DROP THE FRIGGIN PHONE

This video, of course, has gone viral because that’s what humans do in 2014. We share videos of people doing sick things.

It’s hard not to focus on the vicious beating that is taking place on the video and here’s hoping the woman spends YEARS in prison for her starring role.

But what about the asshole or assholes who are recording it?

How does a normal human being stand there and, instead of intervening, take out a phone and record it?

Is the person who recorded the video feeling good about all the attention it’s getting around the world?

When he/she showed it to friends did anybody ask him/her why he/she didn’t stop the beating?

Probably not.

Sick.

LEGACY SCHMEGACY

Every ESPN TV and radio platform, when it isn’t shoving the World Cup in your face, is telling you that you really need to care about where Lebron James ends up next year.

I don’t care where he ends up because I don’t care about the NBA, but I understand it’s a story and it’s important to a lot of people.

What I don’t get is all the “legacy” talk.

I keep hearing and seeing discussions about LeBron’s legacy and how it will be affected if he leaves Miami and ends up on his third team.

Does anybody REALLY care about his legacy?

Does LeBron REALLY care about his legacy?

Why should he?

He should do whatever he thinks will make him happy now.

Do you really think that Wayne Gretzky cares that he made that stop in St. Louis to play for the Blues?

Would it have made sense for him to stay in Edmonton instead of agreeing to the trade to Los Angeles because it would make him happier now as a 53 year old man?

The media love to talk about this stuff, but can they really expect the players to take it seriously?

Myron Cope would say that the people obsessing on LeBron’s legacy sound like a bunch of card party women.

I would never say that in 2014 because it’s politically incorrect.

I wouldn’t want it to affect my legacy.

WORLD CUP? NO THANKS

It’s World Cup soccer time again.

Yep, every four years the planet Earth has a party, and I’m not invited. Well, actually, that’s wrong.

Everybody’s invited, I just have no interest in going. I’ve tried and I just can’t get into soccer.

Is it because I’m old?

There’s a good chance. I was a kid in the 1950s and 1960s. Do you know how many kids I knew who played soccer?

None.

I did not know one kid who played the game and was never asked to play. There was a mysterious organization near where I grew up called the Beadling Soccer Club. But I didn’t know anybody who belonged to it, and it was probably considered a subversive organization by the adults in my life.

Of course, I didn’t know one kid who played hockey, either, and I didn’t learn to skate until I was in my mid-30s, but I love hockey.

Maybe it’s no more complicated than the fact that I don’t have any interest in seeing humans play with a ball without using their hands. I’d probably like the sport a lot more if it was OK to pick up the ball and run with it.

I never played rugby, but I enjoy watching it every once in a while.

The best description I’ve come across for soccer was in a piece written in 2009 by Wabash College philosophy professor Stephen H. Webb, who wrote, “Think of two posses pursuing their prey in opposite directions without bullets in their guns.”

Webb also struck a chord with me when he compared soccer to baseball. He feels, as do I, that soccer is taking the place of baseball for lots of kids because it’s so much easier to join a group of kids and chase a ball around than it is to learn how to catch, throw and hit a baseball. Then there is the unavoidable individual attention that comes with each at-bat.

“The spectacle of your failure was so public that it was like having all of your friends over to your home to watch your dad force you to eat your vegetables,” Webb wrote about baseball.

North American sports such as baseball, football, basketball and hockey seem to do a better job of toughening kids up with a lot less writhing.

I still don’t get the writhing.

There’s no right or wrong here. I hope not liking soccer doesn’t make me a bad person. It’s a matter of taste. And maybe I’ll try again in four years. Meanwhile, you and the three billion other people will have to try to enjoy the party without me.

• There is no better example of the stupid and corrupt things that government will do with other people’s money than when politicians partner with teams and/or sports promoters. The waste and corruption associated with the World Cup being in Brazil is of epic proportions and will probably only be surpassed by the Olympics going there in 2016.

• In almost every case of government waste and corruption associated with the awarding of major international sporting events, it was only made possible by massive media cheerleading.

The American media, however, seems a lot more willing to expose the corruption associated with the major international events than it has been with the corruption and waste associated with the use of taxpayer funding for stadiums and arenas in cities here.

Billions have been given to major professional sports teams over the last 25 or 30 years and that has been no less wasteful or corrupt. It just happened in smaller increments. You know, only $300 or $400 million at a time.

• Am I the only person in Western Pennsylvania who doesn’t think Le’Veon Bell should be anointed the Steelers’ No. 1 running back for this season? The Steelers signed well-traveled back LeGarrette Blount as a free agent and the consensus seems to be that he will make a nice supplemental/short yardage back.

The Steelers will be Blount’s fourth team in four years and that raises a boatload of questions, but nothing in his career suggests that he should be limited to a few carries a game.

In fact, it’s the exact opposite. The more carries he gets, the better he is. Blount has carried the ball 15 times or more in 15 games. In those games, he averaged 4.95 yards a carry. He averaged more than five yards a carry eight times and more than seven yards per carry three times. He averaged less than four yards a carry only three times in those 15 games.

Bell never averaged five yards a carry in a game last season. He carried the ball 15 times or more in 12 games. In four of those, he averaged less than three yards per carry.

None of this is to say Bell stinks or even that he shouldn’t be considered the No. 1 back going into training camp. It’s just that Blount’s numbers and his highlight reel say that it should be an open competition.

John Steigerwald writes a Sunday column for the Observer-Reporter.

PEYTON MANNING OR TERRY BRADSHAW

Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk fell into the same trap that way too many writers fall into when comparing Terry Bradshaw to superstar and/or Hall of Fame quarterbacks who have come after him.

They compare his stats (apples) to theirs (oranges) without taking the differences in the eras into account. Smith found lots of ugly stats from some of Bradshaw’s post season games and he makes the mistake of saying that Bradshaw had little to do with the Steelers’ first two Super Bowl wins.

Johnny Unitas had 7 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions in the post season and put up a 68 passer rating. Quarterbacks took all their snaps from under center in those days. They had two running backs lined up behind them and rarely had more than two wide receivers in the formation.   And their offensive lineman had to keep their hands off of pass rushers. There was a penalty called illegal use of the hands. And defenders  could knock receivers on their asses whenever they felt like it as long as the ball wasn’t in the air.

When those rules were changed to the ones that Manning plays under now Bradshaw put up great numbers. It’s scary to think what  Bradshaw, who did EVERYTHING better than Manning would do in today’s flag football offenses.

You know how many touchdown passes Joe Namath threw in that famous Super Bowl win over the Colts? None. You know what his completion percentage was the week before in the AFC  championship game? 38%. The Jets won the game. His career post season completion percentage was 42%. Namath, like Bradshaw, threw the ball downfield. There was no dinking and dunking.

In 1972, on the way to winning the Super Bowl, Roger Staubach, who also did EVERYTHING better than Manning, threw for 99, 103, 119 yards and had a total of three touchdown passes in three games. In 1978, the first season under the new rules, Staubach was 7-17 and 13-25 in the two playoff games before losing to the Steelers in Super Bowl XIII.

You just can’t compare Bradshaw to modern quarterbacks with stats alone. The guys today are playing a completely different game. Compare Bradshaw to his contemporaries and he looks just fine.

BAN TOBACCO?

Tony Gwynn died on Monday from cancer. He was 54 and he died believing that his cancer was caused by over 30 years of chewing tobacco. This has caused more discussion about Major League Baseball banning tobacco. It sends a bad message to the kiddies. Quick question: What causes more disease and death, chewing tobacco or alcohol? Maybe MLB should stop taking all that advertising money from the beer companies. And maybe teams should consider eliminating beer sales at the ball park.  Fat chance.

Chuck Noll, R.I.P.

When Chuck Noll died on June 13, 2014, I wrote this obit for my weekly sports column:

They say Pittsburgh is a football town. If it is, you can thank Chuck Noll, who died Friday night at the age of 82. When he showed up to coach the Steelers in  January of 1969, Pittsburgh was anything but a football town. The Steelers were not just the laughingstock of pro football. They were the laughingstock of American sports.

In Western Pennsylvania, the Steelers were something to do during Pirates seasons and they may not have been as popular as Pitt football, which stunk every bit as much if not more in the 1960s. In order to appreciate the job that Noll did, you have to understand just how bad the Steelers were before he changed them forever.

The Steelers had never won a a championship and were 45-72-6 in the 1960s with two winning seasons. They had two winning seasons in the ’50s and three in the ’40s. That’s seven winning seasons in 29 years. And their record didn’t do them justice.

They were worse.

A month before Noll took the job, the Steelers had played in front of a “crowd” of 22,682 at Pitt Stadium. They lost of course.

Fans were rooting for them to lose so that they could take O.J. Simpson with the first pick in the draft.

When they messed that up by going 2-0-1 in weeks 7,8 and 9, the plan was to do what they almost always did on the rare occasions when they hadn’t traded their top draft picks for more bad players.

They planned to draft the best available local guy who could help them sell tickets. That’s what they did when they drafted Pitt’s Paul Martha in 1964 and West Virginia’s Dick Leftridge in 1966.

Terry Hanratty was from Butler and was the quarterback at Notre Dame. Slam dunk choice. Chuck Noll said no and picked Joe Greene.

That was the first move in what may have been the best coaching job in the history of American sports.

Every Steelers fan knows what happened in the ‘70s. The Steelers went from being the worst major professional sports team in American history to the almost universally acclaimed best pro football team in the history of the planet.

Noll undid 40 years of ineptitude and embarrassment in five years.

Drafting Joe Greene was the first sign that the team was going to be built differently.

Noll won the first game that he coached and then lost the next 13 in 1969. What did he do to shake up the team in his second training camp? He got rid of the Steelers’ best player. Roy Jefferson was a wide receiver and the Steelers’ only star. He was coming off back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons, something no other Steelers receiver would do until Hines Ward in 2001 and 2002.

Jefferson wasn’t going along with the program, so Noll traded him to Baltimore for a mediocre receiver named Willie Richardson. Keep in mind that Noll traded his only star player and one of the best wide receivers in the league after he had taken a quarterback named Terry Bradshaw with the first pick in the draft a few months earlier.

And the plan was to start Bradshaw in Week 1.

Bradshaw threw six touchdown passes and 24 interceptions his rookie year. He could have used Jefferson.

The NFL awards the Lombardi Trophy to its champion every year. The Chuck Noll Trophy might make more sense. Noll won more Super Bowls than any other coach and no NFL coach has ever done a better job than Noll did from 1969 to 1979.

Not Lombardi.

Not Shula.

Not Walsh.

All great coaches, but the teams they inherited were better than the one that Noll inherited and Noll won more Super Bowls than all of them. And he did it after his defenses had forced the NFL to change the rules to make it easier to complete a pass.

They took away his ability to totally dominate with defense, so he turned his quarterback loose and beat them with offense. And if there is another coach in a major sport who has won back-to-back championships with only players that he drafted or signed as free agents, as Noll did in 1978 and 1979, I don’t know who it is.

It would be nice if you could say that Chuck Noll’s numbers speak for themselves, but they don’t. They apparently don’t speak loud enough for him to be mentioned very often in discussions about the greatest NFL coaches.

The great thing about Noll is that he did let his accomplishments speak for themselves. He was not a self-promoter. He had no interest in having his own TV show or doing car commercials. When he retired, networks weren’t lined up to hire him as an analyst because he made it clear that he wasn’t interested.

So, Chuck Noll will probably never get the recognition that a guy with his accomplishments deserves.

And, you know what? He couldn’t care less.

What a great man.