Saturday, December 03, 2011

The Morning Line: Steel City vs. Queen City

by Paul Daugherty
Cincinnati Enquirer
December 2, 2011

CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 13: Ben Roethlisberger(notes) #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers throws a pass to Antonio Brown(notes) #84 during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on November 13, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Steelers won 24-17. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

If you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need..”

The Men and The Min, Round 2.

Before we get to the heavy and thoughtful analysis, let’s sling a little mud, whaddaya say?

I’m well versed in both cities, having lived Here since ’88 and having visited There since well before that. My creds are well established. Both of my parents grew up There, at least partly, mom in a hamlet called Burgettstown, dad for a brief time in Mt. Lebanon, a nice, close-in ‘burb not unlike Mariemont.

My wife’s from Aliquippa. Went to Hopewell High with Tony DOR-sett, before he became Tony Dor-SETT.

Freud would call it Steeler Envy, this animus we/you have for the Team Up North And East. Not sure why, beyond the football glory, that we so covet Pittsburgh. Everything else There is subpar, compared with Here. For example:

Mt. Washington There is a heap compared to Mt. Adams Here. They have a million-dollar view of the city and about three decent bars with a view. Their Beer (Iron City Light, nice liquid oxymoron there) is something we’d use to clean sinks.

Their Myron Cope, RIP,was a little squeaker compared with Our D. Lapham, who Played The Game.

Their sloppy sandwiches for obesity-seeking bohunks is dog food compared to the elegant mess of Our chili.

Their version of the English language requires translating. “Crick” means “creek” boys and girls!

Yunz, yinz, some damned thing meaning “you people.”

Dahntahn, ahtside, Troy PAWL-uh-MAWL-oo.

The “Paarts” used to play at Forbes Filled.

That portion of your dress shirt, up around your neck? Why, that’s a caw-ler.

Another day, another daw-ler.

Oh, rilly?

Nawt, gawt, hawt, spawt. Translation: Not, got, hot, spot.

Whut the heck’s goon on dahn dere?

They even call their own city Picksburgh. Rhymes with Hicksburg.

They need books to explain the way they talk. Picksburghese.  There’s a website, presumably to teach their infants to speak local while jamming their infant pieholes with pierogies so they can all waddle around dahtahn like little earthbound Goodyear blimps.

You think the winter stinks here? We’re Cancun compared to Picksburgh. It used to be, the belch from the still mills kept their sky perpetually gray, and forced everyone who lived within 50 miles to clean their windows of soot several times an afternoon. Now, it’s just the climate. It’s as if the Big Weatherman in the Sky simply decided to keep the place in character once the mills shut dahn.

They have potholes in Picksburgh suitable for a family of four.

Deer run rampant in the semi-rural areas. If you havent had your rusting Ford wrecked by a buck, you’re not rilly from Picksburgh.

It snows in Awk-tober. A lawt.

Next time you come across Picksburgh-er waving his terrible tahl, get very smug and wish him gawdspeed. Then tell him it’s better here.

However. . .

You might dislike the arrogance of Stillers fans, but deep down you yearn to have a team worthy of the same arrogance. The only difference between Here We Go and Who Dey is, um, six rings.

You want what they have.

They have a mom and pop organization, too. Only their mom and pop have a personnel department with smart people running it. It’s why they’re good all the time, and The Men are good when the schedule favors them and everything goes right. Ma and Pa Rooney are seen as a civic treasure. They are perceived as upstanding members of the local community, Give-Backers who understand that their engagement runs deeper than taking your money and showing up on Sundays.

In its annual Who Makes What issue, Forbes mag said the Stillers made a $28 million profit in 2010. The Bengals profited, um, ah, well, $45 million. (The Ravens, who have the best team in the division, came in at a mere $25 million.)

Mainly, they have Ben.

Red isn’t Ben, at least not yet.

I wanted very much to pick the Bengals this week. They’re on the cusp, their best players have lots of viable time ahead of them. Conversely, the Steelers are a downbound train. Their best guys are aging and prone to wearing down. Their O-line is barely functional. Their running game is below average. But they have Ben.

Roethlisberger doesnt get the pub of an Aaron Rodgers, who throws passes you could hang on a wall. He doesnt get the attention of Drew Brees, or even a Tim Tebow. If Tebow ever learns to play QB the NFL way, he might approach Ben.

It’s the feet. Ben is Fred Astaire. We’ve known this for years, only now, many years into it, it’s more apparent than ever. Pittsburgh wins with a left tackle it cut (Max Starks) because Ben is the best, ever, at creating that extra half-second of time and space in the pocket. The TD throw we’ve been talking about all week — vs. KC last Sunday night — was so vintage Ben, a video clip of it should play behind the bust he’ll get someday, in Canton.

Can the Bengals contain Ben?

N. Clements came up lame in prax Thursday. That leaves them with A. Jones and K. Jennings starting, possibly. Ben missed three deep balls in the first meeting, one especially egregious, in the 4th quarter, down the middle to Mike Wallace. That won’t happen again.

The only clear edge Pittsburgh has is Ben. That’s a huge edge. M. Zimmer might be a genius, but if his guys can’t handle Ben, Pittsburgh will handle Cincinnati.

The Bengals can try to run, but Benson has never been much against the Steelers: Seven games, 94 carries, 315 yds, 3.35 avg. They can keep Red clean by throwing quickly, but they did that the first time. They can avoid turnovers, but if they get behind again, Red’s gonna be throwing into trouble. They have Green, a huge plus. They don’t Hall, probably Dunlap and possibly Clements, a huge minus.

The Steelers have L. Woodley this time. He embarrassed A. Smith last year.

I still believe The Men and The Min are ships passing in the night, and that next year, things will be different.

That’s next year.

The Men are goon dahn. Let’s make it 26-17.

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