1. The Steelers and NFL release their 2017 schedule-It still gets me that there’s so much hype behind this, but if there’s any sport that can make headlines out of anything, it’s the National Football League. And that goes along with the Free Agency period and of course the Draft. But to be honest, you know you were paying attention too.
  2. Steelers 2017 schedule-When you finish one game away from the Super Bowl, you know the schedule’s gonna be a bit tougher. Such is the case with the Steelers: In addition to their AFC North Divisional foes(Cleveland, Cincinnati and Baltimore), they will face the Super Bowl Champ New England (Dec 17th), The entire NFC North (Green Bay-Nov 26th, Chicago-Sep 24th, Detroit-Oct 29th, Minnesota-Sep 17th), KC Chiefs (Oct 15th), Houston (Dec 25th), Indianapolis (Nov 12th), Jacksonville (Oct 8th) and Tennessee (Nov 16th)
  3. Steelers National TV Games-Of course the NFL loves to put the Steelers on National TV and this upcoming season they will be on there 5 times: (Detroit, Green Bay and Baltimore Sunday Night), Tennessee (Thursday night), and Houston (Christmas Day)
  4. Speaking of that Christmas Day Game-It still, surprises me that the NFL has ‘went there’ and honed in on the NBA’s holiday. I know they can justify the fact that they usually have a Monday Night game, but sometimes the NFL thinks they’re bigger than life, and this is a good example. My wife won’t be happy about it like she wasn’t when the Steelers played last Christmas, but we’ll make it work.
  5. Other significant NFL Games-The NFL kicks off their season Sept 7th when the Champion Patriots will host KC. The Los Angeles Chargers will start their season at Denver on Monday Night, and the first game of that Doubleheader will be the Vikings vs. New Orleans.
  6. NFL in London-If you’re tired of the NFL playing games in London (not sure why it would actually bother you) well, you need to get over it because this year, they will play 4 games in London: Baltimore vs. Jacksonville (9/24), Miami vs. New Orleans (9/30), LA Rams vs. Arizona in Week 7 and Minnesota vs. Cleveland in Week 8) Maybe the Browns will play better in another country.
  7. Thanksgiving Games-And of course, you can’t have your Thanksgiving Turkey without the games. And as always, the Dallas Cowboys (vs. Chargers) and Lions (vs. the Vikings)will host the first 2 games, but the 3rd game will have the Washington playing the NY Giants.
  8. My thoughts on the Steelers schedule-Not much thought at all, because it’s still 6 months before they start playing that schedule. The team isn’t complete because the NFL Draft is next week. But I think they can beat just about every NFL team on their schedule…maybe except the Patriots, but I do believe they will win the AFC North again.
  9. Aaron Hernandez-I was stunned to hear about the passing of former Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez who was on trial for manslaughter. It’s always unfortunate when anyone takes their own life, especially at 27 years old. Prayers and condolences for his family.
  10. NFL Draft-Speaking of next month’s festivities, apparently former NFL Coach and QB Guru Jon Gruden is gushing over former Pitt Panthers QB Nate Peterman saying that out of all the college QB’s who will do well in the NFL, that Peterman will be the main one. That’s quite a compliment. I think Peterman will do well too.
  11. Pitt football Gets $2 million commitment-It’s always nice when alumni give back to their school, but when you give $2 million, now that’s saying something. Pitt Alums Steve (’68) and his wife Kathy gave the amount to the Pitt Football Champions Fund. Now that’s giving the football team a vote of confidence.
  12. The NBA Playoffs-There were several NBA Playoff games Thursday night: LeBron James has a Triple-Double as defending champ Cleveland beat Indiana 119-114. The Cavs came back from trailing the Pacers by 25, very impressive win. The Cavs lead their series 3-0. Other scores: Milwaukee beat Toronto 104-77 and lead their series 2-1.
  13. NBA MVP Prediction-Still no changes here. I still say OKC’s Michael Westbrook who is now the all-time Triple-Double leader. And don’t give me that drama about the fact that they’re losing to Houston, and that other MVP Candidate in James Harden. The MVP is based on the regular season, which is where Westbrook did his damage.
  14. The Bulls is up 2-0 over the Celtics?? And if you’re surprised, so is Bulls G Dwyane Wade. He said it himself after Chicago won both of their games, in Boston of all places. The Celtics took the #1 seed away from the Cavs, but that’s another example that the regular season means nothing in the playoffs.
  15. Starling Marte suspended 80 games-This my friends, is a disgrace. As if the Pirates needs this. As if Marte needs this because the Pirates need No other Pirate has ever been suspended this many games., especially for a banned substance. His absence puts veteran Pirates Andrew McCutchen back in CF.
  16. On Marte saying he didn’t know what he was taking-Whatever man, I don’t believe it. I get tired of athletes who get caught for taking Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED’s) and their response was “I unknowingly took that substance” Give me a break. You made the mistake, now be truthful and admit it. I’m sure those 80 games will give him a long time to think about it.
  17. The Pirates-As a result, they were already struggling, now they’re really struggling with Marte not there and their three 2-1 losses to St. Louis proves that they are affected by it. They look lost and out of sync and as of right now, they’re in 6th place in the NL Central Division. Not sure how this team beat up on the Champion Chicago Cubs.
  18. Penguins eliminate Blue Jackets with 5-2 win-There was no way Columbus was going to beat the defending Stanley Cup Champions, especially after they led 3-1. The Penguins showed that there’s no place like home and the fact that they were ready to close this series out. F Bryan Rust had 2 goals, C Sidney Crosby and F Phil Kessell had 1 and G Marc-Andre Fluery has 49 saves. I am impressed.
  19. Up next for the Penguins? Well, they have to wait for the winner of the Washington-Toronto series & that series is tied at 2. So the Pens need to be patient and not get rusty or complacent. In other news, I can’t believe the top-seeded Chicago Blackhawks got swept by the Nashville Predators after they fell 4-1 to the Predators Thursday. Once again, the Regular Season means nothing in the postseason.
  20. Congrats to Serena Williams-The Tennis star and recent Australian Open Champion announced that she is 20 weeks pregnant. She will miss the remainder of the 2017 season and resume in 2018.

 

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

Follow him @urbanmediaRay on twitter

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