Ben Roethlisberger knows Steelers vs. Ravens is what the NFL “wants”

Pittsburgh Steelers v Baltimore Ravens

Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The Steelers and Ravens renew their rivalry this Sunday in Week 8, and it is exactly what the NFL wants.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens are about to renew their rivalry in Week 8 at M&T Bank Stadium in the heart of Baltimore, MD, and the game couldn’t be bigger.

The 6-0 Steelers put their first place in the AFC, and the AFC North, on the line against the 5-1 Ravens team coming off their Week 7 bye week. If the Steelers win, it will give them a two game advantage in the division, while a loss would move them to second place and have them looking up at Lamar Jackson and company.

In other words, it is still early, but there is no doubt this is a huge game.

Ben Roethlisberger met with the media during his typical Wednesday availability, and he spoke at length about the Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore rivalry, and labeled it as “what the NFL wants”.

“I think it’s what football fans want, what the NFL wants,” said Roethlisberger.

What the NFL wants? There is no doubt rivalries like this are not just what they want, it is what the game needs.

When it comes to rivalries, the one factor almost everyone adds to the discussion is whether or not the recent history is competitive. This was brought up before the Week 6 game with the Cleveland Browns. While the media touted it as a fierce rivalry, the Steelers have dominated the Browns since they returned to the league.

That can’t be said about the Steelers and Ravens. Just check out the numbers…

As for Roethlisberger, he wasn’t able to participate in the rivalry last week, after his season ended in Week 2 at Heinz Field vs. the Seattle Seahawks. Believe it or not, Roethlisberger missed these rivalry games.

“I didn’t get to play in it last year. I missed this.” Roethlisberger admitted. “As much as this game hurts physically at the end of the day, you miss this rivalry because this is fun. It’s football in its purest form. It should be a good matchup. We will have our hands full.”

When asked to describe the rivalry, Roethlisberger painted a pretty accurate picture of what it has been like to play against the Ravens since 2004.

“It’s tough. It’s a physical one,” said Roethlisberger of the rivalry. “It can be nasty at times. I have always felt, as many times as my nose has been broken, I have had injuries, it’s been a close game. It’s always been football in its truest form. It’s never been dirty. It’s never been nasty. It’s just been hard-nosed football. This is one you always want your bye week to be after.”

There might be some, including the fans, who will debate whether the game has ever been dirty or nasty, but that might be Roethlisberger just toeing the company line.

The Steelers’ offense will have their hands full with the Baltimore defense this Sunday. The likes of Marlon Humphries, Patrick Queen, Calais Campbell and Justin Peters are a group who is fast, physical and dominant.

“This is a defense that brings guys from everywhere,” said Roethlisberger. “It’s going to be one of those games where we’re going to have to be able to keep everybody in at times. Just because you are keeping everybody in, it still doesn’t mean you have all day to throw it. The ball has to get out of your hand in a timely manner. It’s not an easy thing to do. Sometimes you have to get lucky. You have to have the right protection called, even after a blitz. Sometimes you can pick it up and get the ball out of your hands and it’s one-on-one on the outside with no help. We like those matchups too because we’ve got some slippery guys at receiver that can make guys miss. Every once in a while, you take that shot over the top knowing that they’re might not be a safety back there. There are some things you can exploit. The key is always to protect long enough to do that.

“They just (have) really good football players. Ball hawks. Guys who know how to play, can stop it. There are just a lot of challenges facing us this week in the pass game. Our guys are going to have to all be involved. We are going to have to try the best matchup and see how it goes from there. I am going to have to be smart, make good decisions, and our guys are going to have to run good routes in order to have a chance.”

Throughout it all, Roethlisberger shows a general understanding of how the Steelers’ offense can aide the defense as they have to handle the enigma which is Lamar Jackson. Like they used to plan for Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, those dynamic playmakers can’t impact the game if they are on the sidelines.

Last week in Tennessee the Steelers’ offense dominated time of possession, and limited the Titans’ ability to make big plays, it ultimately resulted in the 27-24 victory for the Steelers. A similar challenge awaits the offense in Week 8.

“When you have an offense as good as Baltimore, a player as dynamic as him [Lamar Jackson], a lot of guys on offense, you have to try and keep them on the sideline,” said Roethlisberger. “We were able to do that early in the game last week so we’ll have to do everything we can. This is a good football team. One of the best in the league.”

The rivalry between the Steelers and Ravens has been renewed, and it is a good thing not just for the NFL, but for both franchises. Football is better when these two teams are a the top of their respective games. You can hear more about this on the latest “Let’s Ride” podcast in the player below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes on this huge AFC North game this Sunday in Week 8.

Sources: Jazz being sold in $1.66B agreement

11:50 AM ET

The Miller family has entered into an agreement to sell the Utah Jazz and Vivint Arena to Qualtrics founder Ryan Smith for $1.66 billion, sources told ESPN.

Smith, 40, is a lifelong Utah resident and Jazz fan who built software company Qualtrics before it sold for a reported $8 billion in November 2018. Smith had a longstanding relationship with the franchise, which included a philanthropic jersey patch that raised over $25 million in recent years.

The NBA board of governors must formally approve the sale.

The Miller family, owners of the Jazz for 35 years, has overseen significant success: 16 50-win seasons, nine division titles and two Western Conference championships. Only the San Antonio Spurs have a better winning percentage than the Jazz (1,470-1,014, .592) since the 1989-90 season.

Smith takes over a basketball operations that remains in strong shape, including four straight playoff appearances. The

What motivates billionaire sports owners to donate to political campaigns?

On more than one occasion, Bill Clinton has sat courtside with Bucks owner Marc Lasry. 

10:34 AM ET

Editor’s note: This is one in a series of six pieces that shows how professional sports owners in America contribute to political campaigns, why they spend millions in the space and what that financial power means as athletes across sports continue to embrace activism of their own.

BILLIONAIRES OPERATE DIFFERENTLY from the rest of us. An enthusiastic young supporter of an insurgent candidate might send off a $20 contribution to a campaign, but those with a large fortune cut checks for hundreds of thousands of dollars to national political parties and partisan super PACs. That’s enough to blanket a market like Cincinnati or Raleigh with television ads for a couple of days.

While LeBron James appeared at a Cleveland rally for Hillary Clinton in 2016, NBA owners were pouring millions

Podcast: “If they can’t score, you can’t lose”

In the spirit of brotherly love, siblings Dave and Rich Schofield break down all things surrounding the Black-and-Gold.

The Steelers are 6-0 and there are plenty of reasons why. The offense has as wide array of weapons for Ben Roethlisberger to throw to and the defense is at the top of the league. It’s pretty simple really. like Mike Tomlin has said, “If they can’t score, you can’t lose”. This will be just one of the subjects that will be discussed in the latest installment on the BTSC family of podcasts, The Scho Bro Show.

As always, it sure is a good time to get on the airwaves and discuss the Black-and-Gold. On this show, Dave and Big Bro Scho break down all things Steelers, still talk stats, and also answer questions from fans!

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • If they can’t score, you can’t lose.
  • Steelers Q&A

Dave and Rich walk you through everything you need to know regarding the Black-and-Gold.

If you haven’t heard, we have a YouTube channel, and the main reason for this is to increase the sound quality on our shows. But if you’re a visual learner you can watch the show below. Be sure to subscribe to our channel.

If you missed the live show, be sure to check out all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE


Google Play: CLICK HERE

If you’re old-school and just want the audio, you can listen to it in the player below.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Ranking NBA teams by their TV ratings

NBA TV ratings have been a hot-button issue over recent years, but particularly this season, with the numbers falling to record-low levels, especially for nationally-televised games.

There were various reasons for the NBA’s ratings to be down, but at the end of the day, none of them matter; the league just has to hope they’ll bounce back next season when things are at least slightly more normal.

We were curious about which NBA teams were the most-viewed this season, so using regular-season games, we compiled a ranking of every team by their average viewers.

Below, you can check out our ranking of every NBA team by their TV ratings.

Keep reading this article on HoopsHype - NBA.

The Titans near-comeback was a reminder to the Steelers there are no easy games in the NFL

Pittsburgh Steelers v Tennessee Titans

Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

The Steelers nearly blew a 20-point lead to the Titans on Sunday. Why? Maybe because the NFL stands for Not For Long for many things—including total dominance of an opponent.

So, what happened to the Steelers in the second half of their 27-24 victory over the Titans at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee on Sunday?

I mean, it was 27-7 at one point. Did they play that dreaded prevent defense? Did they take their foot off the gas on offense? Was Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin and his staff outcoached by Titans’ head coach Mike Vrabel and his staff?

Did Pittsburgh suddenly begin to grow complacent, forget that its opponent was good and start to take it lightly? After all, the Steelers always play down to their competition, and what lower competition is there than an opponent that’s trailing by nearly three touchdowns?

Call me a realist, but I don’t think any of the above happened. What did happen? I believe the Steelers suddenly got slapped in the face by a big old batch of NFL parity starting with the 73-yard touchdown catch-and-run by Tennessee receiver A.J. Brown early in the third quarter, which came just two plays after Chris Boswell gave the Steelers a 20-point lead on a 30-yard field goal. In fact, as I watched Brown outrun Pittsburgh’s entire secondary, I kind of smirked as if to say, “Of course.”

Speaking of complacent, that’s what I had become after the Steelers quickly extended their lead just minutes into the second half. “Man, this team is hella good,” I may have said to myself if people still said “hella.” I probably had every right to feel that way, too.

Boswell’s field goal punctuated a minor stretch of total dominance by Pittsburgh over six-plus quarters. Dating back to the opening kickoff of the previous week’s 38-7 victory over the Browns at Heinz Field, the Steelers had outgained their opponents, 539-297, possessed the football for just under 57 minutes, executed 169 plays to 100 and scored 65 points to 14.

That stuff just doesn’t happen very often in the NFL, especially against two competitive football team.

At least not for more than a game or so.

The Steelers had their game or so of fun, and Tennessee’s near-comeback in the second half was a reminder that the NFL stands for Not For Long for many things—including an inflated sense of self.

This isn’t to say the Steelers’ players were feeling that way, but I’m sure they may have started to think this whole NFL thing was pretty darn easy.

Unfortunately, the league isn’t designed that way. It’s designed to trip up the good teams if they’re too dominant for too long. It’s also designed to help those downtrodden franchises get well if they’ve been sick for a spell.

The NFL is a league where someone is always nipping at your heels.

The Steelers are 6-0 and will march into M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday to take on a 5-1 Ravens team that will be eager to remind them who’s been running the AFC North the past two years. What will happen in this clash of behemoths? Maybe Pittsburgh will continue its rope-a-dope act from the second half of the Titans’ game and come out totally flat. Perhaps that slumber will last for the entire day. Can you imagine that? Pittsburgh’s first loss of 2020 coming in blowout form at the hands of those Ravens, a defeat that would not only serve up some long-overdue humble pie; it would place Baltimore in the driver’s seat for the division title.

On the other hand, maybe the Steelers will punch Baltimore in the mouth. After all, Baltimore’s only loss was to the Chiefs, the defending Super Bowl champs. Other than that, the Ravens have smacked their opponents around pretty good. What if the Steelers and a returning Ben Roethlisberger show the Ravens that Kansas City isn’t the only Super Bowl contender they’ll have to deal with if they want to hoist the Lombardi trophy in February?

Yeah, it could be a blowout, but given the nature of this rivalry, as well as the nature of the NFL, it could also be a nail-biter. You just never know in the world of big-stakes professional football.

To quote Myron Cope: The NFL is a tough football league.

The Steelers found that out last Sunday—even as they were reminding the previously undefeated Titans of that very thing—and they’ll probably be reminded of it again this Sunday.

The question is, will they also remind the Ravens how difficult life can be in the NFL?

No matter what happens on Sunday, someone will be eating some humble pie when all is said and done.

The Steelers defensive line is far above the rest of the NFL according to PFF

Pittsburgh Steelers v Tennessee Titans

Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

When looking at individual Pro Football Focus scores, the Steelers interior defensive line is the class of the league.

It seems like every time I mention NFL rankings done by Pro Football Focus I give a little bit of a disclaimer. Yes, their scores are not perfect. Yes, some of their gradings are debatable. But when it comes to looking at both the offensive and defensive line, many times it’s one of the best evaluating tools available. I have often said the closer players are to the line of scrimmage, particularly where the football is before it is snapped, the easier it is to grade said players. But much like PFF, this is just the way I view things.

There is little doubt the Steelers defensive front is one of the premier groups in the NFL. After holding two of the NFL’s top rushing attacks in the Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans each to under 100 yards the last two weeks, the rest of the NFL knows what this group can do against the run. Add in the fact the Steelers 26 sacks on the season is leading the league even though they have played less games than many teams, the Steelers’ defensive front is a force to be reckoned with.

According to Pro Football Focus, the Steelers’ individual players are among the top in the league when it comes to the interior defensive line. Tyson Alualu held the top spot in the NFL for several weeks only to get bumped off just recently. Alualu still has a 91.4 overall score, but Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald has moved ahead with a score of 91.9 after Week 7. It’s not that Alualu did anything to lower his grade, it is more about Donald and his dominance in the NFL.

After Alualu’s score which has him ranked second in the NFL is defensive lineman Vita Vea of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Vea has a score of 90.3 which will continue to hold steady as he suffered a season-ending injury at the end of the Bucs Week 6 matchup with the Chicago Bears. Vea’s score will be one others will look to surpass, but as the season progresses and his defensive snaps remain the same he may no longer be eligible due to PFF‘s growing snap minimum.

Where a move has been made among the top players on the interior defensive line has been Stephon Tuitt at 87.9 and Cameron Heyward at 87.3 in 2020. The Steelers two defensive tackles now rank 4th and 5th respectively in the NFL according to PFF.

For those of you have been keeping track, this means the Steelers have three defensive lineman ranked in the top five in the NFL.

As impressive as it is for the Steelers to have even one or two players ranked so high, having all three starters on the defensive line in the top five of the league is quite impressive. The only other team to have three players ranked in the top 20 are the New York Giants who have Dalvin Tomlinson ranked 12th, Leonard Williams ranked 16th, and Dexter Lawrence ranked 17th. As impressive as this is for the Giants, they don’t have any players in the top 10, let alone the top 5 like where all three starters for the Steelers currently reside.

The only other team to have even two players ranked in the top 20 are the Green Bay Packers with Kingsley Keke at 18th and Tyler Lancaster at 20th.

While these individual ranks are impressive for the Steelers interior defensive line, the most impressive number of all is 6-0. Yes, individual accolades are great, but this entire Steelers team, defensive line included, is more concerned with victories then with positional rankings.

Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for continuing coverage of the Steelers Week 8 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.

NBA draft podcast: LaMelo Ball, James Wiseman, sleepers and trade talks

By | October 28, 2020

In this episode of the HoopsHype podcast, Michael Scotto is joined by colleague Bryan Kalbrosky to discuss the latest rumblings surrounding the NBA draft, including where LaMelo Ball, James Wiseman, Anthony Edwards, Onyeka Okongwu, and other top draft picks could land. The duo also shares their sleepers for the draft class and which teams could make trades. Below are some snippets from the podcast and time codes. You can listen to the full podcast above.

1:50 Why Ball could be the top pick and go to the Minnesota Timberwolves

Kalbrosky: I think Minnesota would be a really interesting fit for him because you pair his 6-foot-8 height with D’Angelo Russell, who’s 6-foot-5 as well, and you’ve got a jumbo-sized backcourt. You see a lot of backcourts in the NBA where there are two ball-dominant players. You see it with

Keep reading this article on HoopsHype - NBA.