TGIF (Thank God It's Football Season)
by Turtle Jones


Lets face it, football rules.

Yeah, baseball is great. Hockey? Yup, love it. Basketball, eh, I'll watch it, sometimes... Depends how the Celts are doing. But football? I just can't get enough of the fooseball, even if it is The Devil.

If it were not for my wife giving me the, 'don't even think about watching another game', evil eye as soon as The Patriots game ends every Sunday afternoon, I'd watch football all day.

In her defense, there's a lot of nonsense that goes on around here when The Pats are on: yelling, screaming, running around the house, occasional writhing on the floor in agony, and that's not even including what the kids are doing during the game...

The NFL kicks off it's season tonight with the Superbowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelerssteelers girl.jpg (Gack! ah, 'scuse me, itch in my throat) taking on the Miami Dolphins, hereafter to be referred to in this space as 'The Fish'.

The NFL instituted this fairly new 'tradition' for kicking off the season two years ago, where the winner of the Superbowl gets things started in a nationally televised home game on a Thursday night.

Personally, I like it. I realize that it's mostly just another way for the NFL to hype itself, but I don't care. It's fun and I think it's a cool way to let the reigning champs and their fans have a final moment in the spotlight before the normal Sunday schedule starts.

Tonight's game should be pretty interesting.

Steelers quarterback Ben Rothlesburger will be on the sidelines after undergoing an emergency appendectomy earlier this week. That means the Steelers backup quarterback, Charlie Batch, will step in under center.

Batch is a decent QB. He is a seasoned player and should not have a problem stepping in while Rothlesburger recovers from his surgery. The Steelers are a team that relies mainly on their running game on offense. They like to give the ball to their running backs and let them wear down the opposition's defense by pounding the ball down their throat. Rothlesburger's job is basically to hand the ball off and not make any mistakes in the passing game so I don't expect to see a huge drop off in the Steelers offensive production with Batch in there in his place.

dolphin.jpgOn the Miami side of the ball, The Fish are hoping that the off-season acquisition of quarterback Dante Cullpepper from the Minnesota Vikings will finally solidify a position that has been in constant flux ever since Dan Marino retired from Miami back in 2000.

Cullpepper is coming off of a pretty extensive offseason knee surgery, but looks to have completely recovered, playing without any problems in all of the Fish's pre-season games this year.

Both the Steelers and the Dolphins are very solid teams defensively. They both feature a strong defensive line that can stop the run as well as quick linebackers that can put pressure on the quarterback. That means there will be a lot of heat on both of the QB's in this game not to make any mistakes. A turn-over by either team could wind up being their undoing.

Once the initial adrenaline rush at the start of the game is over, I'm expecting this one to become a bit of a slugfest between these two teams. If I had to make a pick, my mind is saying Miami in an upset, but my gut tells me that the Steelers don't kick off the '06 season as reigning champs with a loss in front of their home-town crowd. I mean really, how lame would that be?

Always go with your gut.

Prediction: Steelers 24, Fish 17.

Ernie writes daily at Mr. Black and White

His regular NFL column for FTTW will appear on Sunday mornings.


steelers 27 fish 14


football rules. baseball is boring unless you're there. hockey is fun to watch, but football is where it's at. those cheerleaders are HOT. fuck the steelers. as much as i'd love to see those assholes eat shit in front of their obnoxious fans, something tells me you two are right.

however, i'm going with my heart (which is why i don't bet)

steelers 17 dolphins 21


I used to be obsessed with football - spending all day in a sports bar watching every game possible.

Not so much anymore, I'm more into hockey, but I still keep my eye on the Jets and Packers.

Tonight: Steelers 21, Dolphins 14


Love the cheer-babes. What other sport has half-naked hotties running around on the sidelines to keep you entertained during the commercials? There you go.


The girls were turtle's idea. But you probably figured that out already.


I never got into team sports (except for hockey.... being from Canada and all, you either love it or move away), but I've always had a lot of respect for football. It's so easy to dismiss the sport as a bunch of pumped up jocks running around in circles, but take a quick look and you'll see that a lot of those plays are complicated, man.
Nobody watches CFL down there, I guess. All the same, a bigger field and three downs makes for an interesting game. More players on the field at once too, I think.


Miami 101
Stoolers 2

One can dream, can't one? (Did ya guess I'm not a Stoolers fan?)


What you're giving the Steelers a safety? ;)


I haven't followed football since I played it in Junior High. I usually have some idea of how cetain teams are doing because of coworkers, and I'll watch the Super Bowl, but that's about it.

But, it's my experience that opening season games are seldom as good as you want them to be.

Steelers 17, Dolphins 7


I giving the Stoolers the safety on the Phins 1st play, then Miami starts a comeback :-)

Not all us Dawg Pounders are that nice, though...


aww shucks unkfrank i was just begining to like you... but the browns? sheesh.


Nice. The Browns became one of my backup teams when they picked Romeo to be their Head Coach. Hope you guys do good this year.


Now I have the sudden urge to start following the NFL again. Just to start some comment fights here.

Hey, I'm torn. I get to have both.


Am I the only Bird's fan here ? That's okay, I can root on my own....

Go Birds!



I was going to say I'm sorry, kali, but seeing that thing you posted, all I can say now is 'I feel sorry for you'.



I agree with the thoughts on the running game for the steelers, but still not convinced as their main stay the past few years (the guts if you will) Der Bus is gone....

Ben has true hand off capabilities and like Trent Green and Jake Plummer are known for the extras around them that delvier and make them look good. Batch never had that in Detriot and will try to bring in something eh deosn't have against a team he doesn't know.

Defense is the key and Culpepper is out to prove a bunch of peeps wrong...

The healthy QB wins this one as Der Schweizer Big Ben watches... 17-12.



Finn sorry for the confusion but which NFL Bird are you a fan of, the Falcons, Ravens or Cardinals? Just curious..


So close on that finaly score, Ernie. I'm impressed!


I know how about that! I'm a little surprised myself! Ha!


Sometimes I hate it when you're right, Ernie ;-)


There's only one "Birds" (in my head, at least) and I live in South Philly, about 15 blocks from the Linc...

All about the Eagles, baby!!!!!

With no T.O. this year to shake the team up, we're gonna destroy!


A-Doy!! Sorry Finn, how could I have forgotten about the Eagles? DOY!


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