Saturday, December 31, 2011

Free Tank Carter's 100th Post-of-the-Year Spectacular

It's been a dizzying year for us here at FTC. We've never before posted 100 times in a calendar year, and we haven't experienced this much traffic since Jeff Pearlman discovered us while Googling himself two years ago.

A few end-of-the-year shout outs to:
Aaron Tarnow of Play Petr Prucha, our friend, colleague and the world's greatest hockey fan.
Geoff Detweiler of SB Nation, the only Flyers fan we like.
Jesse Wood for his refreshing and independent football insight.
FTC Writer Emeritus Dan Richey for really stepping it up with the FTC Twitter account on game days.
Greg Gillotti, for poking us when we need it.
Scott Steckel, for his love of all things Pitt.
Akshar Abbott, who pimps this site like it's nobody's effing business.
Blogger, for making it infinitely to place images posts with its new format.
Whoever runs the Parking Authority garages Downtown, and felt that our art was worthy of spots on its public bulletin boards. (You can visit the ongoing exhibition of FTC's work in the lobbies of garages at Sixth Avenue & Fort Duquesne Boulevard, and Penn Avenue between Sixth and Seventh.

Special thanks to Todd Graham, Penn State administration, Mayor Dudeface, Bruce Arians and all the others who inspire our creative disdain. It's going to be tough to top you guys next year.

Finally and most importantly, thank you. We appreciate your reading, your kind words and your sharing our stuff when you think it's worthwhile. We mainly do it because we're angry and sometimes feel the need to yell at the internet, but after us, we totally do it for the dozen or so of you who make a point of annoying us to write more often. As always, you can reach us at, or on Twitter @FreeTankCarter.

We leave you with our FTC Moment of the Year

The 2011 FTC End of Season Awards

I don't know why we do this for football and not any other sport, and I don't know why we haven't come up with a better name for them. Either way, here they are, as voted on by your favorite team of third-rate sports bloggers.

The Randall Cunningham Comeback Player of the Year - Marshawn Lynch
Overall, it was a pretty weak field this year, but Lynch took Beast Mode to an entirely new level. Also receiving votes: Steve Smith.

The Mitch Berger "How-Do-I-Still-Have-a-Job-In-This-Economy?" Award - Norv Turner
Our first repeat winner! Surely Norv gets canned this off-season, right? Right?

The Jamain Stephens Ongoing Disappointment Award - Chris Kemoeatu
A strong contender in years past, Kemo sealed it up this year when his penchant for tripping over his own feet and falling into his quarterback got him sent to the bench in favor of the revolving door of Trai Essex/Ramon Foster/Doug Legursky.

The Daniel Sepulveda (nee Paul Posluszny) Glass Skeleton Trophy - Byron Leftwich
It's impossible to ignore these two gentlemen, so in accordance with a great suggestion by Franco, we're renaming the PPGST in honor of the Steelers' future former punter and giving it to their future former backup quarterback. 

The Rex Grossman Award - Josh Freeman
It would be very tempting to give this to Rex Grossman, as he actually played significant time this year, but Freeman's 14 TDs, 19 INTs and 74.9 QB rating are going to get Raheem Morris fired.

The Brett Favre Golden Boy of the Year - Tim Tebow
Michael Wilbon calls him the league's first "white black quarterback." That's all I have to say.

The Antonio Freeman Play of the Year - Marshawn Lynch goes Beast Mode

There was some clamor for Jerome Simpson's flip into the end zone, but I don't buy for a second that he actually needed to make that move in order to score on that play. Jerome Simpson is a showboater who is afraid of contact. I don't think I saw anyone obnoxiously celebrate every little catch this season as much as Simpson. Lynch just does absurd shit like this, then goes to the bench for his handful of Skittles.

The Jim Zorn Play of the Year - Jason Garrett ices his own kicker, loses game

Around week 12, we started getting worried that we hadn't seen anything to warrant the Jim Zorn tag this year. Then, Jason Garrett came up big time.

The Woody Hayes Punch of the Year - Ndamokong Suh kicks a guy in the head
Not technically a punch, but the spirit of the award is sportsmanship more than punching. Suh gets bonus points for denying it later.

The Joe Theisman Award for Horrific Primetime Injury - Adrian Peterson
All Day ripped everything that wasn't bone completely out of his leg against the Redskins. I'm not even going to post the video.

The Clinton Portis Medal for Fantasy Genocide - Chris Johnson
Copspeed really screwed everyone who owned him this year, and his whopping 56 yards in Week 16 sealed the deal. Johnson beats out Jamaal Charles because you had the luxury of being able to cut the latter, while the former was totally unmovable and necessitated a start every week.

The LaDanian Tomlinson "Who Stole My Relevance?" Award - Michael Vick
Giving $100 million to a fragile, 30-plus-year-old quarterback who won't play more than 12 games doesn't seem like such a great idea anymore, does it?

The Adrian Peterson "I Stole Your Relevance" Award - Cam Newton
I will be the first to admit I was completely, totally 100 percent wrong on this guy's ability to play professional ball.

The Brett Favre Disingenuous Asshole Award - Jim Harbaugh
Handshakegate with Jim Schwartz notched this one. Special recognition to Donovan McNabb for saying he wants to help mentor Christian Ponder and Joe Webb by asking for his release from the Vikings.

The Larry Johnson Trophy for Worst Breakout Performance - Felix Jones
Jones was handed the starting job from the get-go, and took advantage of it by rushing for 2.8 yards per carry or some shit, then getting hurt, again, before ceding the job to DeMarco Murray. Shonn Greene put in another terrible effort to contend for this one again, but Jones skips away with this on his tantalizing upside.

The Eddie George Medal for Valor in Hitting a Wall - Hines Ward
Bruce Arians calls bubble screen to Hines Ward.

Matt: Is it the bubble screen?

/Ward gets tacked


The Jerome Bettis Trade of the Year - Cincinnati Bengals unload Carson Palmer
Davis the Younger honors the memory of his father by trading away infinity first-round draft picks for Carson Palmer. Cincy now has all of the first-round picks forever and Andy Dalton looks pretty good. Mike Brown will probably still find a way to fuck this up.

The Brian Billick Feel-Good Firing of the Year - Todd Haley
When Romeo Crennel, who doesn't appear to have movement in his arms or legs, does more to inspire your shit team in four games than you could in two years, there's nothing more to be learned than that you're an asshole.

The Butch Davis Mid-Season Firing of the Year - Joe Paterno
It's a dubious awards post, and he has to get something.

The Tamarick Vanover Work Release Player of the Year - Plaxico Burress
Spotty, but effective this season.

The LIRA (Least-Impact Rookie Award) - Gabe Carimi
You did it, Gabe. You killed Jay Cutler.

The Kevin Greene Award for Best Hair by a Pass Rusher - Kevin Greene
Jared Allen's mullet is long gone, and we hate Clay Matthews so much that we're just going to give it to Kevin Greene this year.

FTC Mike Tomlin Man of the Year - Aaron Rodgers/Drew Brees (tie)
We hate to do this, but we love both of these guy so goddamn much. Rodgers is currently playing quarterback better than anyone else ever has, and Brees should be walking away from this year as the single-season record holder for passing yards. They also gave us the best game of the entire season -- it just so happened to be the first game of the season -- and we're hoping for a repeat at some point in the playoffs. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Pittsburgh "In" for 2012?

When I see Pittsburgh get recognition, I almost instantly devolve into a small child who's been given an entire roll of aluminium foil. I couldn't watch Pens-Caps 24/7 last year without wearing adult diapers. That's how much I love this town. So whenever I see something linked or posted that contains the promise of some Steel Town love, I jump in it. When National Geographic, Forbes and The Economist all declare Pittsburgh special for its various awesome qualities, I always read that stuff. So too was the case with this gem.

I heard earlier today that the Washington Post had declared Pittsburgh to be "hot" or "in" or "good," so I went searching for the story. Until today, I was under the impression that the Washington Post was still a newspaper. After reviewing the list, I'm still not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

Here's a brief summary of what else the Washington Post says is "Out" with 2011 and "In" with 2012.
Out: Apps
In: Naps
You heard it here first, people. The Washington Post says that apps are out! Sell all your apps and then delete the ones you can't sell! Apps are done! Over! In fact, just throw away your phone. You won't need it, as 2012 is to be the year of the napture.

Out: Ryan Gosling
In: Michael Fassbender
Pack it in, Gosling! "Ides of March" underwhelmed! Someone take this guy out back and shoot him -- we found someone more German.

Out: Organic vodka
In: White whiskey
Why the continued fascination with clear alcohol? Do people think it's healthier or something? Are we going to start just drinking it right out of the still?

Out: Hyperbole
In: Pragmatism
I didn't realize these were mutually exclusive. Isn't the very suggestion that they are hyperbolic in and of itself? Didn't we just agree to slaughter Ryan Gosling?

Out: Tebowing
In: Hunting the God particle
Ordinary people of Earth: Where once you planked and then, several weeks later, you Tebowed, return to that location, only with a particle accelerator larger than Switzerland, and take photos of yourself and your friends learning about the nature of matter. THIS IS 2012!

Out: Lobbyists
In: Paid historians
I was a history major in college, and I still have no idea what this means, but I'm sure the lobbyists find it hilarious that someone thinks they're "so last year."

Out: Civil War reenactors
In: Titanic revivalists
I'll actually be thrilled if this turns out to be true because it will mean a lot of obnoxious people will be drowning themselves on purpose in the coming year.

Out: New Girl
In: Girls
As someone who has been trying in semi-earnest to flirt with Lena Dunham on Twitter since February, I'm glad the rest of the world seems to be coming around. On the other hand, I'm dismayed that the rest of the world seems to be coming around.

Out: Bryce Dallas Howard
In: Jessica Chastain
Jessica Chastain had made about nine movies that were all on the shelf until last year, and two or three of them -- including Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" -- came out last year. Don't call it a comeback, she's been here for years. Also, who the FUCK is Bryce Dallas Howard?

Out: Michael Caine
In: Christopher Plummer
Wait, is this 1968? I thought I was reading the Internet. Is this the year we finally lose Helen Mirren and get a heavy dose of that sexpot Maggie Smith? In: push-button telephones! Money-grams! AM radio!

Out: Rothian ennui
In: Didionesque despair
The Washington Post is already working on mounting a campaign to get Joan Didion to host SNL. They're also going to feel so bad when Philip Roth dies in two weeks.

Out: Natalee Holloway
In: Natalie Wood
Old British actors weren't enough? We've taken to actually making an argument out of which dead people are hotter right now? How about something people actually care about, like "In: Randy Fichtner, out: Bruce Arians"?

Out: Reagan
In: Thatcher
Will this finally be the year Maggs catches up to Ron? The Washington Post, newspaper of Ben Bradlee, Katherine Graham and Bob Woodward says yes!

Out: Drama
In: Obama
Presidential legislation outlawing drama forces TNT to learn something else, possibly with the help of Bo Jackson.

So you can understand the trepidation I might have when I see this list contains:

Out: Portland
In: Pittsburgh

In the context of the piece, this feels like it might be the Madden Curse.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

FTC asks the tough questions

Mayor Dudeface Rises

When we last left Mayor Dudeface, he had weaseled his way into the U.S. Open, the Steelers' victory parade, the Penguins' victory parade, a veritable cornucopia of fine dinners, awful concerts and other excesses in abuse of the throne. So it should come as no shock that when Christopher Nolan took over Pittsburgh during the summer to shoot The Dark Knight Rises, Mayor Dudeface just had to get in on the action. So not only did he get to apply his valuable football skills from his experience as a Division III kicker at Washington & Jefferson, he actually made it into the film's first trailer at the 1:08 mark.

That's not just a guy in a "Ravenstahl" jersey, that's actually him.

Scene: Pittsburgh City-County Building. Mayor Dudeface sits comfortably, hands folded, in a swivel throne of black leather with opulent gold trim. He faces the window, his back to his desk. The mahogany walls are lined with poster-sized photos of Mayor Dudeface posing with Pittsburgh sports greats, including Lynn Swann, Mario Lemieux, Ben Roethlisberger, Sidney Crosby and Andy Van Slyke. Many of them are autographed by the athletes. All of them are autographed by the mayor. A curvy blond aide in a thigh-high skirt and a low-cut blouse enters the room.

Aide: Mr. Mayor, there's a movie man here to see you.

/makes pouty face toward camera that does not exist

Mayor: Send him in.

Christopher Nolan: Mr. Mayor? Chris Nolan. Pleased to finally meet you, sir. As we discussed on the phone, I'll be directing the new Batman film, and I'd very much like to use Pittsburgh as my Gotham City.

/Mayor Dudeface remains in his chair, still facing the window

Mayor: Have a seat, Mr. Nolan.

/Nolan sits

Mayor: As you know, Mr. Nolan, I'd be thrilled to let you make your little movie here. I've always thought of Pittsburgh as the Gotham City of the Americas, so it's high-time our town gets the recognition it so richly deserves.

Nolan: I couldn't agree more, Mr. Mayor. 

Mayor: Call me Luke, Mr. Nolan.

Nolan: Yes, right. Well, Luke, The architecture here is so lovely and diverse, and after scouting it for a few months, I feel like it's exactly what we're looking for. Now we're looking to start shooting this summer, and we'd be in town for about three months. I've had my production team draw up a shooting schedule that not only allows us to get all of the shots we need, but at minimal inconvenience to the normal goings on in the city. I believe our sides have agreed to the appropriate compensation for this, and all that remains are the street closure and filming permits, and I have those here for your signature. Now if we're able to start the first week of...

Mayor: Mr. Nolan.

Nolan: Yes, Luke?

Mayor: Call me Mayor Luke.

Nolan: Um...right. Well, Mayor Luke, if we get started in the first week of...

Mayor: Chris, how would you like total access to the city? I'll close every street and every bridge on your command. Multiple police helicopters. More fireworks than you've ever seen in your goddamn life. I can make this whole city your stage on location. Wouldn't that be great, Chris?

Nolan: You'd just shut down the entire city for three months?

Mayor: Yes.

Nolan: I don't understand. What's the catch?

/Mayor finally swivels his black and gold throne around to face Nolan. He leans in and whispers.

Mayor: I'm Batman.

Nolan: What?


Nolan: That's very generous for you to offer, Mayor Luke, but we have Christian Bale already lined up for the role.

Mayor: I'll replace him.

Nolan: He's rather firmly entrenched at this point, sir. 

Mayor: I see how it is, Chris. Well, you can forget about those filming permits!

Nolan: You can play the kicker on the opposing football team, and I'll see to it that you appear in the trailer.

Mayor: OH HOLY SHIT THAT'S AWESOME! Where do I sign?

From 1:23 through 1:30, Hines Ward has a cameo during which he returns the mayor's kickoff and the field collapses into a sinkhole behind him as he runs. This prompts even more important questions about the film. What the hell is Hines Ward doing returning kickoffs? If Ward is the fastest guy on the field and the only one able to outrun the sinking terrain, what does that say about the quality of talent in whatever league the Gotham Rogues and Rapid City Monuments are playing in? Is Bruce Arians a head coach in this league? Do they run bubble screens on every play? Why would such a presumably shitty team have such a nice stadium?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

He looks so sad walking off the field

Bruce Arians calls bubble screen to Hines Ward.

Matt: Is it the bubble screen?

/Hines Ward gets tacked