The Pittsburgh Steelers Throwback Uniforms

Ike Taylor appreciates his throwback uniform.

The Pittsburgh Steelers Are One of the Most Decorated Teams in the NFL
The Pittsburgh Steelers have been a cornerstone of pro football since 1933. With six Super Bowl titles as well as eight AFC championship victories, the Steelers are a marquee franchise for the National Football League. Given their rich tradition, it is natural that this organization has a desire to pay tribute to the Pittsburgh teams of yesteryear by wearing throwback uniforms. However, it would be difficult for even the most unique fan in Steeler Nation to imagine more hideous apparel to represent their football team.

The Bumblebee Jailhouse Look
The 1934 Pittsburgh Steeler Nike throwback jerseys are a black and yellow striped eyesore, but they have drawn a variety of reaction since being unveiled. According to NFL.com, Pittsburgh defensive back Ike Taylor admits, “I like them. I like the throwback man. That bumblebee jailhouse look from back in the day.”

I find it hard to believe that a world renowned company like Nike would appreciate the word jail being used as an adjective to describe one of their products. For what it’s worth, the same NFL.com article notes that only 14% of voters in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette online poll liked the throwback jerseys.

The jersey numbers seem more suited for a marathon runner.

Pittsburgh Steelers Throwback Jersey Numbers Are Humongous
One of the most aesthetically unpleasant features of these uniforms is the jersey numbers. They are so big that if one did not know better it would be easy to mistake the jerseys as being for a track meet as opposed to a football game. The uniforms might be more tolerable if Nike had decided to go with black pants, or a more defined yellow color of leg wear. Instead, they went with a washed out yellow and khaki color that adds to this fashion faux pas.

Real old school football.

NFL Throwback Week
I would like to take this opportunity to make a suggestion to the National Football League. Instead of allowing certain teams to wear throwback uniforms during a given contest, schedule an entire throwback week during the regular season and go all the way with it. Mandate that all teams wear the leather helmets from back in the day. This would be a major deterrent for players who insist on leading with their helmet or facemask. Furthermore, think of the television ratings for this proposed week. People who are not avid NFL fans would likely watch out of curiosity.

Georgia vs Florida Football Classic – The History

The Bulldogs will have to fight for every yard.

Georgia Versus Florida for First Place in the SEC East
This Saturday afternoon promises to be a case of the irresistible force meeting the immovable object, as the Georgia Bulldogs try to turn back the gridiron challenge of the undefeated Florida Gators. Florida is the number two ranked team in the Bowl Championship Series, and the Gators are arguably the hottest team in all of college football right now. Conversely, Georgia is coming off an uninspiring victory against the Kentucky Wildcats. On the bright side, the Bulldogs are once again in control of their fate in the SEC East after the Gators chomped on the South Carolina Gamecocks last weekend.

The Florida-Georgia Classic
The artist formerly known as “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” underwent a name change in light of all the drunken debauchery that has taken place in Jacksonville over the years. There is no specific trophy given out to the winner of the game, but maybe a prize should be given to the university that has the least amount of students arrested.

The History of the Georgia-Florida Football Classic
The Georgia Bulldogs and the Florida Gators have shared a mutual disdain on the football field for almost 100 years. The rivalry began in 1915, where it played out in a number of different locations in Georgia and Florida respectively. The game has been permanently held in Jacksonville since 1933, and has been contested there every year with the exception of ’94 and ’95 because of stadium remodeling.

Georgia needs to hit Florida hard to set the tone on Saturday.

The two universities cannot even be civil long enough to agree on a series record because Georgia counts a game contested in 1904, even though Florida argues they were not established as a university until 1906. Since we are a Georgia blog, we will stand by the Bulldogs’ claim of leading the overall series with a record of 48 wins, 40 losses, and two ties.

 1942: Widest Margin of Victory in the History of the Georgia-Florida Series
The most one-sided affair in the history of this match-up occurred way back in 1942. At the time, Georgia featured a supreme backfield of Frank Sinkwhich and Charley Trippi.  As for Florida, the Gators  lost the majority of their most experienced players that year because they were serving in World War II. Georgia dominated the game, mauling Florida by a final count of 75-0. Frank Sinkwhich captured the 1942 Heisman Trophy, and Charley Trippi is universally remembered as one of the best athletes in the history of Georgia football.

1964: Vince Dooley Brings Georgia Consistent Success in Clashes with Florida
Upon becoming the head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs in 1964, Vince Dooley inherited a team that had lost ten out of its last twelve football games against the Florida Gators. At the beginning of his coaching tenure in Athens, Dooley was only able to achieve moderate success against the hated foes from Florida, as his record started with a pedestrian three wins, three losses, and one tie during his first eight seasons between the hedges. However, Coach Dooley found a way to change his fortune against UF, as the Bulldogs would feast on the Gators in 14 of the remaining 19 games that Vince Dooley was patrolling the sidelines.

1980: Georgia Wide Receiver Lindsay Scott Runs for His Life
The Georgia-Florida football game has produced some of the most unique moments in Georgia football history. 1980 in particular provided what is quite possibly the most unforgettable play-by-play in Georgia history, as incomparable Georgia announcer Larry Munson pleaded with Georgia wide receiver Lindsay Scott to keep running after then Bulldog quarterback Buck Belue completed a pass to Scott as the Dawgs were trailing by a point with 90 seconds left in the contest. The result saved Georgia’s season, as the Bulldogs prevailed by a final score of 26-21.



The meeting in 1980 also featured a superhuman effort from legendary Georgia running back Herschel Walker. Walker carried the ball 37 times during the game, for a whopping total of 287 yards, which may explain some of the reason that Lindsay Scott found himself so open on that fateful play.



1985: Georgia Strips the Gators of the Number One Rank in the Nation
One of the most satisfying aspects of defeating a bitter rival is crushing their championship aspirations en route to the triumph. This was precisely the case  when the Bulldogs met number one ranked Florida in in this chapter of the storied feud. In what is hopefully a sign of things to come, Georgia had two first freshman tailbacks (Tim Worley and Keith Henderson) carry the ball for over 100 yards in a 24-3 stunner over the previously unblemished Gators. The loss kept Florida out of national championship consideration, as they finished #5 in the Associated Press poll. (Note: The weather was rainy during that ball game. Does anybody know a good rain dance?)

1997: Georgia Finally Beats a Steve Spurrier Coached Football Team
As the Bulldogs began the 1997 season, Florida head coach Steve Spurrier had been torturing the Georgia Bulldogs since he started as the Florida Gators head football coach in 1990. This included an instance in 1995 when Spurrier’s Gators put 52 points on the scoreboard in Athens because Spurrier wanted to be the first visiting coach to accomplish that. Spurrier stated, “We heard no one had ever done that before.”

Steve Spurrier has never called a play he did not like.

When these two teams squared off in 1997, Bulldog Nation was desperate to shut the brash Gator coach up. Dawg fans finally had their day on November 1 of that year. Former Georgia quarterback and current offensive coordinator Mike Bobo led Georgia to a 37-17 win over Florida. According to Sports Illustrated, this game was Florida’s worst regular season loss in nearly five years. Even coach Spurrier had to admit that the better team won that day as he remarked,  “Mike Bobo had some good passes and they blocked better than we did. I don’t know what else to say except they were better than us.” 1997 was the only year that Georgia ever beat Steve Spurrier while he was the coach at Florida.

2007: Georgia’s Impromptu End Zone Celebration
When Florida and Georgia renewed their annual rivalry in 2007, the Bulldogs had just one victory over the Gators since 1997. Mark Richt and his pack of Dawgs had grown tired of being Gator bait, and Georgia was ravenous for anything that may change their luck in Jacksonville. When Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno scored a touchdown at the six minute mark of the first quarter to give the Bulldogs the lead, Bulldog Nation proceeded  to party like it was 1980. Thankfully, Georgia maintained their momentum and found a way to win the football game, because losing after all those shenanigans would have been embarrassing. (Celebration highlighted at the 2:12 mark.)



All Aboard the Mark Richt Mediocrity Express
The forthcoming battle with Florida will determine the fate of the 2012 Georgia Bulldog football team. Either the Dawgs will bite, scratch, and claw their way to a win, or Georgia will simply roll over as the Bulldogs take yet another signature loss, allowing the Gators to clinch the SEC East. Regardless of what happens for the rest of the regular season, this one game will define the legacy of this Georgia football team.

In order for the Bulldogs to be victorious, the Mark Richt mediocrity express must come to a screeching halt this Saturday afternoon in Jacksonville. If Georgia is able to pick up the victory, it will be the first time in over two decades that the Bulldogs earn consecutive wins over Florida.

Evaluating Nick Saban’s Success at Alabama – Discipline Leads to Dominance

Saban Arrives At Alabama
Since his arrival at the University of Alabama, Nick Saban has been obsessed with maximizing his potential. According to IMG Athletics, coach Saban has a remote control to his office so that he does not have to spend three seconds shutting the door. Saban has mastered everything in his work routine so that he gets the most out of every second of time in his day.

Coach Saban has turned his meticulous planning into a masterpiece while leading Alabama to a national championship victory in 2009, and again in 2011. The Tide have a chance to repeat as BCS National Champions this season, which would be an unprecedented accomplishment in college football. Let us examine how Nick Saban has been able to achieve unparalleled success at the University of Alabama.

Nick Saban is a Disciplinarian
Coach Saban has authored many memorable quotes since becoming the head coach in Tuscaloosa. A favorite Nick Saban jewel:

There are two pains in life, the pain of discipline, and the pain of disappointment. If you can handle the pain of discipline, then you’ll never have to deal with the pain of disappointment.

One of the main reasons that the University of Alabama is at the very top of college football is because their head coach is committed to discipline on and off of the gridiron. As such, Alabama fields a roster of players who realize that they can be replaced very quickly if they fail to fulfill their commitment to the Crimson Tide football program on or off of the playing field.

Coach Saban’s Vision Keeps the Top Football Recruits Coming to Alabama
With the exception of Nick Saban’s first year as Alabama head coach in 2007, the Crimson Tide has had a top five rated recruiting class every year that the coach has been in Tuscaloosa. Football players that decide to enroll at Alabama know that they will be given an opportunity to succeed. The Crimson Tide had eight players drafted in the 2012 NFL Draft. When IMG Athletics did a profile on the current Alabama head coach, they realized he had a plan for everything. IMG Academics reports, “He has a detailed program for his players to follow, and he’s highly regimented. Above all, Saban keeps his players focused on execution…rather than results.”


Alabama’s Defense is Dominant

The Alabama team that won the national championship last season overwhelmed the opposition. According to Coaching Search, the 2011 Tide led the country in the following categories: scoring defense, total defense, rushing defense, passing defense, and third-down conversions. Furthermore, Alabama held opponents to just 183 yards per game on average, while giving up just 8.15 points per contest.

Alabama Does Not Make Big Mistakes on Either Side of the Football
It is understandable that the Crimson Tide defense gets a lot of hype. However, the evolution of Alabama’s offense under Nick Saban cannot be overlooked. Coaching Search reveals an eye-popping comparison between the 2011 Alabama Crimson Tide defense, and the defensive unit of the Oregon Ducks, noting that Alabama’s defensive unit played 357 fewer snaps than Oregon. This total amounts to around five games.  Alabama’s offense is becoming so efficient that the Tide are rolling over every team in their path.

Nick Saban is Never Satisfied with his Alabama Football Team
Coach Saban has won a total of three national titles, and he continues to be driven toward achieving extraordinary success. Such a thing comes from his focus on the journey as opposed to the end result.

Upon signing an extension with the University of Alabama back in March, Coach Saban offered his thoughts on the future of Alabama football, “From my standpoint, the acceptance of this extension represents our commitment – my commitment, our family’s commitment – to the University of Alabama for the rest of our career, the process of repeating as national champion requires more attention. It can’t be about trying to prove something, because you’ve kind of already done that. It needs to be about, do you want to be the best you can be? Are you driven to be the best player you can be? Are you driven to have the intensity, the sense of urgency, the intelligence? Are you going to work to do the things you need to do to be your absolute best?

For readers out there who are not Alabama fans, we recommend hoping that coach Nick Saban is planning an early retirement. His current deal with the University of Alabama expires in 2020.

Aaron Murray – NFL Prospect?

Aaron Murray has been a good Dawg.

Aaron Murray is in the middle of his third season as the starting quarterback for the University of Georgia football team. After beginning the 2012 campaign as a dark horse Heisman candidate, Murray has had a good first half for the Bulldogs. While his career numbers at Georgia are tremendous, (7685 yards, 71 touchdowns) there are more questions than answers about how well the junior QB translates to the NFL.

Aaron Murray is Short. (Relative to NFL Standards)
According to NFL Draft Scout Aaron Murray is currently rated as the third best quarterback in his class, behind Tyler Bray, who is 6’5″ tall and Logan Thomas who stands at 6’6″. Unless Aaron Murray has a master plan to grow four inches in approximately the next 16 months, his lack of height is going to be an issue. The current Georgia QB is listed at 6’1″ tall and weighs approximately 210 pounds,  Despite his stature, Murray is a good athlete who works hard to get better on the football field. Because of this, NFL Draft Scout reasons that in order to make up for his lack of size, Murray must move around in the pocket at the next level to see the whole field.

Aaron Murray Must Learn to Throw the Football Away
The Georgia signal caller has struggled with turning the football over in critical situations throughout his career in Athens. Most of these miscues have come as a result of him trying to force a play when nothing is there. Murray must be willing to give up on certain plays and move on to the next down. In the same vein, Murray must learn to take care of his body and avoid unnecessary hits.

Aaron Murray Should Return to Georgia as a Senior
Aaron Murray is a skilled quarterback who will get a chance to be successful in the NFL. As for how many hurdles he has to overcome first, some of that is up to Murray. It would be a mistake for him to turn pro after this season. Murray needs to come back for his senior year at Georgia to test his ability against  Alabama, LSU, and South Carolina (among others) one more time.

Aaron Murray has the arm to make it in the NFL.

Aaron Murray Can Prove the Doubters Wrong
ESPN draft analyst  Mel Kiper was asked in an ESPN SportsNation chat who he thought had a better opportunity as a pro prospect between Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson, and UGA quarterback Aaron Murray. His answer? “Wilson, by a lot.” The fact is that everyone who pays attention to the sport of football has an opinion on who will be great and who will be a bust. There is no scout in the history of football that has been right 100% of the time. Just ask former first overall picks like Jamarcus Russel, Ryan Leaf, and David Carr about how good draft experts are.

So, I’ll Chime in with my expertise. Can Aaron Murray make it in the NFL?
Yes he can.  Aaron Murray will need time to develop his game and adjust to the high level of play in pro football. He needs to be drafted by a team that can help him grow as a passer, as opposed to being picked up by a team hoping for a quick fix.  Projection: fifth round pick if he leaves after this season. If he waits until after his senior year, he will likely be a third round draft choice.

Who Will Be the Next Head Coach at the University of Georgia?

Looking into the future? Kirby Smart might ultimately end up where his coaching career began.

My co-author Barrie posted an article last week centered around the coaching futures of Mark Richt and Paul Johnson. Barrie’s conclusion was that Paul Johnson is likely to remain the head man in Atlanta at Georgia Tech for longer than his in state rival is the head man in Athens at UGA. Naturally, this made me wonder who the next face of Georgia Bulldog football will be. As a result of said pondering, I have compiled a list of coaches that may be considered to replace Mark Richt as the next head football coach at the University of Georgia.

1. Todd Grantham- The most obvious choice on this list, Todd Grantham has been impressive in his defensive coordinator/associate head coach role at UGA. Grantham has been successful as a coordinator in the NFL as well, which is a major selling point in recruiting. However, Todd. Grantham has never been a head coach, and whoever the next head man in Athens is, he will be expected to get the Bulldogs into national championship contention immediately.

I wonder if Mr. Peterson would want Georgia to invest in a red field?

2. Chris Peterson- The current head coach at Boise State, Chris Peterson’s name seems to come up whenever a big time college football gig is available. He cannot stay on that ridiculous blue field forever, right? Chris Peterson has made a career out of winning big games in Boise, something that Georgia’s current coach is really struggling with.

3. Mike Bobo- Cue the moans, groans, and obscenities. Despite his obvious ties to the University of Georgia, Mike Bobo is probably the least likely  candidate for the next head football coach at the University of Georgia. UGA, and athletic director Greg McGarity, are going to want a big name with a more impressive resume. Which leads me to…

4. Urban Meyer- The ultimate wildcard on an otherwise reasonable list, Urban Meyer is a little busy being the head coach at Ohio State. Even so, it is not like coaching contracts are set in stone.  My guess is that even if he was offered a ridiculous amount of money Urban Meyer would never consider getting back into the competitive grind of the Southeastern Conference because of his prior health issues.

5. Kirby Smart- My co-author Barrie presented a very compelling argument to me last week about why Smart would be the wise choice for the next head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs. Kirby Smart has worked under Nick Saban in Alabama long enough to see how a prominent program in the SEC is built. Smart is also a University of Georgia alum, who would probably be intrigued with the idea of leading his alma-mater back to national prominence.

6. Charlie Strong-The current head coach at Louisville had success at South Carolina as the defensive coordinator before taking the head job at the Ville. Charlie Strong will probably not answer the phone if Georgia does call, as he seems to be the popular pick to clean up Bobby Petrino’s mess in Arkansas.

Did I miss someone that you think would be a good candidate? Comment below!

Georgia vs Kentucky 2012 – The Bulldogs Head to Lexington

Georgia figures to skin the Wildcats.

In week eight of the 2012 college football season, Georgia ventures to the Bluegrass State to take on the Kentucky Wildcats. Bouncing back from their deflating road loss at South Carolina will be the number one priority for the Bulldogs, as they try to get back on track against Kentucky before hitting the road to Jacksonville next week.

UGA’s offensive line had a pitiful showing their last time out, so it will be important for them to push a lesser opponent around and get some confidence back. Georgia’s contest against Kentucky should be a glorified tune-up for a Bulldog team that is still in the thick of the SEC East race. It is critical for Georgia’s offense that the running back tandem of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall get back to form.  It will be equally crucial for UGA quarterback Aaron Murray’s uniform to stay clean while he is able to throw the football comfortably from the pocket.

The above point is not a slight against Kentucky. Joker Phillips and company play hard, but that has not resulted in a lot of wins this year for the Wildcats. In fact, Kentucky has had some particularly bad losses including coming up short in an overtime battle against Western Kentucky. The Wildcats usually have a heated in-state rivalry with Louisville over state supremacy, but this year the Cats could not top the Hilltoppers.

There is one thing that these two Southeastern Conference schools have in common: They are both experiencing an identity crisis. The Bulldogs want to be a consistent factor in the Bowl Championship Series, and the Wildcats have aspirations of playing in a bowl game at the end of each season. Lately when the time has come for each school to produce in a critical situation, neither team has been able to take the steps necessary to accomplish their goal. As a result, both Georgia head coach Mark Richt, and Kentucky head man joker Phillips face tough questions about the state of their football team.

What does this all mean for Bulldog Nation? Likely an easy win over a down opponent, but Georgia must play solid football for sixty minutes, as the Dawgs start putting the pieces back together after South Carolina knocked them over. It is time for UGA to make a statement; particularly to the rest of the Southeastern Conference that the road debacle in week six was an aberration and not a trend. The Bulldogs are at a crossroads as a football team, and this Saturday night is only the start of getting back on track.

Better Quote: Les Miles (LSU) or Steve Spurrier (South Carolina)

On October 13, 2012, the red hot South Carolina Gamecocks will travel to Baton Rouge to take on the wounded LSU Tigers. This post has absolutely nothing to do with who will pick up the win in this crucial Southeastern Conference Saturday night showdown. Rather, we would like to pay tribute to each team’s head coach. More specifically, both Les Miles and Steve Spurrier each have their own unique gift of gab when they are in front of a microphone.

les_milesThe Quotable Les Miles features musings from the head man at LSU himself. Allow me to take this opportunity to share some of our favorites, documented straight from the mouth of the “Mad Hatter.” Les Miles on Louisiana women and football: “This is the greatest football state in America. It’s a place where women understand what it means and how to play it.”

The head coach at LSU also offered his opinion on the state of Louisiana producing talented football players, “Louisiana has a heritage of great players that play their high school football within the boundaries of Louisiana.”  Finally, Mr. Miles shares his thoughts on giving truthful interviews as he observed, “The only thing I can tell you is that I am relatively honest, and somewhat deceptive.”

steve_spurrier_micWhen it comes to the Ole’ Ball Coach, we tend to have a love-hate relationship with Mr. Spurrier. Even though he can get a little whiny sometimes, it is hard not to appreciate his visor throwing ways. While at Florida in the mid 90′s, Steve Spurrier was asked what he thought about the Gators chances’ of beating Georgia. His response, “Is Ray Goof still the head coach there?” This was in reference to former Georgia Bulldog head coach Ray Goff.

Steve Spurrier has made a habit of mocking his opposition. When Spurrier decided to try his hand in the NFL, he was asked if he thought coaching in the pros would be more difficult than coaching college football. He replied, “I think so, there are no Vanderbilts in the NFL.”

I for one hope that there are multiple sideline interviews with these head coaches on Saturday night. When coach Spurrier used the phrase “pooped around” to describe the Gamecocks offense in the first half of last weekend’s Georgia game against South Carolina, it was the only time I laughed all night. Steve Spurrier and Les Miles should have television microphones on for the duration of tonight’s top ten battle. The material would be endless. Whose quotes do you enjoy reading more? Comments below!

Georgia Bye Week: Fact or Fiction on the State of the Bulldogs

jadeveon_clowney

Jadeveon Clowney’s performance last Saturday night made me consider joining the circus.

Fact or fiction, Georgia bye week style.
1. Last weekend was no big deal, South Carolina was just one game. Fiction: Georgia was outclassed by a much better football team. My co-author Barrie is absolutely correct in his analysis that a disturbing trend continues to develop in Athens.

2.  Georgia can still represent the SEC East in Atlanta. Fact: They can.  However, If the Bulldogs do repeat as the SEC East champion in 2012, it will be because of their soft schedule. At this point, Georgia is more likely to cap off the season in Atlanta playing in the Chic-Fil-A Bowl as opposed to competing for a championship.

3. Mark Richt needs to be fired. Right now, that is fiction. However, the University of Georgia needs to pay close attention to how the Bulldogs play for the rest of the season. This question should be reviewed at the conclusion of Georgia’s 2012 campaign. Let’s face it, in big time college football very few coaches are off of the hot seat for a long period of time.

4. Mike Bobo is a terrible playcaller!  Fiction: As I mentioned above, Georgia was outplayed from the first drive until the final whistle this past Saturday in Columbia.  In fact, the Dawgs seemed content to be a passenger while the Gamecocks drove them up and down the field. Play calling is impossible to do when you cannot block your opponent.

5. Georgia has a lot to play for the rest of this year. Fact: Georgia’s ability to respond to adversity and show the pride that they seemed to lack last weekend will be critical to the immediate future of the University of Georgia football program. UGA’s trip to Jacksonville will be even more critical this time around. 

6. If the University of Georgia wins the Southeastern Conference, they could still contend for a national championship in 2012. Fiction: Georgia has a long way to go to contend for a national title. Last weekend, UGA found out that it takes much more than simply showing up to compete with their peers.

Pre-Game Sights and Sounds: UGA-Tennessee 9/29/2012

Quick video collection of some of the pregame sights and sounds we saw prior to the UGA-Tennessee game. Tennessee band…UGA band marching, my wife Angela ringing the chapel bell (an incredible tradition we will write about another time) and some good old chanting. Also…Herschel Walker was on the field at the game…still huge and looks like he still does lots of pushups!

Thanks to Chris and Teresa Davis!