There are three things that bother me about the Pittsburgh Steeler organization. Let me get this out of the way first: We all know ad nauseum,"Football is a business!"
1. Mike Tomlin is not - and I repeat not - a good coach. He gets outcoached all the time. He inherited a good team from Bill Cowher. And out of a convoluted sense of political correctness, the Rooneys hired him to comply with their rule of hiring minorities, rather than his skill set.
2. There is no such thing as loyalty in the NFL. The Steelers organization has proven it over and over. They let Franco Harris and Rod Woodson go to other teams and now Hines Ward and a slew of other players who put their hearts and bodies on the line for two more Super Bowl rings.
3. And last but not least, the Steelers organization has allowed the great golden boy of the NFL, Roger Goodell, to scare them into a state of playing football that can only be described as pansy-like, uncourageous and scared.
In closing, the Steelers have tried their very best to get Big Ben killed by not providing him with a legitimate NFL offensive line.
And if I were Troy Polamalu, I would be looking over my "Head and Shoulders," knowing full well that I got beat like a drum last season. Sadly, he is probably next to go out the door either upright or on a stretcher.
Lady Lions disappoint
I was very disappointed in the Penn State Lady Lions during the Big Ten Tournament.
The Lady Lions were never ready to perform in this tournament. They ran out of gas after winning the Big Ten championship.
Purdue had all the answers in how to defend against the Lady Lions. Maggie Lucas was constantly hounded and had a very bad night. When Alex Bentley fouled out, the Lady Lions had no chance of winning. I also thought Nikki Greene played poorly. One thing is obvious to me: Ohio State and Purdue are the dominant teams in the Big Ten. And Penn State has a poor history against both.
Penn State will now have to regroup and find a way to get back on the winning track. Any team they play in the NCAA Tournament will have this game tape and will prepare accordingly.
I don't know where the Lady Lions will be seeded in whatever region they play in, but I have doubts they will even get into the Sweet 16.
CH coach deserving
I would like to respond to last week's letter by John Leonard, of Fredericksburg, Va., about my father, Mike Eckenrode.
I would first like to say that Mr. Leonard, as stated in his letter, is definitely no wrestling expert and seems to know very little about District 6 wrestling.
If he did, he never would have written his letter.
Secondly, I'm very disappointed in the Altoona Mirror for even printing the letter without first checking the facts.
District 6 does not have a committee that votes on the Coach of the Year. It's voted on by all of the District 6 wrestling coaches. The coach of the year is voted on prior to the district medal rounds. At that time, Cambria Heights had five finalists and was leading in team points.
Mike Eckenrode has served as an assistant/head wrestling coach for Cambria Heights for the past 25 years. He has put in countless hours of his time over the years trying to shape young wrestlers. His honesty, work ethic and integrity are unmatched, and this is why the other coaches voted him coach of the year.
Coach Eckenrode has always put the best interest of his wrestlers and his team first, and this year was no different. Due to several CH injuries, he wanted to allow Claysburg to wrestle in Heights' spot at the District Duals. His intention was to allow his kids to get some additional rest and to have the best eight teams wrestle at the District Duals.
Teams have withdrawn from the District 6 Duals in the past. This year, however, District 6 made a big deal out of Cambria Heights withdrawing, because Mount Union, the No. 1 seed, did not want to wrestle Claysburg. I'm not sure how letting a better team into the District Duals is an integrity issue on my dad's part. To me, letting a better team compete is exactly what a true coach of the year does.
At the age of 57, my father still works out and conditions with his wrestlers every night. He not only helps his team, but also coaches the junior high kids through the PJW.
Mr. Leonard's "gutless" comment was extremely offensive to my family and the entire CH wrestling community. Coach Mike Eckenrode is as far from a gutless person that you will ever find.
He was well deserving of the coach of the year award, and the only thing fishy here is Mr. Leonard questioning it. I would like to congratulate the Mount Union wrestling team for winning both the District Duals and District team title and the Claysburg-Kimmel team for winning the Southwest Regional team title.
And congratulations, Dad, for your Coach of the Year award. You make us all very proud.