Of all the rough losses for the Pitt Panthers, tonight might rank as one of the worst. The Panthers led by 15 halfway through the first half, only to lose by 23. That’s a 38-point turnaround. Boston College outscored Pitt 68 to 30 in the final 33 minutes and BC wins 81-58. Pitt has now given up 112 points in its last four games, and the Panthers are now 0-14 in the ACC.  Only 4 opportunities remain to avoid a winless regular season in the conference.





Matt Murray was spectacular in net yesterday, stopping 33 of the 34 shots he faced.
Murray led the Penguins to 3 of possible 4 points against two tough opponents on the road trip. Head coach Mike Sullivan says the reason for Murray’s success is his ability to keep things in perspective, “that’s what allows any of us to deal with any of the challenges that life throws our way, whether it be in hockey itself or or outside of the game…Matt’s had a little bit of both this year, and we think he’s handled it extremely well, and I think that’s a credit to him as a person, not as a player but more so as an individual.”


I sat down with Steelers President Art Rooney II on Thursday. Interview topics included Le’Veon Bell, who’s hoping for a long-term contract. Rooney remains optimistic that could happen, “we’d like to get a long-term contract done with Le’Veon and I think the fact that both sides want to get something done is — that’s helpful. Hard to say when it will happen. Sometimes these things, as we know, can get dragged out, but I think as long as both side want to get something done, there’s a pretty good chance we’ll get it done.” Rooney also had high praise for head coach Mike Tomlin, who received a healthy dose of criticism after the Steelers playoff loss to Jacksonville. Some fans were even calling for Tomlin to be fired, “fans get disappointed, and we understand that. We were all disappointed about the last game. So, I understand how that goes. But I think when you take a step back and you look at the job mike’s done and the fact all the players love playing for him and want to play for him, we’re happy to have him and hope he’s going to be out coach for well into the future.”

Tuesday night’s game turned into a night for the ages. The Pens recognized Marc-Andre Fleury with an emotional video tribute, followed by a rousing ovation from the crowd at PPG Paints Arena. The crowd cheered Fleury for several minutes before play resumed.
Fleury told us after the game how much he was touched, “I really didn’t now what to expect, but in warmups I got goose bumps. People that gave me the cards and kind words and also, ya it’s a night I won’t forget.”

On January 21st, 1979, I watched part of Super Bowl XIII in a college dorm room with Howie Long. Tonight, 39 years later, I watched Howie on a Super Bowl commercial, and then watched his son Chris win his second consecutive Super Bowl. The younger Long and his teammates in Philadelphia rose against all odds this season, and it culminated with a well-deserved championship. Congratulations to former Steelers director of fb operations Tom Donahoe and the two Weidl brothers, Andy and Casey. All 3, along with former central catholic star Stefan Wisnewski are all Super Bowl champs.

I was talking with my buddy, and Shults Ford owner Richard Bazzy, who has long admired the talents and accomplishments of Tom Brady. Richard suggested that Brady is the greatest player in the history of any sport. Richard knows football, but as important, he appreciates athletes who are dedicated to winning, and he believes that if you combine talent, work ethic, leadership, football IQ, determination, and an almost obsession to win, then Brady ranks all time at the top of not only his sport, but of any sport. Brady is the only player to win five Super Bowls playing for one team, and he has the most championships of any quarterback in the Super Bowl era. Here’s a random list (not a complete list) of other athletes who have won a minimum of four championships with one team:

  • Bill Russell: 11 NBA titles with Celtics
  • Yogi Berra: 10 World Series titles with Yankees
  • Joe DiMaggio: 9 World Series titles with Yankees
  • Michael Jordan: 6 NBA titles with Bulls
  • Magic Johnson: 5 NBA titles with Lakers
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 5 NBA titles with Lakers (6 total)
  • Kobe Bryant: 5 NBA titles with Lakers
  • Bart Starr: 5 NFL Championships with Packers (3 NFL Championships, 2 Super Bowls)
  • Derek Jeter: 5 World Series titles with Yankees
  • Wayne Gretzky: 4 Stanley Cup titles with Oilers
  • A whole bunch of Steelers with FOUR!

On January 28, 1996, the Steelers lost to the Cowboys in Super Bowl XXX.  You know the game details: Neil O’Donnell 3 interceptions. Cowboys cornerback Larry Brown was the MVP. The Steelers fell short in their “one-for-the-thumb” bid. Joe Montana represented all Super Bowl MVPs at the coin toss. Vanessa Williams sang the national anthem. The halftime show starred Diana Ross.  I checked, and unless I’m wrong, the high temperature was 66 degrees, but my sunglasses are proof that it was sunny and beautiful in Tempe that day. Look at the blue sky.  I sat behind George Clooney, who at the time, led the cast of the television hit ER.  Now the real question. Who had the better mustache in the postgame news conference. Bill Cowher, or me? 22 years ago today!!

Goaltender Matt Murray returned to the ice with his teammates this morning at practice in Cranberry. Murray left the team during the recent west coast trip to attend his father’s funeral. It was an emotional week that spilled over to the locker room today, when Murray talked about it for the first time he publicly, “I just want to say a big thanks first of all to Pittsburgh. The team did a lot for me, helping get me home and stuff like that, and thanks to my teammates.” I asked Murray if he thought it would help to be back with his teammates. “For sure, yeah it felt really good today being out there and having some fun, yeah it meant a lot.”

Jacksonville at New England  PATRIOTS
Minnesota at Philadelphia  VIKINGS


Yesterday, at his final news conference of the season, Mike Tomlin failed to give Todd Haley an endorsement, and what he didn’t say told us everything we needed to know. After 6 seasons as Steelers offensive coordinator, Haley is out. That, despite overseeing a high-powered offense that finished in the top 10 in the NFL in each of the last 4 seasons. More important to Haley’s fate was the disconnect with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Ben produced huge numbers with Haley, but the strained relationship was well known, and in the end, that appears to have cost Haley his job. Mike Tomlin said this in a statement on the team’s website, “I have made the decision to not renew the contract for offensive coordinator Todd Haley. I would like to thank Todd for his contributions to our offense the past six years, and we wish him the best in his coaching future.”