January 29, 2009
Everyone in the Cardinals organization, from the head coach down to the practice squad players, has been very careful not to give the Steelers any bulletin-board material this week. If they've mentioned the Steelers at all, it's been only to talk about their great respect for them.
That's not by accident, either. They're being deliberately careful not to provoke the Steelers, and so far, they haven't. And that's why I'm guessing that Ken Whisenhunt would like to strangle Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon today.
Mayor Gordon and Big Red, the Cardinals mascot, held up a Terrible Towel at a rally yesterday, and Big Red used it to wipe his armpits. He then gave the towel to the mayor, who pretended to blow his nose on it, and then threw it on the ground. You can see footage of the towel desecreation here.
If you think the Steelers are above getting mad over such a petty little thing, you'd be mistaken. After the Titans beat the Steelers earlier in the season, a few Titans players stomped on a Terrible Towel. And even later in the playoffs, after the Titans lost a game that would've set up a rematch with the Steelers, linebacker Larry Foote told Jim Wyatt of the Tennesseean that he was still upset by it.
"That's what they get for trying to humiliate us and rub it in, for not showing any class," Pittsburgh linebacker Larry Foote said. "We wanted to play them again, but they couldn't hold up their end of the bargain. That's what they get for stomping on the towel. We're stepping on them right now."
As dumb as this stuff might seem to you or me, it really does make a difference to some players. Being "disrespected" makes players angry. Anger, even if it stems from something trivial and childish, can motivate a guy in a way that even winning can't. Anger works.
For his part, the mayor has apologized, saying, "At no time did anyone intend, in any way, to offend the Steelers organization and their many fans, supporters and traditions." So I guess the mayor sees it as an honor for an object to be bathed in his snot. I'll be honest with you: I'd vote for a guy with such holy snot.
Keep checking Shutdown Corner throughout the week, and we'll keep you apprised of any further developments with Mayor Gordon's snot.
Gracias, Awful Announcing.
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