Mean Gene Sees the Future…But Not the Good Stuff

Tuesday, January 24th, 2006, 10:17 pm

Mario Lemieux retired today, this time for good. The greatest talent in hockey history gave us an treasure trove of great memories, 2 Stanley Cups, and, hell, he saved the team from extinction. He’s the greatest athlete in Pittsburgh sports history, bar none. And this is a guy who had serious back and hip problems, then Hodgkins disease, retired for four years…and came back as the best player in the league. This time it was heart problems that finally ended his time on the ice.

On ESPN Darren Pang and Barry Melrose said Gretzky was the better player, and I agree with that only by including the qualifier Melrose used, that you have to include longevity into the equasion. Lemieux played 500 games fewer than Gretzky–that’s six full seasons. All because of injury and life-threatening illness. He also had to play in a far different NHL than the Great One. If you ever see old NHL games on ESPN Classic it’s like watching an afternoon all-skate compared to the WWF on Ice that Mario had to deal with for the bulk of his career. Mario also didn’t have the same supporting cast as Gretzky, who played on perhaps the greatest team in NHL history. Still, Super Mario is one of the titans. I just hope the Penguins aren’t playing in Las Vegas or Kansas City this time next year.

But that isn’t what I used my Nostradamus-like forcasting skills to predict. No, yesterday I emailed some of my more insane friends to ask them what I thought was a pressing question–as the home team in Super Bowl XL, would the Steelers wear their traditional black jerseys or stay with their Road Warrior whites? Everyone I spoke to thought I was crazy–of COURSE they’d wear their home blacks. They are the Black and Gold, are they not? I tended to agree, though I didn’t like the idea of breaking any kind of karmic continuum by switching colors. Plus, by wearing our black jersey’s we’d force the Seahawks to wear their ludicrous away outfits, which make them look like the Pacific Northwest’s version of the Montreal Alouettes.

But I had a feeling. I knew Cowher had his press conference today and I knew that someone would ask him the question, and I had a feeling that the Steelers would go against tradition and wear their white jerseys. And, sure enough, after enough refreshes of the Post-Gazette website I saw that my intuition had been spot on.

I kid you not when I say that tomorrow this will be the hot topic of conversation. Passions will be aroused. People are gonna be pissed and pleased. Personally, I’m totally down with this. As you know from my previous posts I’ve got some issues regarding superstitions. If it ain’t broke, don’t change it. By “it”, I mean “anything”. Maybe Big Ben sees his receivers better when they’re in white. I don’t think the Steelers are going to abandon their dark home jerseys a la the Cowboys and Redskins, but for this game, I approve.

Though, if they lose, I will blame it all on this one decision.

But they won’t lose.

Not in their white jerseys.

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2 Responses to “Mean Gene Sees the Future…But Not the Good Stuff”

  1. Mike Says:

    Great commentary on both Lemieux and the Steelers. Being objectively loyal to both franchises, and living two hours north of the Burgh, I’m agreeing with all you say. Super Mario by far is the greatest athlete in Pittsburgh Sports History, and the Steelers, in their home jerseys, will emerge from XL victorious. 31-24 is my call.

  2. Ken Says:

    Good man! You were starting to get close to normal. Fixate FiXaTe FIXATE!!!


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