says Jon Solomon,

I can only hope that this man’s front piece is Myron Cope urinating off the top of Cleveland’s stadium while being bitten by a Macaw.

In advance of tomorrow’s AFC Championship game with New England, it is comforting to know that members of a 16-1 team can still play the lack of respect card. From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Jerry DiPaola :

The Steelers shut down most of their preparations Friday for the AFC Championship game, with some lingering resentment about their status as 3-point underdogs to the New England Patriots.

“It’s the same old thing we’ve been going through all season,” outside linebacker Joey Porter said. “The respect factor is not there. We beat everybody we played, and for some reason, they (media and other analysts) just don’t believe we are a good team.

“It’s one of those situations we have to go out there and keep proving ourselves. To make it all good, we have to take care of business on Sunday.”

If Porter or any other football player wants to measure respect by the movements of the Vegas betting line, that’s fine with me. But keep in mind, were Pittsburgh installed as favorites by however large or small a margin, you’d be hearing equally loud cries of protest from New England, where they’ve won 2 Super Bowls in 3 years, are on the verge of reaching their 3rd in 4 tries, yet still cling to the identity of an underdog. And all of this manufactured motivation stuff is pretty tiresome, just ask Alex Rodriguez.

CSTB’s call : New England 24, Pittsburgh 10. And please keep in mind that I’m not above editing/deleting said prediction (like so many pieces of hate mail from Pittsburgh fans) if the result is not to my liking.