Friday, September 08, 2006


"The Kiss" Heard Round the Burgh.

(The Burgh - September 8, 2006) - Well, the season opener is behind us, but I can't think of a better way for the Steelers to kick-off the 2006 NFL season than what I witnessed less than 12 hours ago. It was a beautiful night in the Burgh - and the 99 Bananas was flowing during the tailgate to get me into "game shape".

The contest had its highs and lows, but the fourth quarter was one of the best I can remember in all my games at either Heinz Field or Three Rivers Stadium. And to my delight, most of the action unfolded right in front of me - literally - as most of these plays occurred on my side of the field right about where I sit (between the 30 & 40 yard lines).

First, with 6:11 to go in the game, I was treated to a perfect 87 yard pass thrown by Charlie Batch to Heath Miller that resulted in the longest completion from scrimmage in the history of Heinz Field. Since Miller's pattern had him running from left to right across the field, I got to see the ball thrown directly at me before Miller grabbed it in full stride and took off to the races to put the Steelers ahead for good 21-17. That turned out to be just the beginning of the fun.

Next came Troy Polamalu's pick of Daunte Culpper with 5:51 remaining in the game. And then with just under 3 minutes left, came the icing on the cake - Joey Porter's interception and 42 yard return for a touchdown to put the game out of reach 28-17. And then, for all of you who missed it, came what is now known around town as"the kiss".

Coach Cowher, who is more commonly seen slobbering or scowling at his players, and Joey Porter, the meanest player in the NFL as voted by his peers, embraced in what appeared to us (although we were about 30 rows away) to be more than sideline conversation. Then we saw the whole interlude on today's local news. Yes, Stillers Nation, it definitely was a kiss by Porter on the Chin's cheek - and, being in a loving mood, it appeared as if Cowher reciprocated.

WPXI's Alby Oxenreiter poked fun at Porter after the game, when he stopped in mid-interview and said: "Don't try and kiss me", which prompted Porter to crack a big smile and start laughing.

For a wrap-up of last night's win over the Miami Dolphins, check out Rich Walsh and Alby Oxenreiter's
video podcast.

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