By HAL McCOY
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave while watching the Pittsburgh Steelers score 14 points with only one play from scrimmage in 13 seconds. Ben Roethlisberger threw a 75-yard touchdown pass on his first play of the game, then Vince Williams intercepted a Cam Newton pass for a pick-six.
And when it was over, it was Steelers 52, Carolina 21 as Pittsburgh turned the Panthers into a Fig Newton.
The 52 points were the most the Steelers ever scored at home in their current stadium. Big Ben clocked a perfect quarterback rating by hitting 22 of 25 passes for 329 yards and five touchdowns. He hit nine different receivers.
And what did Newton say after the slaughter? “We just got whupped, man. We just got whupped.” On this night it was the NFL’s version of Duke-Kentucky on the basketball floor, with Roethlisberger playing the part of Zion Williamson, who plays basketball like a tight end.
Browns and Bengals fans, all Steelers haters, had to cringe and most probably switched channels to Naked & Afraid. Steelers holdout Le’Veon Bell was spotted playing basketball at a gym in Pittsburgh. He, too, has to be cringing about getting his job back if he signs. Who needs him? Not the Steelers, as good as he is.
—Bill James, the godfather of baseball sabermetrics and currently an independent advisor to the Boston Red Sox. But somehow those dancing numbers in his brain became scrambled.
Here is some of what he posted on social media this week: “If the players all retired tomorrow, we would replace them and the game would go on. In three years it would make no difference whatsoever. The players are not the game, any more than the beer vendors are.”
James evidently lost his memory, too. Doesn’t he remember the 1995 fiasco when the players were on strike and MLB tried to populate teams with replacement players during spring training? And try as I might, I can’t find the record for most beers sold by a vendor in one game or the career record for most beer lugged and chugged in one year from one vendor’s case.
And whatever happened to that Dr. Pepper vendor who invented the college football playoff system? He’s the only vendor who ever became famous and he sold soda pop, not beer. But I do know at least three guys who believe beer vendors are more important than baseball players.
—Alex Bregman isn’t a beer vendor, he is one hell of a baseball player for the Houston Astros. And a man with a heart who knows how to use his fat wallet.
He and a couple buddies found out a waitress in a Houston bar was having financial problems, was attending college and had her care broken into.
So they went to the bar, ordered water, faked a phone call that called them away and he left a $500 tip. Then they came back in and the waitress was in tears.
–Wonder who will be the first under the new manager to refer to the Reds as the Cincinnati Bells? Oh, I guess it was me.
—The Red Sox Magic continues. An 84-year-old great grandfather won $100,000 in the Massachusetts lottery by using five Boston Red Sox uniform numbers. He picked 11 (Rafael Devers), 16 (Anthony Benintendi), 19(Jackie Bradley Jr), 22 (Rick Porcello) and 25 (World Series MVP Steve Pearce).
I’m figuring my Reds numbers right now and I’m thinking 3 (Scooter Gennett), 6 (Billy Hamilton), 16 (Tucker Barnhart, 19 (Joey Vott0) and 25 (Cody Reed). Of course, those numbers probably won’t hit.
—Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown, sometimes rhetorically referred to as running 100 miles an hour pass patterns for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, actually was clocked this week at 100 miles an hour in his black Porsche on a Pittsburgh street.
So is his new nickname The Brown Blur? And a judge might be the first guy on a bench to slow him down.
—Speaking of cars, these are the cars I have owned, in order: 1954 Oldsmobile Rocket 88, 1958 Edsel Citation, 1960 Chevrolet Impala, 1962 Rambler (fire engine red). 1967 Ford Galaxie 500, 1970 Dodge Charger, 1975 Buick Turbo-charged (V6), 1980 Buick Regal, 1986 Pontiac Trans-Am Firebird (with wings on the hood), 1990 Pontiac Trans-Am Firebird (more wings on the hood), 1995 Dodge Daytona (flames on the door panels), 1998 Toyota Camry, 2000 Toyota 4Runner.
And now that I can’t drive, Nadine has conveyed me around in a 2005 Toyota Avalon, a 2011 Lincoln MKZ and a 2016 Lincoln MKZ. Now you might understand why my all-time favorite singing group is The Cars.