Saturday, February 14, 2009

In Honor of Valentine's Day, My Man-Crushes

After watching the Pitt hoops squad put together another win today over the middling Cincy squad that isn't yet ready to contend for the Big East, I'm just not sure I have it in me to write another "Sam Young is the man" or "Levance Fields is the best all-around point guard in college b-ball" or "Pitt's depth is what seperates them from past teams" post. I've written that enough this season, and Pitt didn't prove much of anything today that we didn't already know. A post like that seemed especially pointless because we'll have a real good idea about this Pitt squad after Monday night's showdown with UConn.

So instead I decided to go with a post that had at least a tiny bit of creativity and originality behind it. In honor of Valentine's Day, I put together my top Pittsburgh man-crushes. Don't judge me for it. These crushes are completely and totally heterosexual, they are just my infatuations with some of the many superb athletes in the Burgh.

10 James Harrison- Harrison is the ultimate underdog type of story. He's just an absolute beast on D as evidenced by his DPOY award and has a downright terrifying reputation as being one of the most ill-tempered people in football. He's just such a badass, you have to love him.9 Andrew McCutchen- I couldn't put together this list without at least including a Pirate on here somewhere. And while Cutch isn't technically a Bucco yet, he is the ultimate symbol of hope for this franchise. And in case you don't know, I'm always the optimist when it comes to the Pirates. Plus, this has to be the year he finally makes it to the show, especially with an incompetent like Nyjer Morgan playing left field.

8 Sam Young- Sam I Am has been an athletic marvel for 4 years at Pitt and will go down as one of the better scorers in school history (he holds the school single season record, is 10th in career points and has a good shot at cracking the top 5). He looks to have regained his swagger after some mid-season struggles and is playing terrific basketball right now. And did I mention he has a future in the NBA?

7 Hines Ward- How can you not love Hines Ward? He's the toughest wide receiver in football, is the most decorated receiver in Steeler history, is still putting up terrific numbers as his career has evolved into the form of a crafty veteran, and is almost universally adored by the massive Steeler Nation. And he's always smiling.

6 LeSean McCoy- Shady may not technically be a Pittsburgh athlete any longer, but I had to put him on here. He's one of the most dominant and incredible talents I've ever seen and if he doesn't evolve into a top-notch, 1000-yard rusher in the NFL I will be floored. The guy is a beast and carried Pitt football on his back to one of the biggest upsets in school history and the school's best season in 25 years despite an otherwise dreadful offense. So long Shady, you will be missed, dearly.

5 Troy Polamalu- Troy is one of the most unique and dynamic players in football. There isn't another defender who is quite like him. He changes the entire game of the offense just by dashing around like a mad man pre-snap. The signature long hair only adds to his legend. And when he gets the ball in his hands...look out.

4 Evgeni Malkin- Geno is just an absolute monster out on the ice. He is the best player in hockey, and I just don't see how you can make a winning argument for anyone else right now. The only reason he isn't higher is because he's been kind of a hard guy to connect with the last few seasons. He is starting to open up a bit but still has a ways to go. Still, its been good to at least get a glimpse of his personality in recent months.

3 DeJuan Blair- DeJuan is like the Hines Ward of college hoops. Always smiling, uses his physicality, passion and talent to overcome being a bit undersized, and it's next to impossible to hate him... unless you are playing against them that is. DeJuan gets a boost because of his local roots and because I can never remember a more beloved, more respected, and more connected college kid in the area. I imagine this is kind of what it was like when Dan Marino or Tony Dorsett were playing on their respective Pitt teams a few decades ago.

2 Sidney Crosby- Up until a few weeks ago, Sid would have almost certainly been numero uno on this list. His talent is remarkable, he is incredibly charismatic, is the face of not just his team but his league, and never seems to get shaken by the off-ice demands. He's also the biggest reason the Pens have enjoyed their incredible renaissance and has inspired incredible hope in this franchise and its fan base.1 Ben Roethlisberger- But with his second Super Bowl win a few 13 days ago there's just no way that I can deny Big Ben his rightful status as my number 1 man crush. Ben is the most unique QB in the NFL, a guy whose impact and play can't be quantified by the slightly antiquated NFL statistics. His ability to extend plays and take the right chances at the right time and his uncanny two-minute drill prowess is a sight to behold. I will mainain until my death that there isn't another QB in all of football that could have won the Super Bowl with this particular offense. For these reasons and for so many more Big Ben Roethlisberger is the ultimate man-crush. Not that's there anything wrong with that.Do you have a man crush? Let me know who it is in the comments below or by e-mailing me THREERIVERSPORTS@GMAIL.COM

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