Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Great balls of fire, it's a hockey night in Pittsburgh! Your Pittsburgh Penguins close out 2014 tonight as they host the Carolina Hurricanes at Consol Energy Center. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)Carolina rides into Pittsburgh losers of 2 straight. If it's 3, it's for me! 2)The Pens are try to stop a season-worst 4 game slide. Nothing could be fina than a win over Carolina! 3)The Pens have a 13-5-1 mark on home ice. Carolina has a record of 4-14-2 on the road. Ring in the New Year with a win and some Goals, Goals, Goals!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


     Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Your Pittsburgh Steelers wrapped up the regular season with a 27-17 win over the Cincy Bungles on Sunday night, winning the AFC North title in the process. Mrs. Black-N-Gold brings you The Good, The Bad and The Ugly from Sunday night's victory.

The Good-The Steelers had much to be proud of on this night, returning to the postseason for the first time since 2011. QB Ben Roethlisberger overcame a stomach virus, going 24 of 38 for 317 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception with a 96.1 passer rating. Ben finished the season tied for the league lead in passing yards at 4,952, setting a new Steelers record. Ben had tremendous help from the offensive line which did not allow a sack. The defense pitched in, too. DE Cam Heyward, LB Shaun Spence and LB Jason Worilds each registered a sack. CB Brice McCain had not 1 but 2 interceptions. CB Antwon Blake came up with a key fumble recovery on a 4th quarter drive that set up the 63 yard touchdown pass from Ben to WR Antonio Brown to seal the victory. Speaking of AB, kudos to him for another outstanding performance. He returned a punt 71 yards in the 1st quarter for his first TD return of the season. He also caught 7 passes for 128 yards and 1 touchdown. As a matter of fact, give AB the game ball for his Pro Bowl-season. #84 became the first Steelers receiver in history to lead the league in receiving yards with 1,698 and receptions with 129 on his way to 13 TDs. Yes, there is no doubt in anyone's minds what Brown can do for the Steelers. Way to go, AB!

The Bad-There were 2 things that were bad about this game. First and foremost is the knee injury suffered by Steelers MVP RB Le'Veon Bell. An MRI yesterday showed no structural damage, thankfully. However, the word is it's a hyperextended knee and makes Bell doubtful for Saturday's showdown with the Baltimorons. Only time will tell if he's feeling better as the week progresses, whether or not Bell will suit up for the game. The other "bad" was that awful fake punt that led to a 4th quarter interception by P Brad Wing. Seriously, you're clinging to a 20-17 4th quarter lead at your opponent's 45 yard line and you want to try a fake punt on 4th and 9? I know, I know, if the fake were successful, we'd all be singing the praises of the Genius Mike Tomlin. But it wasn't and we're not. It's boneheaded moves like this that make Mrs. Black-N-Gold want to check Coach Cliche's credentials.

The Ugly-I could take the easy route and say it's the Baltimorons and the majority of their moronic fans but that's just being lazy. Instead, I'll say that it will be VERY ugly on Saturday night if the Steelers don't develop a Plan B should Bell not answer the bell on Saturday.  Is it practice squad RB Josh Harris? Rookie RB Dri Archer? Or both? Either way, the Steelers cannot allow themselves to be one-dimensional against such a formidable opponent as the Baltimorons.

Remember, it's one and done. All of Steeler Nation looks forward to this highly anticipated rematch against the much-disliked Baltimorons. See you Saturday night. Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!

Monday, December 29, 2014


I'll be cow-kicked, it's a great day for hockey! Your Pittsburgh Penguins take their show on the road as they faceoff against the Devils in New Jersey tonight. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)The Pens are on a 3 game slide, coming off Saturday's 3-0 loss to the Craps. Shut the door on loss #4. Find the net and the win column! 2)Coming off a loss to the Strangers on Saturday, 3-1, the Devils are in the midst of their own 3 game losing streak. Give 'em one more with loss #4! 3)The Devils are a not-so-impressive 28th in the league in goals per game, scoring a paltry 2.1 per game. The Pens are at #3, averaging 3.0 per game. Crank up the Motley Crue and the Goals, Goals, Goals! Let's Go Pens!!!

Sunday, December 28, 2014


Here we go, Steelers, here we go! Your Pittsburgh Steelers kickoff their final regular season game tonight as they battle the Cincy Bungles for the AFC North title at Heinz Field. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)The 10-5 Steelers have won 3 straight. #4 would be great! 2)Cincy has the 5th best running game in the league, averaging 135.4 yards per game. The Steelers D is ranked 6th best in the NFL against the run, holding opponents to 99.3 yards rushing per game. Hit 'em early, hit 'em often, hit 'em HARD! 3)The Steelers offense is ranked 2nd in the league putting up 415.4 yards per game and 27.3 points per game. A win tonight would not only assure the Steelers of the division title but also of a home playoff game. Ben needs to continue to put the ball in the hands of his playmakers to lead the Steelers to victory. Score early, score often, score BIG! Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!

Saturday, December 27, 2014


Get in the fast lane, Grandma, the bingo game is ready to roll 'cause it's a hockey night in Pittsburgh! Your Pittsburgh Penguins hit the home ice of Consol Energy Center tonight against the Washington Craps. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)The Pens look to avoid their 3rd loss in a row. I say No, No, No! 2)Don't look now but the Craps have the #1 power play in the league at 25%. The Pens are 3rd in the NHL on the penalty kill with an 86.8% clip. Don't let them take advantage of the man-advantage. Meanwhile, Washington has one of the worst penalty kills in the NHL, 25th at 77.4%. The Pens have the 5th ranked power play at 23.9%. Man-up, Pens! 3)The Pens are a stellar 13-4-1 at home. Get the house rockin' with the Crue and the Goals, Goals, Goals! Let's Go Pens!!!

Friday, December 26, 2014


     This Sunday night, your Pittsburgh Steelers will battle the Cincy Bungles at Heinz Field for sole possession of the AFC North title. The Steelers already clinched a trip to the postseason but a win over Cincy could help them secure a home field playoff game and/or a bye. Sunday night, the Black-N-Gold faithful may witness the last game in Pittsburgh for one of the greatest players the NFL has ever known, S Troy Polamalu.

     It wasn't so long ago that Troy was "Super" Troy, faster than speeding a running back, more powerful than a bull-rushing offensive lineman, able to leap tall wide receivers in a single bound. Unfortunately, Troy's all-out, balls-to-the-wall-style of play has wreaked havoc with his body. He can't do they things that he wants to do to help the Steelers win.

     Oh, how we long for the days of old. There have been so many phenomenal plays from this one individual, it's hard to pick just one favorite.  Remember the pick-6 against the Baltimorons in the AFC Championship Game? How about the time he hurdled the offensive line against Tennessee? And the non-interception in the AFC Championship Game versus Indy?

     Who would have thought when the Steelers traded up in the 2003 draft to pick a safety out of USC #16 overall, that we would be rewarded with such greatness.  Most people couldn't even pronounce his name much less know who he was. 8 times trip to the Pro Bowl, 5 times an All Pro, 5 times AFC Defensive Player of the Week, 2010 Defensive Player of the Year, 2 time Super Bowl Champion and a certain first-ballot Hall of Famer. The list goes on and on. Now he is revered lovingly by the Steelers faithful merely as "Troy".

     The shame of it is that the years of wear and tear on his amazing specimen of a body have caught up to this great warrior. All those times he launched himself as a long-haired missile at opposing players, he was taking years off of his career. At 33 years old, he's become a shell of his former self.

     Mrs. Black-N-Gold used to think there was no uglier sight in the world than when RB Franco Harris was totting the rock for the Seattle Seahawks. Or seeing C Mike Webster line up for the Kansas City Chiefs. I was wrong. It's such a sad sight to see Troy desperately trying to be Troy for us every Sunday when his body has deserted him. I think he knows it and we fans know it. We just don't want to admit it.

     Troy missed last Sunday's game against Kansas City due to a bum knee. His status for this Sunday night is up in the air, much like Troy used to be when tackling players on the other side of the ball. Mrs. Black-N-Gold knows that Christmas is over but she still has one last item on her Christmas list: A chance for Troy to be Troy. One more time.

     Tears are welling up in my eyes as I type this, just as they did a few weeks ago. A local radio station ran an interview with Troy. To me, it sounded like he knows the end is near. They also talked of all the great things Troy has done for this team, this city both on the field and off. He is the greatest safety to play the game. Ever.

     Sunday night, I'll be wearing my #43 jersey and cheering him on like never before. It may be the last chance we get to enjoy Troy being Troy. Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!


Wednesday, December 24, 2014


     An open letter to Santa from Mrs. Black-N-Gold:

      Dearest Santa,
I have been a very good girl this year and would appreciate the following things, not for me but for my favorite sports teams. Ok, since I bleed Black-N-Gold, the gifts are for me as well. I'll be sure to leave you a Primanti Sammich, an ice cold Iron City and an Eat N' Park Smiley Cookie for your troubles. Oh, and if could have your reindeer leave something special in the stockings of all the Philly Cryer, Baltimoron and St Louie Cardinal fans, that would be really cool, too. Thanks!


Mrs. Black-N-Gold

For The Pittsburgh Steelers-The defense has worked so hard to improve. Please give them more sacks and turnovers. Please give Coach Tomlin a thesaurus. He "obviously" needs to learn some new words. I know S Troy Polamalu's days are numbered. I also know that he is the best safety to ever play the game. He is a pillar of the community, too, with all of his philanthropic work. Please, Santa, please help Troy to be Troy one more time. That would be a great gift to all Steelers fans. And, as always, please give them a seventh Super Bowl trophy. Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!

For The Pittsburgh Penguins-Please give them good health. A mumps vaccine would be ideal. Please continue to give them the grit and determination that they need to proceed on their path to the playoffs. Give G Marc-Andre Fleury the Vezina Trophy. He deserves it. He's been playing lights-out. And, as always, please give them a fourth Stanley Cup. Let's Go Pens!!!

For The Pittsburgh Pirates-Please give both Pedro Alvarez and his agent a clue. Have them realize that the profitable and prudent thing for Pedro to do this offseason is to suck up his pride and attack the first base position with gusto, regaining his power-stroke in the process. Don't let Pedro sit and pout about the fact that he threw (or overthrew) away his third base job. Help RH AJ Burnett return to his form of 2012-2013. Give AJ the stuff to prove that last season's dreadful 8-18 record with Philly was a phluke. Please give C Francisco Cervelli good health and some of Russell Martin's catching DNA. And, as always, please give them a sixth World Series trophy. Let's Go Bucs!!!!!

Merry Christmas from Mrs. Black-N-Gold and the Big Bossman!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


Scratch my back with a hacksaw, it's a great day for hockey! Your Pittsburgh Penguins continue their road trip south as they faceoff tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)Tampa Bay is 2nd in the league in goals per game at 3.2. The Pens are on their heals at #3 with 3.1 per game. Light up Tampa Bay with Goals, Goals, Goals! 2)The Pens look to get back in the win column tonight following last night's shootout loss to Florida. Put pucks on the net and a W in the win column! 3)The Pens have defeated Tampa Bay in 10 straight. #11 would be great. Let's Go Pens!!!

Monday, December 22, 2014


     We got a feeling, Pittsburgh's going to the Super Bowl! Your Pittsburgh Steelers punched their ticket to the postseason yesterday defeating the Kansas City Chiefs 20-12. Mrs. Black-N-Gold wraps up the win with The Good, The Bad & The Ugly from yesterday's game.

 The Good-Gotta hand this one to the Steelers defense which played like the D of old, instead of an old D. They sacked KC QB Alex Smith 6 times, 2 by LB Jason Worilds, 1.5 each from LB James Harrison and DE Cam Heyward and 1 from rookie DE Stephon Tuitt. Tuitt also forced a fumble by KC RB Jamal Charles that was recovered by LB Vince Williams. The defense also held KC to 4 field goals on the day, not allowing them in the end zone at all. LB Lawrence Timmons led the team with 13 tackles, 9 solo and 1 for a loss. Harrison showed flashes of his former self with the 1.5 sacks as well as 7 tackles, 2 TFLs and 2 QB hits. Heyward continues to show why he's my Defensive MVP this season, recording the 1.5 sacks along with 1 TFL and 3 QB hits. A good mix of young and old got the D going today and helped seal the deal for the win.

The Bad-However, there was a run in the 4th quarter where the defense looked like it was beginning to implode as penalty flags reigned down all around them. CB William Gay was penalized for taunting on a play that would have forced 4th and 14. LB Sean Spence was also flagged for holding during that same series. Speaking of penalties, G Ramon Foster was charged with unnecessary roughness in a melee that ensued on K Shaun Suisham's 23 yrd FG that gave the Steelers a 20-9 lead. We're winning the game, for crying out loud. No need for extracurricular activity. Keep your heads together and don't let the refs and the flags take you out of the game.

The Ugly-Speaking of flags and refs and penalties, oh my! One day the refs are going to cost some team a win with their bogus flags. Mrs. Black-N-Gold understands that the zebras need to ere on the side of caution for the safety of the players. However, the non-call when Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger was leg-whipped mystifies. Just last week, Worilds was flagged for roughing the passer on what looked to be a legal hit. No flag for Ben? At least be consistent, refs, instead of consistently bad.

Now that the Steelers are playoff-bound, we can rest our starters next week, right? Wrong. The Steelers still have an opportunity to win the AFC North and perhaps secure a home field playoff game and/or a bye. The rundown goes like this: Cincy is still in 1st at 9-4-1 but they play on MNF vs Denver. The Steelers and their playoff berth are next at 10-5. Next come the Baltimorons at 9-6 following their loss. And the Clowns are in the basement after their latest defeat at 7-8.

The Steelers close out the regular season at Heinz Field as they battle the Bungles. Keep putting Ws in the win column. Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!


Mrs. Black-N-Gold is smiling like a butcher's dog 'cause it's a great day for hockey! Your Pittsburgh Penguins take their show on the road to FLA tonight as they faceoff against the Panthers. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)Following Saturday night's 3-1 win over FLA, the Pens have won 3 straight. #4 would be great! 2)The Pens are 9-2-3 on the road this season. Road warriors! 2)Even with all the injuries/illness, the Pens are ranked 3rd in the league in goals per game with a 3.1 average. Pack up the Crue and the Goals, Goals, Goals! Let's Go Pens!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2014


Yoi to the world! Your Pittsburgh Steelers continue their push for the playoffs today as they battle the Kansas City Chiefs at Heinz Field. These are your keys for today's game. 1)The Steelers are 2nd in the NFL with 306.7 passing yards per game. The KC D is 2nd in the league by giving up just 199.2 passing yards per game. Score early, score often, score BIG! 2)KC is ranked 30th in the league with 196.7 passing yards per game. The Steelers D is 25th, allowing 252.9 passing yards per game. KC QB Alex Smith will never be confused for Joe Montana. He can be forced into mistakes. Get after him. Hit him early, hit him often, hit him HARD!  3)In the 4th quarter this season, the Steelers have scored 142 points, tops in the league. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger has passed for 1,310 yards and 10 TDs in the fourth quarter also #1 in the NFL. The Steelers need to come up big today. Ben needs to put the ball in his playmakers' hands. Win and you're in! Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2014


Lookout Loretta, it's a hockey night in Pittsburgh! Your Pittsburgh Penguins close out their homestand tonight at Consol Energy Center as they faceoff against the Florida Panthers. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)The Pens have won 4 straight on their home ice. #5 would be nice! 2)Both the Panthers and the Pens are coming off Thursday night victories. The Pens defeated Colorado in OT, 1-0. The Panthers beat Philly in a 2-1 shootout. Both teams are also 6-2-2 in their last 10 games. Tame these kitties with Goals, Goals, Goals! 3)The Pens have won 2 in a row. If it's 3, it's for me! Let's Go Pens!!!

Friday, December 19, 2014


    Today Mrs. Black-N-Gold is singing some more songs of Christmas. Today's song was written and recorded by a legendary artist who was a member of a famous group that changed the course of music history. Perhaps you're familiar with John Lennon, former member of a little band called the Beatles.

      In 1971, John and his wife ,Yoko Ono, released "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)". The recording featured the Harlem Community Choir. Not only did it celebrate the holiday season but it was also recorded as a protest to the Vietnam War. The '71 release came on the heels of John & Yoko's bed-ins for peace as well as billboards across the country that stated "WAR IS OVER! If You Want It-Happy Christmas from John & Yoko".

      John was the first former Beatle to release an original Christmas song following the band's break-up. Renowned producer Phil Spector co-produced with John & Yoko. Through the years, numerous artists have covered this classic including Jimmy Buffett, Neil Diamond, Andy Williams and Diana Ross.

       Although the song did not chart as high as John's Beatles-era songs the message still resonantes. Unfortunately, the world is still torn apart be war and  John & Yoko's words continue to ring true, "Happy Christmas. War is over, if you want it". And let us not forget those that are serving our country this Christmas. Until next time, boys and girls. Peace on earth, good will toward men and Keep It Bluesy!

Thursday, December 18, 2014


Shave my face with a rusty razor, it's a hockey night in Pittsburgh! Your Pittsburgh Penguins faceoff against the Colorado Avalanche tonight at Consol Energy Center. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)The Pens are #2 in the league on the power play at 26.3%. They'd better watch out because Colorado's penalty kill is ranked 6th at 85.5%. Man up, Pens! 2)The Pens are 3rd in the NHL with a 3.2 goals per game average. Colorado is a not-so-impressive 28th in goals against, allowing an average of 3.2 per game. Goals, goals, goals, baby! 3)The Pens are 5th overall with an 86.0% penalty kill. The Avalanche are 26th in the league on the power play at 13.0% Rock the Avalanche. Let's Go Pens!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


     Today, Mrs. Black-N-Gold shares another one of her favorite Christmas tunes, although is not really a song. What it is is a skit by legendary stoner-comedy duo Cheech & Chong. It's called "Santa Claus And His Old Lady"

      In the skit, which is played on classic rock stations around the country during the holiday season, Cheech Marin attempts to explain who Santa Claus is and what he does, to his friend Tommy Chong. Apparently, Chong is not familiar with this cat named "Santa Claus" and thinks he's a muisician. Cheech proceeds to explain to Chong that Santa Claus and his old lady lived in the projects with a bunch of midgets and were evicted because of all the noise coming from their apartment (banging and pounding). Cheech raves about the brownies Santa's old lady would bake.

      They decided to move up to the North Pole and created the "Santa Claus And His Old Lady Commune" to get their heads together. Once a year, they'd put the goodies that they made at the commune into a shopping back and deliver them to good boys and girls all around the world. Chong wonders how they would deliver these, was it by snowmobile? No, man, it was on a sleigh with reindeer leading the way. Chong can't believe that Santa and his elves distribute all the goodies around the world in one night. Cheech has to give him the lowdown on the "magic dust" that helps the reindeer take off and makes Santa small enough that he can go down the chimneys to leave his presents.

      Cheech goes on to say that Santa and his old lady and the elves had to go underground as they were beginning to feel the heat of  too much repression and were considered outlaws. Today, Santa can be seen in front of department stores ringing a bell with a red kettle. Chong is certain he's played with the dude but insists Santa doesn't know "any tunes".

      Originally released in December, 1971, this classic charted as high (pun intended) as #38 on Billboard's Hot 100. It's always a pleasure for Mrs. Black-N-Gold to hear this bit because it's just not Christmas without "Santa Claus And His Old Lady".

     Until next time, boys and girls. Keep It Bluesy and don't bogart those brownies. Save a little bit for Santa Claus.

Monday, December 15, 2014


    Ho, ho, ho! Christmas is just around the corner. And with Christmas comes Christmas music. Some radio stations have been ramming it down out throats since Halloween. Others give us just a smattering here and there between our favorite songs. Mrs. Black-N-Gold will look at some tunes that are essential for her to get into the holiday spirit. Some are bluesy, some are not but they're all classics.

     Today we look at some blues Yule, "Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin'" by Albert King. King's smooth guitar playing helps Santa with his rap. See, it's a long cold winter and even Santa needs some lovin' to keep him nice and warm. Don't worry about the turkey or cake. Santa just wants a pretty little woman underneath his Christmas tree, for goodness sake. You can leave Santa cookies and milk, if you like. But if you hear some noise coming from downstairs on Christmas Eve, Santa may be helping himself to a different kind of treat.

      Until next time, boys and girls. Keep It Bluesy!


     Winner, winner, Falcons dinner! Your Pittsburgh Steelers went into Atlanta yesterday to face a 5-8 Falcons squad and came away victorious, 27-20. Mrs. Black-N-Gold takes a look at The Good, The Bad & The Ugly from yesterday's win.

The Good-First off, and this is good, congratulations to QB Ben Roethlisberger for breaking a Steelers record that he set. Ben now has 4,415 passing yards on the season, breaking the old mark of 4,328. Ben did this by going 27 of 35 for 360 yards with no picks for a 109.2 passer rating. With 2 games to go in the regular season, Ben is sure to add onto his new record. WR Antonio Brown continued to be mentioned as one of the best receivers in the league, hauling in 10 passes for 123 yards. RB Le'Veon Bell could not make much ground yesterday but he did break into the endzone twice. This was all good. However, there was someone that was better than "Good". Kudos for CB William Gay. Willie had his 3rd pick 6 of the season yesterday, a new team record. On a day when the offense scored a mere 14 points, Gay's interception, his 3rd of the season to lead the team, was certainly a game-breaker. Good job, Willie!

The Bad-How bad is the NFC South that the Falcons, now 5-9, still have a chance to win their division, even after yesterday's loss? Carolina leads the division at 5-8-1, followed by New Orleans at 5-8. You may remember New Orleans. They beat the Steelers a few weeks back at Heinz Field. Anyway, they play Da Bears on MNF. The Falcons are next at 5-9. They play at New Orleans next week and Carolina after that, still giving them a chance to win the NFC South. That's Bad.

The Ugly-The Steelers defense continues to give up big plays and had no sacks yesterday. They did pressure Falcons QB Matt Ryan quite a bit. They should have had a sack but the refs came up with a phantom roughing the passer call on LB Jason Worild's play. I'll give the zebras the Ugly award this week. This call came on 2nd & 8 in the 2nd quarter, giving the Falcons new life with a 1st & 10. They continued on this 85 yard drive all the way to the endzone, cutting the Steelers lead to 13-7. It could have been the difference in the game. Shame on Commissioner Roger Godell and the refs for continuing to take the defense out of the NFL.

     The Steelers keep their drive for the playoffs alive but so did some of their AFC North division opponents. Cincy won so they still lead the division. The Steelers and Baltimorons are still tied up right behind them as both teams won. The Clowns are coming back to earth as they lost again and are taking up residence in the AFC North basement.

     Next week, your Steelers go for 3 in a row as they come home to battle the 8-6 KC Chiefs. The Chiefs are still battling for their playoff lives, too, so this game should be a real dogfight. Enjoy the win Steelers and get ready for next week's game. Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!


I'll be cow-kicked, it's a hockey night in Pittsburgh! Your Pittsburgh Penguins hit the home ice of Consol Energy Center tonight as they faceoff against the Tampa Bay Lightning. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)This will be a battle of division leaders in the Eastern Conference. Tampa Bay are 19-9-3 with 41 points to lead the Atlantic Division. The Pens are 19-6-4 with 42 points for the Metropolitan Division lead. Both teams are coming off losses Saturday night. Tampa Bay fell to the Craps 4-2. The Pens lost in a shootout to Columbus 4-3. Get back in the win column! 2)Tampa Bay is 2nd in the NHL with a 3.4 goals per game average. The Pens are #3 at 3.2. Crank up the Crue and the Goals, Goals, Goals! 3)The Pens power play is ranked #2 in the league at 26.3%. The Lightning's power play is 9th at 21.7%. Light up the Lightning! Let's Go Pens!!!

Sunday, December 14, 2014


Here we go Steelers, here we go! Your Pittsburgh Steelers take their show on the road to ATL today as they battle the NFC South-leading Falcons. Here are your keys for today's game. 1)The Steelers have put 40+ points on the board 3 times this season, a new team record. They've also tied the team mark with 7 30+ games. They play the NFL's worst defense. Don't try anything cute. Don't pull a Wile E. Coyote and try to outsmart Atlanta, either. Put the ball in the hands of your playmakers. Score early, score often, score BIG! 2)The Falcons have a high-flying offense that can score points, too. They put 37 on the board in loss to Green Bay on Monday Night Football. WR Julio Jones is a game-time decision with a hip pointer. If he plays, their aerial attack is all the more dangerous. QB Matt Ryan has shown he can be rattled into making mistakes. Hit him early, hit him often, hit him HARD! 3)The Steelers chipped away at Cincy's division lead with last week's win. This is another important game if they want to keep their drive for the playoffs alive. You gotta want it, to win it! Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!

Friday, December 12, 2014


Buy Sam a drink and get his dog one, too, it's a great day for hockey! Your Pittsburgh Penguins take their show on the road as they faceoff against the Blue Jackets tonight in Columbus. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)Columbus has won 5 straight. #6 would not be great. Give 'em  L! 2)The Blue Jackets are a not-so-impressive 5-8-1 on home ice. The Pens are 9-2-2 on the road. Time for a Black-N-Gold invasion! 3)The Pens go for 2 in a row following last night's 3-1 win over the Flames. Light the lamp with some Goals, Goals, Goals! Let's Go Pens!!!


Michael, Michael, motorcycle, it's a hockey night in Pittsburgh! Your Pittsburgh Penguins hit the home ice at Consol Energy Center tonight as they faceoff against the Calgary Flames. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)Going into last night's games, the Pens were ranked #1 in the league on the power play at 29.1%. Calgary is 27th in the NHL on the penalty kill at a 76.1% clip. Man up! 2)The Pens are 3rd overall averaging 3.2 goals per game. Calgary is 6th with 3.0. Get the Igloo rocking with some Goals, Goals, Goals! 3)The Flames are 8th in the league at 21.6% on the power play. The Pens penalty kill is 5th at 86.1%. Put out the Flames! Let's Go Pens!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2014


     A very significant, unfortunate date in music history was observed on December 8, as it was the date that former Beatle John Lennon was senselessly gunned down in front of his apartment building. Naturally, many classic-rock radio stations around the world took some time to remember John's contribution to the world of music both with the Beatles and as a solo artist. On Saturday night, while the Big Bossman and I were out enjoying live, local blues music, the band treated us to a version of the Beatles hit "Come Together". It got Mrs. Black-N-Gold to wondering, Are the Beatles bluesy?

     Now Mrs. Black-N-Gold has long been a Beatles fan, especially in her younger days. No, she's not old enough to say that she witnessed their legendary appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. She's not even old enough to say she ever saw any appearance by the Beatles, ever. But when I was back there in grade school, I was all about the Beatles. Now I'm all about the blues. Do the two worlds intersect?

     You may prefer the mop-top, Fab Four-era Beatles of "She Loves You" and "I Want To Hold Your Hand". Or you may appreciate the trippy, psychedelic-type Beatles of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band". But somewhere along the way, John, Paul, George & Ringo discovered their bluesy side.

      Growing up in Liverpool, England, the Beatles were heavily influenced by early American rock and roll by the likes of Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry and Little Richard, all with roots in the blues. The Beatles covered blues hits such as "Money" and "Kansas City" in their early days.

      As the Beatles began to experiment with different sounds, sensibilities, and instruments(such as the sitar and horns), they stepped away from the music that fueled their original fire. In the process they created new classics on the "Rubber Soul", "Revolver" and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" albums, the latter shattering their pop images for a more psychedelic sound. Eventually, the Beatles tired of touring and pandering to audiences that insisted on pigeon-holing them as forever mop-tops. They were developing new tastes and eager to experiment outside of their Fab Four enclosure.

     Meanwhile, their contemporaries in England where seduced by the sounds of Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, and Lightin' Hopkins. Bands such as the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and Cream where just getting started and where turning listeners on to their blues heroes.

      The Beatles pushed on, continuing to release new music even as tensions within the band flared. And somewhere, along the way, the Beatles got their mojo workin' again. It started around the time of
"The Beatles" otherwise known as "The White Album". "Yer Blues" is said to be John trying to imitate the blues masters that came before him.

     After that, "Yellow Submarine" was released. Sure the album and it's accompanying movie/cartoon were still deeply rooted in psychedelia but "Hey Bulldog" seemed to continue to point them in the direction of the blues.

      The "Abbey Road" album followed and with it came more blues, "Come Together" and "Oh! Darling". "Come Together" even gives Muddy a shoutout.

     The Beatles final album "Let It Be" also featured a movie of a rooftop concert by the Beatles. In the documentary they perform the bluesy stylings of "Get Back" and "Don't Let Me Down" among a set list that also featured some of the R&B covers from their early days.

      Mrs. Black-N-Gold also appreciates the blues of one of her all-time favorite Beatles songs. It was from the "White Album" and featured blues guitar god Eric Clapton on the solo. Of course, I am speaking of the George Harrison hit "While My Guitar Gently Weeps". Gut wrenching, as the blues should be.

     To answer my earlier question, "Are the Beatles bluesy"? I give a resounding "Yeah, yeah, yeah"! Until next time, boys and girls. Keep It Bluesy!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


     Everyone may want to take cover. There could be an air-raid on Sunday when your Pittsburgh Steelers travel to Atlanta to battle the Falcons. Both teams exhibited high-flying offenses and leaky defenses this past week. The Steelers clobbered the Cincy Bungles 42-21. The Falcons were clipped on MNF by Green Bay, 43-37. Fans are also in for a treat as they'll see the #1 and #2 receivers in the NFL.

    Atlanta's Julio Jones had a career night on Monday as he took over the receiving lead from the Steelers Antonio Brown. Jones caughts 11 passes for 259 yards and 1 touchdown. This was all before he left the game due to a hip injury. AB didn't find the end zone on Sunday but he did snag 9 receptions for 117 yards. Their overall numbers are nothing to sneeze at, either. Julio's big night put him at the top of the NFL's receivers list with 93 receptions for 1,428 yards, a 15.4 yard average and 6 touchdowns. AB is hot on his trail, leading the NFL with 105 catches for 1,375 yards, averaging 13.1 yards per play. He is also #2 in the league with 11 TDs.

     Both receivers and their offensive coordinators should be salivating as they'll face 2 of the NFL's worst passing defenses. The Steelers rank 23rd surrendering 26 TDs against just 8 interceptions. They have managed 24 sacks while allowing QBs to complete 62.8% of their passes. Altanta is the bottom-feeder in passing defense. They've given up 18 touchdowns, intercepted 14 passes and sacked the QB just 14 times allowing for 62.4% completions.

     Also, consider this game will be played indoors, on the turf of the Georgia Dome in Hotlanta. Don't know what the over is on this one, but you may want to think about placing a wager. At 5-8, believe it or not, the Falcons are tied for first with New Orleans in the NFC South. The Steelers need to get over the funk of losing to teams on the road that are under .500. Definitely want to see my Steelers fly high over the Falcons this week to keep their playoff drive alive. Bring your popcorn. It's going to be a good one. Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


     The Major League Baseball winter meetings are upon us as GMs, managers and front office execs converge in San Diego to heat up the hot stove. Pirates GM Neal Huntington made the trek, wish list in tow. Will Neal bring home a neatly wrapped starting pitcher for Pirates fans? How about a few other trinkets such as relief pitching and bench depth? Mrs. Black-N-Gold looks at possible targets for your Pittsburgh Pirates.

     Until LH Jon Lester, the first domino in the free agent pitching market, falls, no one seems eager to show their hand. Once Lester goes, the next big money pitchers are expected to be RHs Max Scherzer and James Shields. Rumor has it, Scherzer may wait until late in the offseason to sign. In the meantime, teams could be going after LH Francisco Liriano. The Pirates have expressed an interest in retaining Liriano, going so far as to offer him the $15.3 million qualifying offer. Unfortunately, Frankie declined that offer, preferring to test the free agent waters. Word is, the World Champion San Fran Giants may go after Frankie. If the Pirates come up short with him, they may shift their focus to RH Edinson Volquez. Other names linked to the Pirates are LH Brett Anderson, RH Justin Masterson, and RH Brandon McCarthy. Sure, the Pirates brought back RH AJ Burnett for one more season. Unfortunately, AJ is no longer a front-line starter. The Pirates have got to get someone to be #2 to RH Gerrit Cole's #1.

      The Pirates did make a move yesterday, albeit a minor one. They claimed RH Josh Lindblom off waivers from Oakland. To make room for Lindblom they outrighted RH Angel Sanchez to Indy. Will Lindblom pan out? Considering he only logged 4 innings in the bigs last season, probably not. This looks like a depth move. Who knows, maybe Lindblom can help them in the bullpen, another area where they're searching for help. The Pirates need to beef up their pen after last season's fall off.

     Last offseason, the Pirates went to the winter meetings in need of first base and right field help. Although both Pedro Alvarez and Gregory Polanco are still question marks at their respective positions, the Pirates seem to have them firmly penciled in at those spots.

     The Pirates still seek depth on the bench. They acquired UT Sean Rodriguez from Tampa Bay. Rodriguez is this year's Josh Harrison with his ability to play multiple positions. The problem is he can't play them all at once. INF Clint Barmes signed with San Diego and 1B Gaby Sanchez was DFA'd. They may bring Gaby back to spell Pedro. Or they can try to go with Andrew Lambo. The thing is both Pedro and Lambo are lefties. That could be a matchup problem for Manager Clint Hurdle. And who do the Pirates go to back up in the outfield? They offered salary arbitration to OF Travis Snider. Will they keep OF Jose Tabata as a backup, too?

      The winter meetings run until December 11. PiratesFest is this weekend. Wouldn't it be cool for Neal Huntington to bring the fans some more pieces to the championship puzzle when he gets home? Let's Go Bucs!!!!!

Monday, December 8, 2014


     Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Your Pittsburgh Steelers got back in the win column in a big way yesterday, clobbering the Cincy Bungles 42-21 on the road. Mrs. Black-N-Gold has a lot to talk about so let's get right to it with The Good, The Bad & The Ugly from yesterday's victory.

The Good-When you defeat a division rival in their house by a considerable margin while you're battling for the division lead, it's all good, baby! The Killer B's, QB Ben Roethlisberger, RB Le'Veon Bell, WR Antonio Brown and (welcome back to the end-zone)WR Martavis Bryant all brought their A games today. Ben was 25 of 39 for 350 yards, 3 touchdowns and a 118.5 passer rating with no turnovers. Bell continues to battle AB for team MVP by running 185 yards on 26 carriers with 1 touchdown. Not content to stand pat, he also caught 6 passes for 50 yards and 1 TD. AB looked pretty good himself, catching 9 balls for 117 yards. The rookie, Bryant, got back in everyone's good graces, with 4 receptions for 109 yards, including a 94 yard TD from Ben that put the Steelers up 35-21. And how about that offensive line? They kept Ben clean while opening holes a mile wide for Bell all day long. And although the defense had their issues (more on that later) they did recover 2 fumbles, recorded 3 sacks and held the Bungles scoreless in the 4th quarter. The Steelers outscored Cincy 25-0 in the final frame. That's darn good!

The Bad-It's wasn't all gravy for Dick LeBeau's defense. Cincy WR AJ Green torched them with 11 receptions for 224 yards and a touchdown. This season the Steelers have surrendered 26 touchdown passes. Unfortunately, the secondary has been burned more than my morning toast. Why do the Steelers continue to put CB Ike Taylor against their opponent's best receiver? Maybe it's because they have no one else? Ike was ultimately removed from yesterday's game. As I write this, I'm not sure if it was because of injury or because of a bruised ego. Either way, Ike's best days are clearly behind him, much like he is with opposing receivers. And I'm sorry to say this, but Troy Polamalu's days should be numbered as well. The Steelers are not doing themselves any favors by continuing to trot out these tried-and-try warriors. It may be out of necessity and will most certainly have to be addressed in the offseason.

The Ugly-Next week the Steelers travel to Hotlanta where they'll battle the NFC South division-leading Falcons. It could be ugly for the secondary again as they face not one, but two top-notch receivers in Julio Jones and Roddy White. If Coach LeBeau and secondary coach Carnell Lake can't get the DBs ready for this game, can they at least suit up? They can't be any worse then most of these guys.

The Steelers continue to look up at the Bungles following this week's win as Cincy is 8-4-1. The Baltimorons won so they're tied with the Steelers at 8-5. The Clowns are on the outside looking in with a 7-6 record following their loss.

As I said, the Steelers are on the road next week against a 5-7 team (Atl plays Green Bay on MNF). Woop, woop, woop! Beware the trap game! With 3 left in the regular season, every game counts. Continue to put the ball in the hands of your playmakers and put up as many points as humanly possible to make up for the (lack of) D. Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!

Sunday, December 7, 2014


Make me a milkshake, Malkin, it's a great day for hockey! Your Pittsburgh Penguins take their show on the road to New York as they faceoff against the Strangers tonight. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)The Pens go for 2 in a row following Saturday's 3-2 win over the Sens. Losing Saturday in Detroit, 3-2, the Strangers have lost 2 straight. If it's 3, it's for me! 2)Strangers G Henrik Lundqvist is playing very un-King Henrik-like this season, with a career worst 2.70 GAA. He's given up 5 or more goals 4 times. Pack up the Motley Crue and the Goals, Goals, Goals! 3)The Pens are 1-1 vs. the Strangers this season, losing 5-0 at MSG on 11/11 and winning a 3-2 shootout at home on 11/15. Beat the Strangers like a rented mule! Let's Go Pens!!!


Rah, rah, rhee, hit him in the knee! Rah, rah, rass, hit him in the other knee! Your Pittsburgh Steelers travel to Cincinnati for a divisional showdown with the Bungles this afternoon. With the playoffs drawing nearer, these are your keys to today's game. 1)The Steelers offense may be ranked 3rd in the league but they're only averaging 18.3 points on the road. QB Ben Roethlisberger has thrown just 6 of his 26 TDs away from Heinz Field. Score early, score often, score BIG! 2)The Steelers D has been decimated by injuries all season. They've only recorded 21 sacks this year. They need to pull themselves up and get after Cincy QB Andy Dalton, forcing him into mistakes. Hit him early, hit him often, hit him HARD! 3)The Steelers have won 6 of the past 8 vs Cincy. The Bungles sit all alone atop the AFC North. Take care of business. Ya gotta want it, to win it! Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!

Saturday, December 6, 2014


I'm smiling like a butcher's dog 'cause it's a great day for hockey! Your Pittsburgh Penguins faceoff against the Ottawa Senators this afternoon at Consol Energy Center. These are your keys to today's game. 1)Through their last 10 games, the Pens are 6-3-1. The Sens are the on the flip side at 3-6-1. Veto the Senators with Goals, Goals, Goals! 2)The Pens have been injury-riddled on offense with Dupuis, Bennett, Kunitz, & Hornqvist all recently bitten by the dreaded injury bug. They acquired former Senator Rob Klinkhammer to help nail down some offense. Hammer Time! 3)The Pens are 0 for 9 on the power play through their last 4 games. Man up! Let's Go Pens!!!

Friday, December 5, 2014


     Mrs. Black-N-Gold was going to use today's column as an opportunity to look at your Pittsburgh Steelers and the importance of this Sunday's showdown with the Cincy Bungles. She was also going to discuss the magnitude of winning their remaining 4 regular season games. But then I got to thinking. Have the Steelers lost their mojo? It seems like whenever this time of year rolls around, all us Black-N-Gold-wearing, Terrible Towel-waving fans are sweating it out, hoping upon hope that the Steelers can take care of business and get a pass to the postseason. I ask you: Why?

     Why do we continue to bite our fingernails every time our favorite team takes the field? Why do we hope that the Steelers will pull themselves up by their bootstraps and out of the funk in which they're immersed? Why do the Steelers constantly look unprepared, outplayed and befuddled?

      It seems that the Steelers organization as whole is suffering from memory loss. I'll admit, during the Chin Era, I was always frustrated with the Steelers regarding most of the draft picks from day 2 of the draft. Now it seems that the Steelers swing and miss at more picks during the entire draft then they have hits. Have the scouting department and GM Kevin Colbert forgotten how to evaluate talent? Example: stretching for RBs Rashard Mendenhall and Chris Rainey a few years back turned out to be busts What did the Steelers do this year? Stretched for RB Dri Archer, leaving themselves out to dry when it comes to running back depth. Don't get me wrong. There have been hits such as WR Antonio Brown, RB Le'Veon Bell. But for every good draft pick, there's 2 more bad ones. Take 1 step forward, 2 steps back, Steelers.

      Let us not forget the coaching staff. Have they suddenly lost the ability to develop players? More and more picks play out the length of their rookie contracts (if they even make the team) and are left to continue their careers elsewhere. They typically do so in virtual oblivion as they weren't that good in the first place. I'm talking to you Ziggy Hood, Mendenhall, et al. The Steelers have always had a habit of letting the youngsters bide their time on the bench for a season or two and let them step up afterwards. Problem is, these players aren't stepping up when their number is called. And in today's NFL, with big money contracts, can you afford to have players ride the pine and redshirt? It's especially maddening this year as the veterans aren't doing the team much good with their shoddy play. May as well let the young guys play and see what they've got. What do they have to lose? I know there are still playoff hopes but these guys may surprise you. It's not like they're going to lose to the Bucs, Jets or Saints. Oops! That already happened with many of your vets in the lineup.

     And what about the players? I'm sure it is extremely difficult to psyche yourself up for every game during a 16 game season when you're pulling in millions of dollars in your paycheck. It may be even more so as the playoffs loom. I hope Mrs. Black-N-Gold's sarcasm is translating well to the written word. What I'm trying to say is a motto I've repeated several times in this blog the past few years, "Ya gotta want it, to win it". Can you please play like you want it?

     Mrs. Black-N-Gold isn't saying her way is the right way, but the Steeler way doesn't seem to be the way anymore, either. I'll repeat another phrase that I've used often in these situations, "Get it together". Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!


Thursday, December 4, 2014


How much fried chicken can you eat? It's a hockey night in Pittsburgh! Your Pittsburgh Penguins faceoff against the Vancouver Canuckleheads tonight at Consol Energy Center. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)These 2 teams are pretty evenly matched as the Pens are tied for first in the Eastern Conference Metropolitan Division with 36 points. The Canuckleheads are tied for the top spot in the Western Conference Pacific Division at 35 points. Point Vancouver in the L column! 2)The Pens are ranked 3rd in the league in goals per game with a 3.3 average. The Canuckleheads are right behind them in the #4 spot with 3.1 goals per game. Rock out to the Crue and the Goals, Goals, Goals, baby! 3)Both teams are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. The Pens are 8-3-1 on home ice. The Canuckleheads are 10-4-0 on the road. This could be a preview of the Stanley Cup finals. Put it on the net and put one in the win column! Let's Go Pens!!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


     Anthony Gomes is a hat trick of blues. The Toronto, Canada native is songwriter, vocalist and guitarist par excellence. Born on May 14, 1970, Gomes has been channeling the influences of BB King, Buddy Guy, Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton on the blues circuit for years. He debuted with the album "Blues In Technicolor" in 1998. Since then, Anthony has toured North America and Europe extensively, leaving fiery fingerprints all over the map while appearing with such luminaries as Jonny Lang, Joe Bonamassa, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. In his wake, he left audiences screaming for more.

       Anthony is also the founder of Music Is The Medicine Foundation. Founded in 2010, the foundation promotes the healing power of music. They have presented music education programs while awarding songwriting scholarships and donating musical instruments to those in need.

       In 2002 Bandit Blues Radio called 2002's "Unity" one of the "Top 30 Essential Blues CDs Of All Time". 2003 found Anthony named "Artist Of The Year" by Blueswax Magazine. His 2004 CD "LIVE" debuted at #1 on Billboard's Blues Charts. 2013 saw a departure for Anthony with the release of the acoustic "...Before The Beginning". His latest offering, "Electric Field Holler" is expected to drop in early 2015.

       Anthony was scheduled to make an appearance in the Pittsburgh area Saturday night at St. Simon Nightclub. Unfortunately they announced their grand opening will be delayed by about a month. Keep an eye on Anthony's Facebook page and his website Hopefully, he'll pick up another gig in the area sometime soon. This burning guitar god and his red-hot hooks are not to be missed. Until next time, boys and girls. Keep It Bluesy!



Tuesday, December 2, 2014


Great balls of fire, it's a hockey night in Pittsburgh! Your Pittsburgh Penguins faceoff against the New Jersey Devils tonight at Consol Energy Center. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)The Devils are 21st in the NHL in goals against, giving up an average of 2.8 per game. The Pens rank #2 in the league in goals per game at 3.4. Crank up the Crue and the Goals, Goals, Goals! 2)New Jersey ranks 28th in the league on the penalty kill at 74.7%. The Pens are #1 on the power play at 31.6%. True, it seems like the refs haven't been giving the Pens many calls lately. Since the NHL can't stop the league's #1 PP, will the front office and the zebras do it? The song remains the same: Take advantage of the man-advantage! 3)The Devils have lost 4 straight. Shout at the Devils: #5 would be great! Let's Go Pens!!! 

Monday, December 1, 2014


      Yesterday, Mrs. Black-N-Gold started off her 50-Yard Line column by stating that "We're from the town with the great football team". What was I thinking? Your Pittsburgh Steelers dropped another game yesterday to another team with a losing record. This time the New Orleans Saints defeated the Steelers 35-32. It wasn't even that close. Here we go with another episode of The Good, The Bad & The Ugly.

Good-It really is difficult to find any good in a loss to a team that has a losing record. I'll try. I guess you can say that the Good is the fact that Cleveland and Baltimore also lost yesterday, thus keeping the Steelers playoff hopes alive. Cincy won and the Steelers still have to face them twice in the next month. What's not so good is that every time the Steelers have a chance to take matters into their own hands, the drop it, much like our receivers sometimes do. One silver lining in this playbook is the continued excellence of RB Le'Veon Bell. Bell rushed 21 times for 95 yards and 1 touchdown yesterday. He also caught 8 passes for 159 yards. I must admit, I thought Bell would be the second coming of Rashard Mendenhall when the Steelers drafted him. I will gladly say that I'm wrong. WR Antonio Brown also continues to impress, snagging 8 passes for 97 yards and 2 TDs. Too bad the scores were in garbage time.

Bad-We knew that the defense would be bad this year as they're still trying to find their way. Surrendering 5 touchdown passes to Saints QB Drew Brees is not the way. But what was truly bad yesterday was the play of QB Ben Roethlisberger. Ben can be maddeningly inconsistent. Yesterday he was consistent, consistently bad. Ben-apologists may point out that his throwing hand/wrist was injured early in the game on a hit. If you're hurt, go get treatment and let the backup play. At least he's 100%. Ben was 32 of 58 for 435 yards, 2 touchdowns (see garbage time above), 2 interceptions and a putrid 76.4 passer rating. Those 2 picks led to 2 Brees' TDs. Ben was lucky he was only intercepted twice as he kept flirting with disaster for most of the afternoon. With the defense continuing to allow opponents to carve them up like a Thanksgiving turkey, the Steelers needed Ben to pull their fat out of the fire and put the ball in his playmakers hands. Too often yesterday, he did not. Until it was too little, too late.

Ugly-The Ugly part is that Coach Mike Tomlin will again not address the elephant in the room at his pressers. The fact is this team cannot and will not defeat inferior opponents. The truth of the matter is that the Steelers are no longer an elite team. They belong in the same conversation with those "inferior opponents". This team is just not that good. They're not coached well and they don't play well. Until they read the writing on the wall, they'll continue to drive Mrs. Black-N-Gold and her fellow towel-waving friends to drink. Alot.

A look at the standings in the AFC North show Cincy on top at 8-3-1. Everyone else is lumped together at 7-5. Believe it or not, the Steelers can still make hay. They play at Cincy next week, a perfect opportunity to find the win column again. As Mrs. Black-N-Gold likes to say, "You gotta want it, to win it". Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!