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Hot Dates (with chocolate, football and mystery food)!

25 Aug

Wow–I have way too many things to update, so long post ahoy:

Numero uno, friends, is Mystery Food Week 11. It was a delicious mix of sweet corn, tomatoes (Mr. Stripey!!!), Thai basil, Italian basil, eggplant, purple potatoes, garlic, hot peppers, nectarines, peaches, and apples. So much food! And I only buy a half-share.Of course the first thing I did when I got home from picking this up was to make a big batch of tomato sauce for pasta. I love a long-cooked tomato sauce, but there’s something so sweet, simple, and wonderful about a quick summer sauce. The squash, potatoes and peppers ended up in a pot roast I made from a chuck blade roast from Polyface farms. I seasoned and seared the meat, caramelized some onions, and then threw everything into the crockpot with a splash of red wine to cook all day. When I came home, Dioji was very anxious to discover where the delicious smell that he couldn’t find was coming from (he’s not allowed in the kitchen while we’re not home–safety first!) and then whined at me when he realized it wasn’t for him. Oh sheltie.

Numero dos is that our fantasy draft for the “I Cannot Wait For Football” league was this past weekend. It went pretty well for me, although I made one really bad decision because of outdated information. Here’s the lineup for team Plaxico’s Cellmate:

QBs: Drew Brees, Jay Cutler, Chad Pennington

RBs: Clinton Portis, Steve Slaton, Joseph Addai

WRs: Chad Ochocinco, T.J. Houshmanzadeh, Steve Breaston, Michael Crabtree

TEs: Dallas Clark, Owen Daniels

K: Ryan Longwell

DEF: Pittsburgh, Philadelphia

A pretty solid draft if I don’t say so myself. The Michael Crabtree thing was a lapse in judgment, I swear. We have another one this weekend, but I’ll be autodrafting because it is the same day as my brother’s wedding. I’m not sure he’d be too pleased with me if I disappeared from the reception to draft a fantasy team.

And Numero Tres is that I’ve been craving filled pastry/cookies. I used to really like fig newtons heated up in the toaster oven when I was a kid. A week or so ago, I was in the market and saw some nice, soft Medjool dates. I remembered from when I was first diagnosed with anemia that dates were a good source of iron, but I’ve never cooked with them before last week. Recalling that the texture of my favorite kashi bar (the dark chocolate/coconut one) is made by creating a date paste, I decided to try a similar route. After several tries using the food processor to create said paste, I got frustrated because it never seemed to get sticky enough to hold everything together. The raw date bar recipes I searched all suggested that the approach would work, but it wasn’t the consistency I wanted. Finally, I found a good old southern recipe for date squares and modified it using a base recipe similar to my Banapple-Nut Bars.

I’m not saying I’m a genius, but this is kind of amazing…

Chocolate-Date Cookie Bars

Ingredients

For the cookie base:
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup mixed nuts, ground to a coarse meal by pulsing in a food processor. (I used a mix of macadamia, cashew, almond, and brazil nuts.)
1/4 cup 10-grain hot cereal or other high-protein hot cereal, dry.
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. baking soda
Pinch salt
2 tbsp. raw honey (I really like buckwheat honey in this, but anything will work.)
1 medium egg
2 tbsp. natural peanut butter
For the filling:
1/2 cup Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 heaping tbsp. dutch process cocoa powder
10 grams 70% dark chocolate, chopped.
For the topping:
1 tbsp. shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/2 oz. mixed nuts, roughly chopped. (If you would like the recipe to be lower-fat, you can skip this and use some lightly toasted seeds, rolled oats, or cereal.)

Method

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small saucepan, combine the dates, extracts, and water over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened. Use a potato masher or immersion blender to create a more even consistency. Stir in the cocoa and dark chocolate and set the mixture aside to cool.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the oats, ground nuts, cereal, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Slowly drizzle in the honey while pulsing occasionally to disperse evenly.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and peanut butter, then add them to the food processor while pulsing occasionally until a sticky dough is formed.

Grease a 9×5 loaf pan and press the cookie dough into the bottom to create an even crust. Next, layer on the chocolate-date paste, and then top with the chopped nuts and shredded unsweetened coconut.

Bake for 20 minutes and cool completely before cutting into bars.

So good. Not a drop of refined sugar or flour and yet somehow full of sweet, chocolatey, nutty goodness.

Nutrition facts: Yields ten servings. Each cookie bar is approximately 138 calories, 7 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of protein, and 16 grams of carbohydrates. They are also a good source of vitamin A, vitamin B-6, folate, and iron.

I think that this recipe could be easily modified into a good energy bar recipe by adding another egg white, replacing some of the oats with some wheat bran, and maybe adding some greek yogurt into the filling or base. If you were so inclined, you could replace the 10 grain cereal with a scoop of vanilla or unflavored protein powder. I’m really trying to keep things more natural these days.

Oh, and if you want to blow your mind…mix a spoonful of the chocolate-date paste and some berries into 5 or 6 oz. of nonfat greek yogurt for a creamy treat. That’s a post-run snack I can totally get behind.

Well, I’m off to Pittsburgh tomorrow for my brother’s wedding, so I’ll be M.I.A for a little while. In advance, have a great weekend and good luck to all my fellow fantasy team owners who have upcoming drafts.

Stay local, folks!

-Neen

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Football (and Mystery Food Week 9)

6 Aug

Ah, August.

You know what that means: NFL training camp is in full swing! The Steelers have their first preseason game next week against Arizona. News from the front lines says that Limas Sweed is looking good as he battles for the number three receiver position behind Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes. Tomlin has been presenting some good challenges to the team, switching players in and out of on-field leadership roles to encourage well-rounded communication. So far, it doesn’t look like the team has taken too many injury hits, but who knows what the next few weeks will bring?

Wishing I could be in Latrobe tomorrow night. The Steelers are holding an evening practice with autograph session and all six of those shiny Lombardi trophies will be on display too!

Since I had football on the brain, I got our fantasy football league set up and ready to go. The draft is going to be interesting this year. I’m sure I’ll have a better sense of who is really raring to go after seeing some preseason games, but right now I feel pretty clueless. I didn’t pay close enough attention to last year’s college season and need to read up more on some of the rookies.

The elephant in the room here seems to be at quarterback. There is no one that comes to mind that I think “Yes, I must have him.” Odd as it sounds, I’m not entirely sure that any of those guys normally considered a safe bet, is in fact a safe bet this year. Sure, either Manning brother is probably reliable, and Roethlisberger would be okay if not for his off-field issues and an o-line that still has a few holes. Tom Brady is an option too, as much as I’m not a fan. He’s had a good, solid year to rehabilitate his injury, but it really depends on how tentative he is with planting that leg. If I had to pick right now….probably Drew Brees. He put up some great numbers last season while his receivers kept switching due to injury, so he’s very flexible. Definitely want to keep an eye open there.

Roethlisberger being embroiled in this civil suit doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s going to have a bad season, but it is certainly going to be on his mind. It’s hard to form an opinion on his situation when inaccurate news is reported as “facts of the case.” The only people that know what really happened are Ben Roethlisberger and Andrea McNulty. I’ve admittedly found it very difficult to remain objective. My gut reaction tells me that I should never doubt a victim coming forward with a claim of sexual assault, especially because victims are so frequently discouraged from doing that or filing any kind of charges (let alone criminal ones). Ms. McNulty’s character as its being reported is more than dubious, but again, I have seen all too clearly how a person’s character can be shredded when the person they are accusing of assault is well-liked. All this said, I hope that things find a way to work out in the healthiest, fairest way for everyone involved.

Onto other things! Picked up my weekly share from Leigh yesterday and it was a big one:We’ve got corn, a big orange tomato, ground cherries (like tiny tomatillos), zucchini, okra, garlic, potatoes, tomatillos, and peaches. The tomato lasted all of a half hour. I sauteed it with some garlic, onion, some cherry tomatoes from the farmer’s market, salt/pepper, and a few sweet peppers. Let everything caramelize a bit and then ran the whole mixture through a food mill. It turned into a glorious burnt-orange colored tomato sauce. We had it on whole wheat penne with some fresh mozzarella. I rarely eat pasta, but it was fantastic.

I’m not sure yet what everything else is destined for, but the peaches are a little bit bruised so I think peach sauce/butter/preserves might be in order. Today was my first day back to running (and in an invigorating morning rain!) since Mt. Gallbladder’s eruption last week , so I diced up some of them for my post-workout yogurt. We’ll see about the rest…mmm peaches.

More later–stay local, folks!
-Neen

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Football (and Mystery Food Week 9)

6 Aug

Ah, August.

You know what that means: NFL training camp is in full swing! The Steelers have their first preseason game next week against Arizona. News from the front lines says that Limas Sweed is looking good as he battles for the number three receiver position behind Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes. Tomlin has been presenting some good challenges to the team, switching players in and out of on-field leadership roles to encourage well-rounded communication. So far, it doesn’t look like the team has taken too many injury hits, but who knows what the next few weeks will bring?

Wishing I could be in Latrobe tomorrow night. The Steelers are holding an evening practice with autograph session and all six of those shiny Lombardi trophies will be on display too!

Since I had football on the brain, I got our fantasy football league set up and ready to go. The draft is going to be interesting this year. I’m sure I’ll have a better sense of who is really raring to go after seeing some preseason games, but right now I feel pretty clueless. I didn’t pay close enough attention to last year’s college season and need to read up more on some of the rookies.

The elephant in the room here seems to be at quarterback. There is no one that comes to mind that I think “Yes, I must have him.” Odd as it sounds, I’m not entirely sure that any of those guys normally considered a safe bet, is in fact a safe bet this year. Sure, either Manning brother is probably reliable, and Roethlisberger would be okay if not for his off-field issues and an o-line that still has a few holes. Tom Brady is an option too, as much as I’m not a fan. He’s had a good, solid year to rehabilitate his injury, but it really depends on how tentative he is with planting that leg. If I had to pick right now….probably Drew Brees. He put up some great numbers last season while his receivers kept switching due to injury, so he’s very flexible. Definitely want to keep an eye open there.

Roethlisberger being embroiled in this civil suit doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s going to have a bad season, but it is certainly going to be on his mind. It’s hard to form an opinion on his situation when inaccurate news is reported as “facts of the case.” The only people that know what really happened are Ben Roethlisberger and Andrea McNulty. I’ve admittedly found it very difficult to remain objective. My gut reaction tells me that I should never doubt a victim coming forward with a claim of sexual assault, especially because victims are so frequently discouraged from doing that or filing any kind of charges (let alone criminal ones). Ms. McNulty’s character as its being reported is more than dubious, but again, I have seen all too clearly how a person’s character can be shredded when the person they are accusing of assault is well-liked. All this said, I hope that things find a way to work out in the healthiest, fairest way for everyone involved.

Onto other things! Picked up my weekly share from Leigh yesterday and it was a big one:We’ve got corn, a big orange tomato, ground cherries (like tiny tomatillos), zucchini, okra, garlic, potatoes, tomatillos, and peaches. The tomato lasted all of a half hour. I sauteed it with some garlic, onion, some cherry tomatoes from the farmer’s market, salt/pepper, and a few sweet peppers. Let everything caramelize a bit and then ran the whole mixture through a food mill. It turned into a glorious burnt-orange colored tomato sauce. We had it on whole wheat penne with some fresh mozzarella. I rarely eat pasta, but it was fantastic.

I’m not sure yet what everything else is destined for, but the peaches are a little bit bruised so I think peach sauce/butter/preserves might be in order. Today was my first day back to running (and in an invigorating morning rain!) since Mt. Gallbladder’s eruption last week , so I diced up some of them for my post-workout yogurt. We’ll see about the rest…mmm peaches.

More later–stay local, folks!
-Neen

The swimmer in hot water (and why we should cool it down).

6 Feb

In the news this week is one of my very favorite athletes, Michael Phelps. Unfortunately, the reason he is in the news isn’t positive. Pictures surfaced of Phelps that depict him inhaling through a water pipe, a device commonly used to smoke marijuana.

I personally didn’t feel disappointed to hear this news and a lot of people around me were a little shocked that I didn’t think it was a big deal. Those of us who grew up with the D.A.R.E program had it burned into our brains that drugs were bad, dangerous, and only used by mean, awful people. At some point along the way, I found myself very curious as to what the “un-simplified” facts were, and after doing a lot of reading, I became of the opinion that marijuana should be legalized and taxed in a way similar to alcohol.

First there’s the economic impact. An article in the December 18, 2006 edition of the Los Angeles Times reads, “A report released today by a marijuana public-policy analyst contends the market value of pot produced in the United States exceeds $35 billion — far more than the crop value of such staples as corn, soybeans and hay.”

We are in the midst of an economic crisis. Legalizing and taxing marijuana could save taxpayers an incredible amount of money and invite a new revenue stream into the economy. In fact, according to Dick Startz, Professor of Economics at the University of Washington, “Washington state would save about $105 million a year if we legalized marijuana (U. Washington News, 6/3/05). He adds that, “An extra $100+ million would be nice for the state budget. But an even better economic argument for legalizing marijuana is that it would move the legal line, so that relatively safe drugs like caffeine, alcohol and marijuana are all on one side of the law and the truly dangerous drugs, such as crack and meth, are on the other.”

So it’s not just economically helpful, it almost has a “reverse gateway” effect. And the argument has support from some very well-read and reliable sources. Dr. Jeffrey Miron, a visiting professor at Harvard reported that, “Replacing marijuana prohibition with a system of taxation and regulation similar to that used for alcoholic beverages would produce combined savings and tax revenues of between $10 billion and $14 billion per year.” His report was endorsed by over 500 distinguished economists.

Then there’s the medicinal side. A federal report concluded that there was evidence of marijuana being beneficial to those suffering severe nausea and pain. The Institute of Medicine states that there is clear scientific evidence to support the therapeutic benefits of, “cannabinoid drugs, primarily THC, for pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation.”

In 2007, a group of researchers at Harvard University found that THC, the psychoactive compound found in marijuana, reduced the growth of lung cancer in mice (Forbes Mag., April 17, 2007). A year later, German researchers at the University of Rostock discovered that certain components in marijuana actually inhibit tumor growth, a conclusion also reached by scientists at Compultense University in Madrid in 2000.

A common argument related to the above is that marijuana is harmful to people’s health. According to a study done by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that there was no correlation between marijuana use and three types of cancer. The results surprised Dr. Donald Tashkin, a veteran of marijuana research, who said, “We hypothesized that there would be a positive association between marijuana use and lung cancer, and that the association would be more positive with heavier use. What we found instead was no association at all, and even a suggestion of some protective effect.” Another study published in the Journal of International Neuropsychology found that there was no correlation between long-term, heavy marijuana use and brain damage. Much like Tushkin, lead researcher Dr. Igor Grant was taken aback. “We were somewhat surprised by our finding, especially since there’s been a controversy for some years on whether long-term cannabis use causes brain damage.” What’s important to keep in mind is that both of these studies were done with adults—but I’ll address why that makes a difference later.

And finally, there’s the infamous “Gateway Drug” theory. This has been debunked so many times over that it was hardly worth finding sources for. Over 12 years, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found that teen marijuana use had no bearing on later drug or alcohol use. Several other studies that can be found here actually predict quite the opposite. Regular marijuana users do not, in fact, move on to other drugs. What is true is that using marijuana as a teenager can put the individual in contact with others who use and sell other, more dangerous drugs. Legalizing and taxing marijuana then actually closes the “gateway.” There’s no evidence suggesting that prohibition has done anything to curb marijuana use. Still, if I were the one considering how to legalize and tax marijuana, I would prefer it have an age-limit of at least 18. While many studies have debunked the negative effects of marijuana in adults, the effect could be very different for a teenager whose body, particularly the nervous system, is still developing.

But really, the bottom line in all of this is that adults ought to be able to make their own decisions. We let, nay encourage people to overeat (I firmly believe that the 2000 calorie Heath bar milkshake from Baskin Robbins which contains a half-pound of sugar is more dangerous than marijuana) and have legalized a drug (alcohol) which is extremely likely to be abused and is very addictive. What is it then that holds us back from making marijuana legal? Well, the Controlled Substance Act of 1970 wrote that it has a high potential for abuse and no acceptable medical use. I would say that research has come a long way in nearly 40 years, and that such outdated laws need to be revisited in light of overwhelming new evidence that contradicts the Act.

Michael Phelps smoked marijuana, it’s true. The International Olympic Committee doesn’t consider marijuana a banned substance, so there’s no issue as to whether he earned his medals or not. Phelps’ accomplishment is still one of the greatest in sports history, and there’s no reason that kids out there can’t still look at him as a role model. If parents are truly concerned about their children, then they should use this story as an opportunity to talk to them about drugs in an intelligent manner. May I suggest the book It’s Just a Plant: a children’s story of marijuana to get the conversation headed in a healthy direction. It is important that kids know that like alcohol, marijuana isn’t something safe for them. But I also think it’s crucial that the discussion evolve as children become teenagers. “Don’t take drugs because it’s dangerous” is fine for a child because they can’t understand all of the issues, but it’s not right for a teenager. Level with them and say, “Look, these are the facts. When you’re an adult, you’ll have to make your own decision and accept whatever consequences come with that decision.”

I don’t agree with U.S.A. Swimming suspending Phelps from competition for 3 months. I think it’s excessive and unwarranted based on such a small infraction. But until we as a society make a decision to stop demonizing marijuana and see it for what it really is: a plant that could potentially keep cancer cells from growing/help cancer sufferers live better lives, then we’ll never be able to really focus on researching those possible treatments. To ignore the possible benefits based on misconceptions is foolish.

So there’s my two cents (more like 2 dollars…I did go on a bit) on the matter. I don’t really want to take up a ton of space putting my reference list here, but I am glad to direct any of my readers to any of the articles I mentioned in the post. Just leave a comment.

That’s all for now, folks!

-Neen

A Sixburgh Celebration

6 Feb

So, I’m sure you can all guess that I’m still coming down off of the high from the Steelers winning the Super Bowl. I want to extend my congratulations to the Rooney family, the coaching staff, administrative staff, and (of course) the players for giving the fans such an amazing season. Pittsburgh just got its own personal stimulus package!

It was a really exciting game. Afterward there were the usual complaints about refereeing, but in all honesty, I thought this one was pretty square. Both sides got called for the ever-so-blatant holding on most occasions, and the two “questionable” plays were reviewed and confirmed. Yes, you heard me right. To the thousands of people on the ESPN boards claiming that the final play was not reviewed, it was, and Al Michaels said that they determined it was a fumble. I certainly understand the tuck-rule argument, but if you watch the tape you can see that Lamar Woodley clearly strips the ball before Warner’s arm begins to go forward. Once he was making the passing motion, he no longer had complete control of the ball.

As for Mr. Santonio Holmes…listen, if you can’t accept that his game-winning catch was stunning and an incredible athletic effort then you’re kidding yourself. Yes, his right foot was behind his left, but there is in fact a point (and I think it’s the AP photo that shows it—I may be wrong) where both toes hit and drag.

What I didn’t agree with? Well there were a couple of things. Personally, during the review of Big Ben’s touchdown (which was overturned), I could see a shadow under his knee. It may have been my imagination, but I think that one should have been six points. I was also disappointed in James Harrison’s behavior. Defensive Player of the Year or not, he should know better than to let his temper get the best of him during the biggest game of the year. I’m actually a bit surprised that Goodell hasn’t fined him for his actions.

At the end of the day, the Steelers made plays when they needed to and went home with the Lombardi. They certainly earned it, but I have to give credit to Kurt Warner. He now holds the number 1, 2, and 3 spots for most Super Bowl passing yards. Larry Fitzgerald was incredible as well. He made me hold my breath every time I saw him going deep. Anguan Boldin may be out of the picture in Arizona next year, so Fitzgerald should have a real opportunity to take a leadership role on the team. I read today that their offensive coordinater Todd Haley agreed to coach the Kansas City Chiefs next season, so it’ll be interesting to see how things change. If Kurt Warner retires (I doubt it), then Fitzgerald will really need to solidify himself as a leader on the offensive unit.

What more can I say? It’s been a great season that ended with the one thing any fan of any team really wants. I’m proud to be a fan, and I can’t wait until next season.

Continuing to Live Vicariously Through Hines Ward…

22 Jan

I hope President Obama doesn’t mind if we borrow his slogan…

In celebration of his Inauguration, the Rooneys presented the new President of the United States with the game ball from Sunday night’s AFC Championship game. To quote Dan Rooney,
“He’s a Bears fan first, he admits that…But he’s a Steelers’ fan. He’s said it, and all his staff, they’re rooting for us [in the Super Bowl].”

Before my sports blog made its move over from ESPN’s website, I posted my thoughts on the Penguins making it to the Stanley Cup Finals. With the Steelers now headed to Tampa for the Super Bowl, I was reminded of something I wrote then…

Yesterday the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 6-0 (ouch) to move on to the Stanley Cup Finals. I’m reading the local free paper on the Washington D.C. Metro this morning and see a picture of an elated Pascal Dupuis celebrating after his second goal of the evening. I can barely sit still. It’s the same maddening feeling I had two years ago when I realized that the Steelers were going to Super Bowl XL. I was living in Boston and had to have had the most ridiculous, goofy smile on my face for the whole week before (and then after!) the Super Bowl.

What’s so maddening about this feeling? Well, there’s no one to share it with when you live in a different city. In Pittsburgh, I know they must be bubbling over with nervous excitement. That is when I suddenly feel nostalgic and long for home.

I’m wishing I could be in Pittsburgh, watching the Strip District buzzing with excitement, sharing enormous sandwiches at Primanti’s over game highlights, listening to “Here We Go” on repeat, and immersing myself in that sea of black and gold.

Two stops later, a gentleman gets on the train wearing a Penguins ball cap. Shortly before I get off at my stop, I tell him that I like his hat and ask if he is excited for the upcoming finals. He answers with an elated “yes!” Not surprisingly, we are both transplants to the area from fairly close parts of Pittsburgh.

As I exit the train and begin walking toward the escalator, I catch a glance of him through the train window.

His smile is beaming, and I wonder if he’s back home for a moment too.

Writing that (8 months ago!) made me start noticing fan gear anywhere and everywhere. While the occasional Sidney Crosby jersey or Pirates hat would float by, it was mostly Steeler paraphernalia that caught my eye. From the quiet island of Chincoteague where a man in a Hines Ward jersey told me to “keep an eye on those Redskins fans,” to a bar in Northwest DC where a fellow fan and I debated the effectiveness of Casey Hampton, there were dozens of folks who noticed my hat (or super-awesome-$1-in-the-Strip-charm-bracelet) and stopped to chat. In any case, I’m on the lookout for the next week and a half for anyone in the area wearing Steeler gear. So if you happen to be doing just that in the NoVa/DC area, and a short 23 year old girl comes running up to high-five you, please don’t be alarmed. I can’t help it.

Right now I can barely let myself think about the possibility that in less than two weeks, the Pittsburgh Steelers could become the first NFL team to have six Lombardi trophies. But I definitely don’t want to get ahead of myself either (pompous fans anywhere are obnoxious). The Cardinals are a formidable opponent and it’s going to be a really exciting game. I plan to have more in-depth analysis and some thoughts on the game as it gets closer. For now, I’m just enjoying the excitement.

Some Useless Trivia!

*Coach Mike Tomlin and linebacker James Farrior played against one another in college. Farrior was a linebacker for The University of Virginia while Tomlin was a wide receiver at William and Mary. In the game on October 4, 1994 Farrior finished with 2 tackles and an interception, and Tomlin finished with 4 catches for 58 yards.

*Larry Fitzgerald, Sr. has been covering the Super Bowl for the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder for 28 years. This year, he will be covering his own son, Larry Fitzgerald, Jr., the standout wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals.

*At age 36, Mike Tomlin is the youngest coach to take his team to a Super Bowl.

*Kurt Warner didn’t start a game in the NFL until age 27. He is 37 this year and on to his 3rd Super Bowl appearance.

*The Steelers and the Cardinals are the only teams this year to have swept their respective divisions (the AFC North and NFC West).

Oh, and as for the title of this blog post? On my old ESPN blog, it asked me to describe myself “in my own words.” Here’s what I said:

I bleed black and gold.

I follow most professional sports, but my favorite is football. I play fantasy football on a couple different websites and dream about being a wide receiver in the NFL. (Alas, I am 5 ft 3.)

Debating players and sports is one of my favorite activities, but it’s all in good fun. While passionate about the teams and players I love, I am in no way like my angry neighbor who broke his TV when the Pats lost the Super Bowl this year.

Here we go, Steelers.