1. 8 Steelers selected to the Pro Bowl-Congrats to WR Antonio Brown, QB Ben Roethlisberger, RB Le’Veon Bell, LB Ryan Shazier, C Maurkise Pouncey, G David DeCastro, T Alejandro Villanueva, and K Chris Boswell for being named to the NFL’s All-Star Game. Of course, they don’t want to play in it because of Super Bowl aspirations, but it’s still a tremendous honor.
  2. Now Cam Heyward? He has a career-high 10 sacks (in a 3-4 defense) and Heyward gets snubbed? You bet he did. But he could still make it as an injury replacement.
  3. Boswell-I’m excited that he made it. He was signed off the street 2 years ago and he has 4 game-winners this season. Plus, he has the NFL playoff record for field goals as well. Boswell is the first Steelers K to make the Pro Bowl since Gary Anderson in 1985.
  4. The Final Catch vs. Patriots-I’m surprised that they haven’t labeled it yet as Steelers TE Jesse James will now go into legendary lore as the one who caught the winning TD pass that wasn’t. According to the rules, James didn’t have full possession of the ball or in the referee’s jargon “survive the ground” Ergo, it wasn’t a catch.
  5. My Reaction? Like the rest of the NFL and Steelers fans, I was ticked. I watched that man make the catch and break the plane for the winning TD. I hugged my wife and spun around my son. Until 5 minutes later. I figured that if it wasn’t a TD, then the ball would be at the 1-yard line, but that call was ridiculous.
  6. What does it remind me of? Others point to the Dez Bryant non-call when his Dallas Cowboys played the Green Bay Packers in a playoff game years ago, but I point at the 2008 AFC Championship Game between the Steelers and Baltimore Ravens. WR Santonio Holmes caught a pass then slid into the endzone. Only to have it called an incomplete pass for the same reasons as James. The NFL has got some serious issues.
  7. Moving on-Anyway, the Steelers will now prepare to face the Houston Texans Christmas Day with goals of securing a 1st round bye, provided the hot Jacksonville Jaguars lose. But if they don’t, then they would need to also beat the Cleveland Browns the following week. The Steelers need that bye so certain players can rest and heal.
  8. Antonio Brown-Seeing the NFL’s best WR get injured makes you sick to his stomach. It amazes me that QB Ben Roethlisberger threw that pass into traffic with Brown almost catching the ball while colliding with Patriots and Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Shuster. He has a partially-torn calf muscle and won’t play again until the playoffs. Bummer.
  9. James Conner-His injury hurts because it’s a reminder of his injuries at Pitt. Conner didn’t play much this season as he backed up Le’Veon Bell, but he had 144 yards (4.5 avg) in spot duty. He tore his MCL vs. the Patriots. Of course, we’re glad Bell is healthy, but the Steelers ended up signing Stevan Ridley and Fitzgerald Toussaint is Bell’s backup.
  10. Joe Haden-As Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin stated, “It’s time to have a Joe Haden conversation” as he practiced with the team all week and looks like he’ll be ready to play vs. Houston. I’m so glad as he will once again provide stability to the secondary.
  11. Ryan Shazier-What a sight to see the Steelers LB at the game vs. the Patriots Sunday. As he twirled his Terrible Towel, the Heinz Field fans erupted, and the Steelers were fired up.
  12. Papa John’s CEO steps down-Weeks after he made an ill-advised comment that the Player protests were hurting his pizza sales, founder John Schnatter will step down. It’s a shame because I love that pizza, but not since Schnatter made his statement. He will be replaced by COO Steve Ritchie.
  13. Basketball HOF Candidates-Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Ray Allen and Grant Hill are among 179 eligible candidates for the Basketball Hall of Fame for 2018. I think they all deserve it as they’ve all had stellar NBA careers.
  14. An Isaiah Thomas Conversation? Yep, as the newly acquired Cleveland Cavalier has begun doing warmups with the team after missing the first 2 months recuperating from hip surgery. Thomas will not play Christmas Day vs. Golden State.
  15. No Chris Paul vs. Clippers-It’s a shame that he won’t be playing against his former team, but Paul will not play in Friday’s game because of a sore left adulator.
  16. Rockets-If there was one team that could be a threat to the Warriors, it would be the Rockets as they’re finally reached another level. Apparently happened after adding Paul, and fellow G James Harden is truly a top NBA MVP Candidate. I think it’s his year to win it.
  17. College Basketball AP Rankings-With Duke losing to Boston College, it caused a bit of a shakeup in the Top 5: 1. Villanova 2. Michigan St. 3. Arizona St. 4. Duke 5. North Carolina. The Sun Devils are a bit of a surprise as well. But as we know, it’s still early and things could still
  18. Former Pitt Cameron Johnson’s UNC debut-He left the Panthers for the Tar Heels last season and now the 3-point sharpshooter finally played his first game for UNC as he scored 10 points in 17 minutes. Good for him. Glad he’s healthy again.
  19. DiNucci chooses James Madison-After getting beaten out of the starting QB spot by Kenny Pickett, Ben DiNucci opted to transfer to James Madison, I wish him the best. Backup Anthony McVittle also transferred as well.
  20. Cole Trade Talks Have Cooled-It’s a shame that the Pittsburgh Pirates are so nerve-wracking, that they can’t even trade a player right. They were working on a trade with the NY Yankees for P Gerrit Cole, but once again after asking for too many top prospects, the talks have ‘cooled’. The same thing happen last year with OF Andrew McCutchen.

 

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

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