Watch Tower: Leftwich Injury, Roethlisberger Suspension, Steelers Cuts

The final week of the Steelers 2009 off season provided a lot of news and a lot of drama between Byron Leftwich’s injury and the Steelers final cuts.

How all of this impacts the Steelers is of course what fans care about. And that is as it should be. However, the events of the last week provided some insights into how the press works. Here are some highlights.

Leftwich Injures Left Knee and Leaves Game

This news spread pretty fast – I learned about it from PG Plus, but it was also carried by ESPN and other outlets.

But Ed Bouchette came away with the scoop of the night, informing us that the Steelers were taking Leftwich to the hospital to get an MRI done.

  • Score one for Ed Bouchette and the Post-Gazette.

However those following the comment stream on Behind the Steel Curtain learned that Leftwich had torn his MCL, thanks to a tweet from Leftwich’s agent.

  • Score one for Twitter and fan-based sites like Behind the Steel Curtain

The Big Meeting in New York’s Sal Palantonio dropped a minor bombshell during the middle of the week, when he reported that his sources had informed him that Ben Roethlisberger and his representatives were going to push Roger Goodell to reduce his suspension to two or three games.

He further reported that Steelers President Art Rooney II was going to New York to support Ben in this endeavor.

The interesting part is that the Pittsburgh papers did immediately pick up the story.

However, the Post-Gazette’s Gerry DuLac reported the day before the meeting that neither Ben nor the Steelers were going to push Goodell for a further reduction of Ben’s suspension. All reports out of New York indicate that he was right.

  • Score one for Gerry DuLac and the Post-Gazette.

Ben Breaks Down in the Locker Room Before Beginning his Suspension

One of the most interesting stories of the last week was one that only readers of Jim Wexell’s Inside the Steel City site saw.

Mike Pruista, the former Tribune Review columnist and current WDVE sports director, reported that Ben Roethlisberger broke down in the locker room and addressed the team, apologizing for the fact that he was about to be suspended.

The interesting thing is that neither rival Pittsburgh publicaions, nor national publications, picked up the story.

I’ve always liked Jim Wexell since his days with the web site Real because I felt he brought something to readers that other beat writers missed, and this amounts to a major another scoop on the part of him and Pruista.

They may have benefited from some sort of exclusive, but if that’s the case it in no way diminishes the power of their story.

  • Score one for Inside the Steel City.

Steelers Reach Cut Down Day

Steelers fans could get information on the team’s first 10 cuts directly from the team’s website, although as noted at the time, Behind the Steel Curtain beat both Pittsburgh papers in getting the information to the web.

Indeed, Scott Brown of the Tribune-Review got something before mid-night, but the Post-Gazette did not have anything up there as of 12:00 am Eastern.

With just a few clicks, fans could learn that Kraig Urbik, Justin Hartwig, and Frank “The Tank” Summers were also going to be included in the next wave of cuts, news that came from Inside Pittsburgh Sports, among other sources.

Interestingly enough, readers of the Post-Gazette did not learn about these impending moves, not even from the paid PG Plus section.

  • Score one for Inside Pittsburgh Sports and Twitter

Thanks for visiting. To read more analysis of the media that cover the Steelers, click here to read more from Steel Curtain Rising’s Watch Tower.

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2 thoughts on “Watch Tower: Leftwich Injury, Roethlisberger Suspension, Steelers Cuts

  1. wow. thanks for the info about ben apologizing to the team. didn’t hear that anywhere else.

    since you seemed to be interested on the reporting styles of the different papers: remember how tomlin said he wasn’t going to disclose the starting qb for the game against the falcons and then he ended up announcing it? apparently bouchette was responsible for inappropriately leaking that dixon got all the 1st team reps and the team probably felt there was no longer any use hiding it:

  2. Tim,

    Good to hear from you as always.

    Yes, media analysis is a small, but (I hope) interesting part of this blog.

    I saw the bit about Bouchette from Pro Football Talk. Were it not for the fact that we’ve already had two “Watch Tower” entries this week, with another in the works, I’d probably be writing about it.

    At the end of the day, I am not sure what to make of it. I’ve known that reporters face restrictions on what they can write and I have always been curious to know how they define what makes it into print, and what doesn’t.

    On top of that, my gut feeling is that Ed Bouchette and Gerry DuLac probably know a lot more than they write about.

    Remember how it came out after the 2005 season that Tommy Maddox had gotten into a shouting match with Bill Cowher?

    Perhaps they did not find out about it at the time, but my guess is that they had some idea.

    My guess is that this is just a minor slap on the wrist. The Steelers, since the days of Art Rooney Sr. have gone out of their way to be media friendly, and that is not likely to change.

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