My question for you guys is how many Super Bowls will Rothlisberger have to win before people can say he’s one of the best. I may be fanatical in my love for Roethlisberger as a quarterback, but I think he's right on the cusp of historic greatness.
RS: If at 10 o'clock on Sunday night Rex Ryan is fat-guy-running into the tunnel of Heinz Field with the Lamar Hunt trophy in his hand, what emotions are going to be running through your body?
BG: First of all I saw Rex Ryan run down the sideline to congratulate the team last week and I don’t think he’s making it all the way to the tunnel. But in reality, I do not see how the Jets are going to win this game.
RS: Beyond the fact your team is named the "Pittsburgh Steelers," why will they win Sunday's game? Please answer with your brain and not your weiner.
BG: I do no think the Jets are going to get a run game going against the Steelers, and with Troy back in the equation I think he will come up with a big interception to swing this game. Conversely, I think Mendenhall will find some room, and if the Steeler rookie receivers continue to shine brightly, Pittsburgh can make enough splash plays to win this one.
RS: Final score...
BG: Steelers 27, Jets 17
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