Les: Locker Room Material is Irrelevant

Mr. Levine mulls pre-Super Bowl hype and the Browns Super future...

Former Dallas Cowboy running back Duane Thomas said it best when he said "If the Super Bowl is the ultimate game, why are they going to play another one next year?" Whether or not that gave the opposing team some locker room bulletin board material at the time is up for debate, but if he said it at Media Day for this year's Super Bowl I am sure somebody would attempt to use it to his advantage.

That somebody might be Pittsburgh's Joey Porter, who now is seeing blood after determining that Seattle tight end Jerramy Stevens guaranteed a Seahawk victory in Super Bowl XL. All Stevens said was that Jerome Bettis returning to Detroit was a nice story, but it won't end well as The Bus will return to Pittsburgh without a trophy. Porter made that sound like it was a Joe Namath guarantee.

What was Stevens supposed to say? That the Seahawks are lucky to be there? That he hopes Bettis gets the trophy? That he can't wait for his tee time on Monday morning?

Does Joey Porter or any Pittsburgh Steeler really need that to get fired up for the biggest game of their lives? From the time the Steelers were eliminated from the playoffs last year, beginning with quarterback camp, continuing with mini-camp, two-a-days, and training camp, they have been pointing for this game, and now, all of a sudden, Stevens' comments have put Joey and his teammates over the edge?

Don't forget that two seasons ago, Joey Porter was the guy who got thrown out of the game in Cleveland an hour before it started, when he go involved in an altercation with the Browns William Green. I suppose that Porter and others may need this kind of motivation, but it is hard to believe.

This whole thing is much ado about nothing. All the more reason to play the Super Bowl the week after the conference championships, instead of having an off-week.

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Last week I asked you to e-mail me to tell why you thought the Browns had a better chance to get to the Super Bowl before the other five teams (not counting Indianapolis) who haven't been there yet. Nobody had a compelling argument. In fact, the majority of the responses indicated that Houston had a better chance than the others, followed by Cleveland and then `the field'. For the most part, people rated Houston and Cleveland ahead of the others based on the poor organizations of the others --- New Orleans, Detroit and Arizona (Jacksonville doesn't belong in that group).

Most of the reasons cited by the responders dealt with an absentee owner, Randy Lerner, followed by the inexperience and lack of a track record of Coach Romeo Crennel and General Manager Phil Savage. Interestingly, nobody cited the front office turmoil which resulted in the resignation of John Collins, even though front office problems were often cited when discussing the other teams.

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Charlie Frye met with the media on Wednesday, and nothing out of the ordinary was said, other than he was rooting for Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl because they were representatives of the AFC North. Former Browns running back Cleo Miller said virtually the same thing, because he only played in the AFC, as he also played for the Kansas City Chiefs. Rivalry between the two cities aside, you would think that they would not like to see the Steelers win because, as defending champions, they would have an additional swagger next year when they, as usual, meet the Browns twice.

In addition, Frye mentioned that he has been compared to Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger since their high school days, growing up apart an hour apart in Ohio, and starring at the same time in the Mid American Conference. Since the two will always be linked as long as they are with their current teams, you would think Frye wouldn't like to see a Super Bowl championship on Big Ben's resume, at least until he got one or two for himself.

We'll have to wait to see how this story develops, but Frye has no idea what the coaching staff is thinking about the starting quarterback position. It is a long off-season, and you would think it would be easier to prepare if you knew where you stood, but apparently Crennel is not yet ready to hand over the reins to the former Akron U. star.

You would think that the coaching staff saw enough in Frye's five starts to know what to do next season, but they are not yet ready to make the commitment.

One thing that stands out from last year is that Trent Dilfer was asked to do much more than expected from the time he signed on. In his eleven starts, either by design or necessity, Dilfer had 29 or more attempts in eight games. For a guy who came with the reputation of managing a game, that is way too many passing attempts, especially when the new offensive linemen were just getting to know each other.

`More Sports & Les Levine' can be seen M-F from 6-7pm with replays at 11pm on Adelphia Channel 15 in northeastern Ohio. He is also the lead Sunday columnist for the News-Herald and Lorain Journal. E-mail msandll @ aol.com or www.leslevine.com

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