Monday, January 16, 2006

Next Stop: Detroit

The Pitsburgh Steelers are riding a 34-17 pounding of the Denver Broncos all the way to Detroit. Bill Cowher is riding the Bus to redemption.

In the first half a fast Steelers defense forced Denver's Jake Plummer to fall into what most called his old ways. Joey Porter and James Farrior broke his rhythm and caused the Broncos to commit four turnovers, all of which lead to Steelers points. The Broncos had five turnovers during the entire regular season.

“Anytime you have four turnovers it’s hard to win football games," Denver coach Mike Shanahan said. "This is a team game. You do it as a team, offense, defense and special teams – I think we got beat in all areas today. When you have two turnovers(in the first half), you’re playing catch-up for the majority of the day.”

Plummer was under pressure for most of the game slipping out of the clutches of the Steelers' defense seemingly on every other play.

“It’s all about pressure, we really got after (Jake Plummer)," Porter said. "I felt like I could beat their tackles off the end and was able to keep containment when he would bootleg to my side."

Porter played in his third AFC championship with the Steelers earning his first trip to the Super Bowl.

Cowher's past failures in AFC championships proved not to haunt him in this game.

"You can say anything you want about me and the failures I have had," Cowher said. "That's fine. I understand it's part of this business. I try to seize each year and take each game and this group of guys and make them be as good as they can be.

A lot of guys that went through it last year didn't want to go through that same feeling again. They worked too hard to get here. I want to make sure they remember that also and two weeks from today because, like I said, no one remembers who lost the Super Bowl."

One of the guys who "went through it last year" was Jerome "Bus" Bettis. Last year the Steelers were 15-1 heading to the playoffs then fell apart in the AFC Championship against the New England Patriots. Bettis contemplated retirement. In tears, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger told Bettis to give him one more year and promised the Bus he'd get him to the big Game. Roethlisberger deliveder. Bettis relied on him and the rest of his teammates to realize his dream of playing in the Super Bowl in his hometown - Detroit.

"I asked them for two things," Bettis said. "I asked them to give me 110 percent, and if you walk away from this game giving that, I'm going to say thank you, shake your hand and give you a big hug... The second thing I told them was get me home."

Heading to the Super Bowl after beating the AFC's top three seads on the road was unprobable. Heading to Detroit with the hopes of locking two future members into the Hall of Fame is definite.

Komets won Friday and Swimming was ... swimming

The Komets had a little more pep Friday night than the last game I shot.
It seemed that the K's had a bit of motivation and it showed with a 5-1 victory over the Missouri River Otters.

I have to say that as much as I loved watching Kevin Kaminski mix it up with everyone back in the early 90's, it was almost painful to watch him pull his goalie with four minutes left in the game and down by three goals. Looking at his players, you could see on their faces that they thought it was just as ridiculous an idea as I did. Was it gutsy? Sure. Was it smart? Probably not.

Covering high school swimming was interesting to say the least. I enjoyed the challenge although some of the people in attendance failed to exhibit courtesy in more than one instance. They continually positioned themselves in front of my camera while I was working. A particularly interesting complaint was made by one swimmer to the judges that I threw off his or her timing by being at poolside. Considering the 100 or so kids in front of me I'm not sure how I, specifically, was a distraction. In any case, I perservered and made a couple of nice frames. There are challenges involved with any job, and I will continue to cover swimming events with the same enthusiasm that I would otherwise.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Looking forward to the weekend

Normally people look forward to the weekend because they're off work, they can spend time with families, some go out to hang out with their 12 oz. friends or they're going to catch the big game. I'm looking forward to this weekend because I am working. That's right, because I am working. Don't get me wrong, work is work, but this weekend should prove to be a great weekend of events.

First, I am covering the Komets Friday night. If their 7-2 butt kickin' last Sunday is any motivation, the K's should be fired up to go out and prove something. Maybe even, God willing, pay out a few body checks. I'm looking to mic the boards so I can get some audio for a multimedia slide show I am working on. It is my hope that it will be the Komets putting people into the glass.

Saturday, I will be shooting the NHC swimming and diving championship at the Carroll High School Natatorium. Swimming and diving meets present specific challenges in making quality photographs. Light in the natatoriums is always a concern. They are usually dark enough that making action-stopping photographs becomes a real challenge. Aside from light issues, it is often difficult to identify swimmers when I am doing my edits so I generally need to take extra notes while shooting. In any case I enjoy taking on challenges, so I look forward to it.

I will head to Indy Sunday to shoot the AFC Divisional playoff game between thee Steelers and the Colts. I especially look forward to this event, for more reasons than the obvious. Industry-leading professional sports photographers will be at this event, and it will be a great experience to cover a game of this magnitude.


Monday, January 09, 2006

Komets Get Shellacked

Colin Chaulk, left chases Danbury's Mike Omicioli in Sunday night's 7-2 loss to the Trashers at Memorial coliseum.
After winning the last three games by shutouts, the Komets were unable to stop the offensive power displayed by Danbury.

Komets' defenseman Mark Lindsay and Danbury's Ben McManama mix it up behind the Komets net in the first period of the Fort Wayne's 7-2 loss to the Trashers Sunday at Memorial Coliseum.

David Hukalo, left, puts Danbury's Carl Corazzini into the boards in front of the Fort Wayne bench Sunday in the Komets' 7-2 loss to the Trashers at Memorial Coliseum.

Check out the full game story by Blake Sebring Here. For more in-depth information about the Fort Wayne Komets, go to Blake's blog Tailing the Komets.

Steelers Headed Back to Circle City

A near perfect performance by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger gave the Pittsburgh Steelers just what it wanted: A chance to get another shot at the Indianapolis Colts.

Reothlisberger completed 14 of 19 passes for 208 yards and three touchdowns to beat the Bengals 31-17 in Cincinnati. It was the Bengals' first playoff game in 15 years, and the Steelers' first playoff win on the road in 16 years.

The Steelers rushed for 144 yards, but had no 100-yard rushers. Much of the focus of the game was placed on Pittsburgh's running game, and for the most part, Cincinnati's defense came up big against the run. Jerome Bettis ran in the go ahead touchdown in the third quarter and led the Steelers' rushing attack with 52 yards on 10 carries, most of which came in third-and-short situations.

“For me it was important, because that is my role," Bettis said. "Third-and-one, I am licking my chops because it’s my opportunity to come in and make an impact in the game. When they called my number, I knew I had to get my yard. On the first one, a guy was free in the hole and I had to just make him miss and get a yard. I was able to do that. I feel really proud to be able to get those tough yards.”

Cincinnatis' Pro Bowl quarterback, Carson Palmer went down on his third play from scrimmage with torn ligaments in his left knee on a hit by Steeler Kimo von Oelhoeffen. Palmer completed a 66-yard pass to Chris Henry before the hit.

“I knew right away it was bad,” Palmer said in a statement through the Bengals public relations department. “I felt my whole knee pop. I didn’t feel a lot of pain. It wasn’t really painful. It was just a sickening feeling because I knew what it was and my season was over."

Roethlisberger rallied the Steelers after being down by 10 points twice in the game.

"I told the guys we should batten down the hatches, weather this out and hopefully when it goes away we can step it up and play good football, and I think we did when it mattered,” Roethlisberger said. “I think my play and our play spoke volumes... I have to give a lot of credit to the Bengals, they came out and were firing on all cylinders. They gave us a few 1-2 punches in the mouth, and I think we weathered the storm very well and we were able to keep it under control."

Pittsburgh travles to Indianapolis Sunday for a 1:00 game against the Colts. The Steelers have had success against the Colts in the playoffs winning their last two meetings both in 1995 for the AFC Championship and 1996 both at Pittsburgh. This Colts team is diferrent, however, and are already 9 1/2 point favorites. Indianpolis laid down the law in a Monday night matchup of the two teams earlier this season for a 26-7 drubbing of the Steelers. The noise and fan support in the RCA dome was a considerable factor in that game and drew allegations that noise had been artificially piped in.

“I don’t think that game matters at all,” Colts' coach Tony Dungy said. “It’s how you play that particular game. They’re going to look at the tape and see things they can do better and that they feel like they should have done differently. We can’t rely on the fact that we’re at home, or that we managed to beat them early in the season.”

Winning its last five games, all five must-win situations, the Steelers are happy to be moving on and look to attempt to ground Peyton Manning's high-powered offense while trying to get the running game going against a Colts defense that completely shut them down in their first meeting.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Steelers vs. Colts Rematch??

Will the Terrible Towels wave at the RCA Dome again this year? Many, including analysts and Vegas bookmakers, think they will.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, a 3-point favorite, travel to Cincinnati to play the AFC Central champion Bengals in a wildcard playoff matchup. In two meetings with the Bengals this year, the Steelers won at home and lost on the road. A Pittsburgh victory will set up a rematch in Indianapolis where the Steelers hope to avenge a 26-7 loss to the Colts November 28 on Monday Night Football.

But the Steelers shouldn't look past the Bengals who posted league-high offensive numbers and were considered to be among the elite teams in the NFL this season. This will be the Bengals' first playoff appearance since 1990, and emotions on the field and in the stands will be charged.

“They’re playing at a high level,” said head coach Bill Cowher about the Bengals. “They’re explosive. They played well defensively down the stretch. There will be a lot of excitement in that stadium, their first playoff game in a long time. It’s a big, big challenge for us. We certainly have to play better than the last time we played them. It’s going to be a big challenge for us.”

Pittsburgh is on a roll after putting together a 4-game winning streak to finish the season and get into the playoffs. They were able to re-establish the running game and were impressive in a 21-9 victory against the NFC Number 2 seed, Chicago Bears.

If the Steelers can get the Bus rolling Sunday, the next stop just might be at Peyton Manning's front door.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

These people are insane

I photographed the annual polar bear plunge in Fort Wayne today. I watched a couple hundred people under the influence of: insert preference here, jump into the St. Joseph river on a day when the water temperature had to be just above freezing. It's crazy, and I'm fairly certain that I won't be doing it anytime soon.

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