Saturday Surprise

When travelling to cover a story, I am reminded once more, always bring your foot warmers and a bag full of patience. 

In Pittsburgh for day two of our trip for the AFC Championship Game and it kicks off with a bang.  The frosty temps in Western, Pa (-8 degrees at 7:30 AM) have assaulted our satellite truck like a Rex Ryan zero cover blitz package.

11 Mobile News Room being treated for frostbite

11 Mobile News Room being treated for frostbite

Good news, the satellite part of the 11 Mobile News Room works just fine and we will have our full capabilities for Sunday’s big game.  But if you had any doubts about which was a nicer part of the country to live in the winter, they are erased.  Narrow roads along with an abundance of snow create traffic hazzards even on a Saturday afternoon. 

For a brief time today, we were though reliant on others.  Our friends at WTAE stepped up in tremendous fashion.  Likewise our friends at WGAL.  Both Hearst-Argyle stations that never hesitated to help us out.  My old boss Pat Principe from WGAL in Lancaster was a trooper, adjusting his schedule to accomadate our needs.  And really, does anyone make a silver mane / playoff mustache look any cooler?

Pat Principe, sports director extaordinaire

Pat Principe, sports director extaordinaire

Pat owns the unique position of covering both teams tomorrow.  In fact, he also covers the Eagles.  And yet,  his favorite team?  None of the above.  That gives you a nice, unbiased report every time out.

Then there’s our Jen Franciotti.  Bless her heart, on her first trip covering a sporting event, it’s a dream come true for the off the hook Ravens fan.  She can’t believe she has a seat in the press box for tomorrow.  She’s handled fan detail all season and now gets her chance at the biggest game of the season (at least so far).  But le it be known, in the cold of January in Pittsburgh, she is not exactly braving the elements.

Jen Franciotti blasting her Ravens smile

Jen Franciotti blasting her Ravens smile

 And credit Jen as a fan, she knows her football and loves to talk about the Ravens schematics all season long.  Then there’s the Pittsburgh fan I met at Mullen’s Sports Bar Saturday night.  Laura Lee professed her love for the black and gold but then was confused when I asked for her thoughts on Sunday’s game.  She said she thought it would be loud.  Again, I asked about the game and her response: “I don’t know.  Does it matter?”

pittsburgh-2-007

Ah yes, and then there’s the game itself.  What can we expect Sunday? If we’ve learned anything in these playoffs, it’s that predictions must not rely on logic.  A certain, not to be named national sports writer who professes his love for the point spread, went 0-4 last week.  Road teams don’t quite rule, but wow home field advantage does not mean what it used to.  The Steelers looked great last week at Heinz Field against San Diego, but history is not on their side.  The last three AFC Championships the Steelers have hosted left Pittsburgh fans to cry in their Iron City beers. 

The Ravens equal their talent, when healthy, but that is not the case Sunday.  Baltimore is simply banged up while the Steelers are ridiculously healthy for mid January.  But the Ravens have not faltered when challenged from day one of this season, and two things stick out in their favor.  Joe Flacco is a better road quarterback than when at home, and the Ravens believe with all their hearts they will persevere once more.  You want to tell Ray Lewis anything different?

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