By Lynn Saternow
Herald Sports Editor
ONE GOOD THING about the NFL season for Steelers’ and Browns’ fans — it comes to a merciful end today.
It has been agony watching the performances of those two under-achieving clubs this season. And I don’t look for anything better today.
Pittsburgh’s season went in the dumper when Ben Roethlisberger wrecked his motorcycle. Wait, I take that back. It went in the dumper when coach Bill Cowher played him during the first month of the season instead of sitting him out and giving him more time to recover from the accident.
Throw in an appendectomy as well as getting dumped by gorgeous golfer/model Natalie Gulbis; it’s been a bad year all around for Big Ben.
I look for this to be Bill Cowher’s final game with the Steelers. I can’t imagine his family moving to the Carolinas and him staying here another year. I’m sure he has made enough money to live comfortably and he’ll be able to watch his daughters play basketball — 2 at Princeton and one in high school.
He could take a job as a TV football analyst — please let him replace that pathetic Michael Irvin — or he could just sit out and come back and coach at a later time somewhere else.
I look for him to go out on a sour note today. The Steelers are playing at Cincinnati and the Bengals have a shot at the playoffs. Unless Carson Palmer is injured (again!), he should pick apart the Steelers defense.
Pittsburgh looked horrible against Baltimore last week, so it looks like they are just playing to get the season over with. That will happen today with a 31-13 thumping.
Meanwhile, the Browns are even more horrendous. Romeo Crennel has lost control of that team, which apparently has a few too many primadonnas. Browns owner Randy Lerner has given Crennel a vote of confidence, which means he’s probably out the door after the season.
That means, Jim Tressel may be ready to step up and try the pros. Then again, Lerner could give Crennel one more year and then try to get Cowher to come to Cleveland.
But Lerner had better do something soon because even the forever-loyal (and apparently stupid) Cleveland fans are getting tired of rooting for stiffs.
Today Cleveland is down to its third-string quarterback — as if it matters.
The Browns lose to lowly Houston, 20-16, but earn a higher draft pick — as if it matters.
And like an idiot I’ll be thinking that the Browns will do better next year.
Last week my predictions went 7-7 for a season mark of 144-87. Following are this week’s picks (betting line in parentheses just for fun):
Green Bay (plus 21/2) over Chicago
New York Jets (-121/2) over Oakland
Denver (-101/2) over San Fran
Philly (-71/2) over Atlanta
Tampa (-31/2) over Seattle
New Orleans (-3) over Carolina
St. Louis (plus 21/2) over Minnesota
Dallas (-121/2) over Detroit
New England (plus 3) at Tennessee
Indy (-9) over Miami
Kansas City (-21/2) over Jacksonville
Baltimore (-9) over Buffalo
San Diego (-14) over Arizona
By Lynn Saternow