U.S. prosecutors trumped by Uruguay in FIFA corruption case

U.S. prosecutors trumped by Uruguay in FIFA corruption case

NEW YORK A little-known criminal case in Uruguay is hindering U.S. efforts to prosecute a top offic…
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Jerry Micco’s sports chat transcript: 12.30.15

Poll Question: On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being absolutely, how do you feel about the Steelers chances of making the playoffs? 1-2 No chance (20%) 3-4 Slight chance (60%) 5-6 At least a 50/50 shot (20%) 7-8 Feeling very good about it (0%) 9-10 They’re in, thanks, Buffalo! (0%) Jerry Micco: Hello everybody and welcome to the weekly sports of all sorts chat. I’m up and running, so fire away with questions as well as participating in our poll question. SuburbanRhythm: The common theme is ALWAYS how Tomlin-coached teams “play down to their opponent”. Why isn’t it ever considered that the Steelers are marginally talented, and he does a good job in beating better teams that his squads probably shouldn’t win? Jerry Micco: I think the issue with Tomlin-coached teams is that he doesn’t do as good a job as he should vs. teams he should clearly beat. You have to do that in sports because those are the free spaces on the Bingo card. If you don’t, you force yourself to win a game you probably shouldn’t. And I had the Steelers at 9-7 this year at the start of the season. So I saw them as having a great offense and a so-so defense, particularly the secondary. I think add in the injuries, and in some ways, a chance to win 10 games is actually a good season. But if they miss the playoffs again, that should get Tomlin’s seat a bit warm. But people who want him fired? No way. Jerry Micco: Well, we did the 2015 Trite in last Sunday’s paper. Hard to say what phrase will win in 2016. We have a whole year of cliches to look at. Gene Collier, by the way, does a masterful job with that every year. SuburbanRhythm: Crosby’s play has surpassed the drought stage. This is the player he is now. Ovechkin had a season-plus of down time, and has rebounded. Does Sid? Jerry Micco: I think Crosby is having a down year. No other way to say it. But when you look at scoring across the NHL, there are a lot of good players having down years. Ovechkin isn’t lighting it up like he used to do. I thought Crosby looked better on this last 2-game stretch after taking 5 days off. Maybe now and then, he gets a maintenance day. Never hurts to do that for veterans. SuburbanRhythm: How soon before fantasy stats are a regular part of reported data/stories? I’m not some old fart (40), but hate the fantasy impact on games today. But I also accept that is the way to attract fans. Jerry Micco: Fantasy stats are already part of media coverage of the game. Why do you think NFL Red Zone was created? It’s a multi-billion dollar business, but in reality, it’s just another form of gambling. And pro football is a gambler’s paradise. Part of the game’s popularity is you can play fantasy and bet games. To ignore that is putting your head in the sand. SuburbanRhythm: What change(s) that have occurred in sports media have been the most enjoyable? And most bothersome? Jerry Micco: Most enjoyable has been the immediacy of the Web. We can now compete with TV and radio like we never could when I started in this business as a professional. Most bothersome? Teams now want to control their own information so we wind up competing against our own sources. And social media/story commenting. Just a way to publically attack people anonymously. Awful. SuburbanRhythm: Follow up to fantasy sports question. How soon is it a part of the print media? When does the PG begin listing fantasy stats? Jerry Micco: We list stats on our website daily. After all, fantasy sports are based on real stats. Look on our site and you can get all kinds of stats. The newspaper can’t really do that anymore because our news hole gets smaller and smaller. SuburbanRhythm: Thanks for my own personal chat. My boss says this is the most productive I’ve been all week. Jerry Micco: I can’t control the number of people who come in, but I’ve always said, I’ll talk to 1 or 100. Always enjoy it. And with me leavintg the Sports department after this week, I may not be doing this anymore. I’m heading into a bigger role across the newsroom as Sunday Editor at the PG. Exciting, but I’ll miss Sports. New challenge for me, so things like doing this chat are kind of up in the air. We’ll see. Sports Joey: ESPN’s Sal Palantonio mentioned Todd Haley as a potential candidate for head coach in Philly. If he does leave, how big a loss would that be for Ben and the Steelers offense? Jerry Micco: Haley and Ben have forged a solid relationship. It has worked out fine for the most part. It will hurt to lose him, especially if they go outside to hire a new OC. It’ll take Ben time to connect with him, but I wonder how much real control of the offense a new person would have? At least they would have an entire offseason to work things in. SuburbanRhythm: How can everyone else in the sports world see where the NHL is lagging behind, except the NHL itself? The dinosaurs still in charge make the league a farce. Jerry Micco: I love hockey. Next to football it is my favorite sport (Alpine skiing, too). But the NHL isn’t nearly as much fun to watch as it was after the lockout ended 10 years ago. The trapping, clutching, grabbing, equipment changes, etc., have dragged the game beck to pre-lockout days. The league could use a new infusion of ideas and vision. The Card Says Moops: Hi Jerry, my gut feeling is that the Pirates are going to regress in a big way this upcoming season. What say you? Jerry Micco: I thought that before last season and they won 98 games. Maybe I’m a bad guy to ask. But I think it is going to take some miracles for them to win that many again. And Niese is going to have to be better than he was in NY last year. They absolutely need him to win 12 games or so, at least, so he can be the solid No. 3 they need. Vogelsong? You’re kidding, right? And first base will be worth watching. Can they get a combination of 20-25 HRs from Jaso and Morse? That could be a real stretch. The Card Says Moops: Congrats on the promotion Jerry! I didn’t know you were changing roles. Do you know who is taking over as Sports editor? Jerry Micco: Thanks. As I said, a new challenge for me and a big one. Michael Sanserino, who has been my deputy for 2 months, is taking over the big chair. Michael was a reporter for us, then moved to the Business section for a while, then back to us as an assigning editor. He’s going to inherit a terrific staff and he’ll make his mark on the section and the website. He’s a very good journalist and person. Sports is in good hands. Chunkles: Jerry, Happy New Year! I have always thought Pouncey was a little overrated. Seeing how well Cody Wallace has played, would you agree? Also, what do you do with Wallace in 2016? Jerry Micco: Happy New Year! I’ve always thought that too, but I’d say just a bit overrrated. But he’s better than Wallace. More agile and can get to the next level to block. Wallace is a nice backup. Pouncey can dominate guys when he’s on his game. Tony: Jerry, when you are starting or playing many people in the secondary that came from the waiver wire, didn’t Tomlin actually get more mileage out of them than can, or should be expected. Jerry Micco: Considering the guy they paid $5 million to (Cortez Allen) has been an absolute waste two seasons in a row, it’s a miracle their secondary can do what it does. Will Gay has been great for them. Their best player back there. Mitchell is playing much better this season, and Will Allen is playing like he’s 24, not 34. Cockrell and Blake are serviceable, but really are back ups. And I have no idea why Boykin can’t play regularly. Still a big position of need for them, though, in the offseason. JamesinNYC: Which major league PGH sports team has had the worst 4th quarter? Best 2015 I think is Pirates agree? Jerry Micco: I agree on the Pirates. I think the Penguins sluggish play all season may garner them the worst fourth quarter. The Card Says Moops: Theoretically speaking, if Ed were to leave as the Steelers beat writer, is there an obvious internal candidate or would you have to look outside? Jerry Micco: Let’s not even think about one of the best reporters in the country leaving our biggest beat. But when you get an opening, you always do both: look internally and outside. Best practice. Sports Joey: Jerry, why are they playing the college football semifinals on New Year’s Eve? A lot of people tend to have other plans on that night. Jerry Micco: Because fans will still watch it. You can have football on and still party. And some fans will build the party around the games. Though isn’t one at 4 p.m.? The Card Says Moops: On Chip Kelly…there was much rejoicing on Philly talk radio this morning. I’ll be surprised if he gets another HC shot anytime soon in the NFL. And I hope Haley stays here. Jerry Micco: Chip Kelly’s problem was he wanted way too much control. Doesn’t always work well in the NFL. In college, great coaches get all the control they want. But you’re working with young men who can be molded. The NFL is way, way different. And no NFL team will touch Kelly again. SuburbanRhythm: As a Pens STH and a parent of a 9 year old playing squirt level, I’ll choose the 9 year olds flubbing passes and constantly going offside at this point. It’s at least entertaining. Jerry Micco: Kids playing hockey is always cool to watch. Just encourage them and tell them to have fun. It’s sports. SuburbanRhythm: Thoughts on Jarvis Jones? He’s not been a “splash” play guy, but all indications is he’s been solid, but not spectacular. Too many times people base their opinion solely on stats. Jerry Micco: I’ll say he’s become a solid player. But he’s not playing like a first-round draft pick. Not even close, and I’ve been a huge supporter of his during his time here. Dupree has slowed down, too. Teams now have a “book” on him. Jones will get one more year here, but after that, who knows. JamesinNYC: I got to hear/see a lot about Niese here in NY and he was their best pitcher until the young flamethrowers came up. He is a historically solid pitcher as a #3 starter I feel pretty decent about the trade from a baseball standpoint. How much is it because Neil was a PGH boy? Jerry Micco: Some of it is Walker is a local guy. But Walker also provided a nice bat and was a very solid second baseman. His power will be tough to replace. But as you say, if Niese is solid and gives them what JA Happ did, that will give them, on paper, three solid starters with Cole being at the top of the list. Sports Joey: I would not bash Tomlin because the secondary stinks. I would bash Tomlin because of head-scratching decisions on PATs and 4th downs, and what I perceive as a general lack of discipline within the ranks which leads to sloppy play. Too much celebrating, dancing, and the kind of nonsense that doesn’t fly under say Bill Bellichek. Jerry Micco: Two different coaches, two different attitudes. But I’ve seen Pats players celebrate. Maybe they don’t do weird things to goal posts, but they have a good time, too. Ever see Gronk after he scores? Tomlin has his flaws as a coach. They all do. But his main job is to get the team ready to play. And at times, in games where they should be, they aren’t ready. That’s my biggest concern about him as a coach. SteelerfaninOK: If we can pool enough fans together to pitch in would Mr. Rooney let us buy out his conract to leave? Jerry Micco: You don’t want to get rid of him, trust me. Who do you want? Chip Kelly. I’m always amazed at people who want to unload Tomlin but don’t have a real person in mind to replace him. It is not easy to find good NFL coaches. The Steelers have one. Not perfect, but a good coach. Chunkles: You probably get tired of Tomlin questions but I really think he set a negative tone against the Ravens by not kicking a field goal on their first possession! Its the Ravens at their facility, TAKE THE THREE! It just seemed liked the Steelers never recovered from that miscue on 4th down? Jerry Micco: I was actually OK with them going for it and trying to drive it in for a score. Terrible play call, actually. Had that been the old Ravens, like the 9-5 type Ravens, they kick it and play it differently. I think they may have been a bit cocky about being such big favorites and thought they could dictate from the outset. But that was never the case in that game. Dan: Based on his TD/INT ratio (32/9 in 2014 – 18/14 in 2015) it appears Ben has regressed this season – as great as Antonio Brown is do you think that: 1) Ben relies on him too much by forcing what is not open and 2) given that Brown complained when he was not being targeted as often when Vick & Jones were at QB that getting Brown his catches and the records writers keep referring to might be a factor in how the offense has operated this year Jerry Micco: I think Ben being out for 4.5 games has hurt Ben this year. That and losing his starting left tackle and All-Pro center. You can live with Brown being a heavy target. I think he’s their best playmaker, but Wheaton and Bryant have had big games this year, too. Tony: They say shut down corners don’t come around to often, I’d say Ike in his day is our only one since ??? Jerry Micco: I agree about Ike. And shutdown corners are rare birds. Look at all those great CBs taken 2 years ago in the first round of the draft. None, have become really good players. And several just aren’t ready to play. It’s such a touch position to learn. And in a passing league, you’d better have a short memory if you play CB. I think they are important in the NFL, but they are just so tough to find. The Card Says Moops: This morning in his chat Gerry D said James Harrison will not be back next year, even though he is under contract for one more year. Do you think that would be the Steelers cutting him, or James deciding to retire? Jerry Micco: The Steelers probably hope he does the latter. But if not, I agree with Gerry that they’ll cut him. Need to move on. Steve: Thoughts Jerry? In off season Pitt trades Bell, keeps Williams, drafts a RB in 3-4 RD, stack up on D backfield w/Bell trade & the higher draft picks? Jerry Micco: Is this @Steve from Twitter? I would not trade Le’Veon Bell. No way, no how. Imagine how good they’d be with him in this offense. Nothing against Williams, but he’ll be 33 next year and given the entire load, you wonder how he’d hold up. There will be CBs to draft if the Steelers want them, even picking 20-25, which is where they’ll likely end up. Jerry Micco: Talk about a meteoric rise. I can remember last year people wanting to run him out of town. The Card Says Moops: For all the negativity right now, I’ll point out two positives. Chris Boswell, God willing, will be our kicker and be great for a long time. And DeAngelo Williams has far exceeded most people’s expectations. Jerry Micco: Boswell has been terrific. Suisham will get a challenge in camp. One thing Boswell can’t do as well as Suisham is kick deep. Both guys are really accurate. And as I said, Williams has been great for them this season. Has really saved their running game. Steve: According to Whitlock ..Tomlin “He coaches like someone who knows he’ll never get seriously questioned.” Is this a fault of the Steeler organization? There can’t always be a next week to evaluate/correct..look at tape own the losses etc..NFL is a win now league. Jerry Micco: Well, Tomlin generally wins. He just doesn’t win some games he should easily win. I’m sure he’s questioned and overruled. Look at the Arians situation. How about LeBeau leaving? I also don’t think he wins every draft room battle. So his bosses question him. And media in this town does, too. Guest: Which prospects do the Pirates bring up this year and when will they make their debut? Jerry Micco: Josh Bell probably by mid-season. But he has a lot of work to do to learn how to play first. Maybe Jamison Taillon mid-season if he does well at Indy. Alen Hanson? Maybe early if Kang is hurt, but he may go back down once he (Kang) is healthy. The Card Says Moops: If Colbert trades Bell, he’ll have people with pitchforks storming his house. SuburbanRhythm: Biggest overachiever in Pittsburgh sports 2015? Biggest underachiever? Jerry Micco: Over achiever has to be Kang. No one expected him to be that good early on in his career as a Major League player. I guess people will stick Crosby with the underachiever award, but I don’t know if that’s fair. The entire league seems down offensively. Brian: No question today, Jerry. Just wanted to offer congratulations on your new assignment/promotion. You will be sorely missed here. Jerry Micco: Thank you. I’ll still have a hand in Sports, especially for the Sunday paper, and I’ll always follow sports like I have my entire life. That won’t stop. But I do have other interests, so this will give me a shot to try out something new. I’ve been a full-time professional journalist for 35 years. Thirty-two of them spent in sports departments, and most of that time running those departments. I’ve been blessed and loved it. But now a new challenge. As for these chats, we’ll see if they want me to continue. If so, then I’ll certainly do them. I enjoy doing it. Sportsy Joey: Looking back, the Pens made a huge mistake in giving that huge contract to Kris Letang. As good as he can look sometimes, he’s always been inconsistent, injury-prone, and has never figured out how to QB a power-play. The concussion issues are alarming, and the cap number prevents them from improving the rest of the defense. Thoughts? Jerry Micco: Pretty much spot on. I think since he suffered the stroke and concussion, he’s not been the same player. He’s become such an inaccurate shooter, too. Consistently misses the net with shots. He used to be a solid Norris candidate yearly and could be counted on for 10-12 goals. But not anymore. Ralph LA: A sense of loss fills the Pittsburgh diaspora communities, not unlike that felt with the departure of Pedro and Neil. Another week goes by without Steel Castings, Sports Now, or Talk the Plank… Jerry Micco: We just did a Sports NOW, my swan song there, so we’ll have one this week. Steel Castings, I guess we just had other stuff to do, but that will come back. We’re looking at the popularity of all our web-based shows to see what works. As we work through that, be patient. We’ll still be bringing a lot to readers both in print and on the web. SuburbanRhythm: Always curious to hear whom Tomlin should be replaced with by those waiting to drive him to the airport. When they win, it’s in spite of the coaches, when they lose, it’s because of the coaches. Yes, it’s easier to fire 1 coach than dozens of players. Doesn’t mean he’s at fault. Jerry Micco: Every fanbase of every team does that. In a way, it’s the underside of sports. Nothing dark or evil, but the way fans think. And you know, sometimes they have it right long before teams — or we in media — do. Brian: I’ve never been a fan of Pouncey – going back to college- and never will. I, too, feel he has been quite overrated. However, since Munch has been here, Pounce has improved considerably. Jerry Micco: I just think Pouncey is so athletic and can do so much. The injuries have really curtailed him. I think they are better when he plays. SteelerfaninOK: Bellichick, Harbaugh, Carroll, Ariens, Rivera, McCarthy… Tomlin not in top 5. Jerry Micco: Arians? What has he won? People here couldn’t wait to unload him. And while I like Mike McCarthy, the Packers have really been up and down this season. The got the one Super Bowl win over Pittsburgh, but haven’t been back since. And while I think Pete Carroll is a terrific coach, that call in the SB last year…ugh. As for Harbaugh, he’s going to have a 5-11 season on his resume. Tomlin never worse than 8-8. But Harbaugh has Tomlin’s number, I think. Jerry Micco: OK folks, time to get back to some other stuff. I don’t know if I’ll continue to chat, but if not, I cannot thank all of you enough for the wonderful talks over the years. I was the first person to do a live chat at the PG, and I’ve never regretted it. You folks have been terrific. And if we discuss it and I come back to do the weekly Wednesday chats, then I’ll look forward, as I always have, to your questions and comments. Have a Happy New Year everybody! We’ll see you down the road…
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Former USOC director to head Everton youth academy

LONDON Everton have appointed former U.S. Olympic Committee executive Peter Vint as director of the…
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