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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

A Super edition of ‘Final Word’

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media


The joint venture between WPXI-TV and Trib Total Media continues Sunday night at 11:35 p.m. — right after the Channel 11 News — with the latest episode of The Subway Final Word.

>> Who’s on the panel: I’ll be joined by Mark Kaboly, the Trib’s Steelers beat man, and Mark Madden, top-rated radio host of 105.9 the X. The host will be WPXI-TV’s Alby Oxenreiter.

>> What we’re talking about: The Super Bowl, Penguins in the Olympics, A.J. Burnett and more.

>> How to participate: Each week, we also take comments from viewers through 20-second videos you submit on The Final Word’s Facebook page, as well as comments to The Final World’s Twitter account

>> Where to watch: In addition to the broadcast on WPXI-TV, we have WPXI’s live online stream for Pittsburgh’s many out-of-town sports fans, as well as video podcasts available on both outlets’ Web sites.

Here’s last week’s full episode.

Really hope to have you along, not only watching but also joining in!

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.


  1. It’d be most interesting to find out what everyone thinks of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s ‘state of the game’ comments, especially on the two extra playoff games and instant replay. Personally, I think it would’ve been nice if the Steelers had made it to the playoffs this time in that manner although we won’t likely see this for another season.

  2. Personally, I think it would’ve been nice if the Steelers could’ve made the Playoffs this time as an extra team although such is unlikely until the 2015 season. As for future superbowls, well, I will continue to maintain that they ought to be played in indoor stadiums since there is certainly no guarantee that winter conditions would allow them to be played in the open, and, hopefully, the NFL can soon have a play review system that’s faster and fairer than it is at present.

  3. I would sincerely hope that President Obama is correct in assuming that the Sochi Olympics are safe.

  4. Tom says:

    There will be no terrorist attacks in Sochi. Terrorism gets way overblown in the media. Combine that with the fact that we live in a hypersensitive and an overreacting society and you will see the truth. Chances are better that you will get hit by lightning or die of a bee sting than you will being injured or killed in an act of terrorism.

  5. Jim S. says:


    My odds – 65% Baltimore, 25% Pittsburgh, 10% any other team. I’d place Washington very high, except that I don’t think they need him enough to get in a bidding war now. Philly might offer a bunch of money, but they are not a very good team.

  6. Eric Bowser says:

    Motivation purchased – registered for the Pittsburgh Pirates 5K on April 19th.

    This morning did Week 1/Day 1 of the Couch-2-5K app.

    Last Sunday after vacation, weighed 219
    Today… 207.4
    Goal is 193 by the 5K

    Anyone here running it?

  7. Eric Bowser says:

    I’d put his odds for the Pirates at less than 1%.

    Rotation right now is Liriano, Cole, Morton, Locke and Volquez with Rodriguez, Cumpton and Gomez battling Locke for his spot. Then Taillon by June/July. There is no room for him on the roster and the team has bigger holes to address now (1B).

  8. You all know how so many of us can’t get through the day without those cups of coffee, right? Well, researchers are now saying that over reliance on drinks that contain caffein: coffee, beer, soda, and tea should count as a disorder and be treated as such. I’ve heard on radio and TV those adds which feature ex jocks using this or that medication for uncontrollable urges related to caffein use since caffein tends to cause overstimulation of the system, and also, people have been treated for caffein withdrawal, and now, doctors are saying that too much caffein, like too much of everything else, can kill you.

  9. According to AJ’s agent, 15 teams have come calling, although AJ’s more likely to be pitching for a team closer to home.

  10. Anchor says:

    At the King’s game Thursday night. Pens locked the D down for a solid 3 periods, PP clicked, and they picked their game up for a marquee Western matchup. Let’s see if they can continue vs Phoenix. I focused on the defensive play at the game, my 12-yr old’s position, and they played a great system that night.

    Was surprised with the no Letang in the lineup, but they didn’t miss a beat, and seemed to play with a degree of swagger/confidence out there. Hope it is the flu, but saw GM Shero outside the rink pre-game, so can’t imagine there aren’t on-going discussions out there. If they pull a trigger, they need to get the right players and payback, otherwise, I’d say stick with the talent you have.

  11. Milo Hamilton says:

    Go get em Eric. But don’t stop after the run. Find another goal to shoot for later on & it will keep you on the right track.

  12. Jandy says:

    Congrats and good luck. Mother Theresa does not run :)

  13. Jandy says:


  14. Jandy says:

    Hi Anchor! You a burgh resident? I’m pretty sure Tanger was ill. But we’ll find out soon enough.

  15. Anchor says:

    there’s a hint of sarcasm in the pens blog from today; apparently out tonight, as well.

  16. Jandy says:

    Thanks for the tip Anchor, I haven’t read it yet. Will do that shortly tho. Are you on our Lunatics’ List? Your hometown, that is?

  17. The Pens haven’t lost to Phoenix in 4 years, and, hopefully, that continues tonight.

  18. Anchor says:

    yes, longtime reader, occasional poster; Edwards AFB, CA

  19. Jandy says:

    Good to hear from you! Bizrow will see to it that you’re represented on the list. We appreciate our servicemen and women here :)

  20. Jandy says:

    Has anyone asked you, James? What’s your hometown so we can make sure it’s on the list

  21. JohninOshkosh says:

    I would say the positive studies on caffeine outweigh the negative studies by a 5-1 margin.

    The next elderly person I find that doesn’t drink tea or coffee will be my first. :)

  22. Jandy says:

    Hahha well said, Oshie!

  23. JohninOshkosh says:

    My mother’s dietary advice was “don’t eat any food that your grandparents would not recognize as food.” For example, Cool Ranch Doritos.

    Well, my grandparents would have recognized coffee.

  24. Jandy says:

    I had 5 sisters and 2 brothers Oshie. We went to parochial school for 8 years. Every morning Mom would make us breakfastn and it included hot coffee or hot tea. Nothing beat a hot breakfast on a cold morning!

  25. I hear a lot on 93-7 the Fan online as well as Trib Radio live, so that’s where I get some of my information.

  26. Jandy says:

    I’m sure you’ve seen the arguments posted pro and con trading Tanger. I’d rather keep him but if we can get a decent return to fill in holes on forward, I’d go for it. Has to be a good return tho

  27. Jandy says:

    I guess he doesn’t want to say.

  28. Jandy says:

    Well that was supposed to be in reply to Anchor. I suck at this on my phone grrrr!

  29. Eric Bowser says:

    If my right side of my body holds as the right hip, right knee and right ankle are not exactly friendly to me over the years. Hip and knee seem fine right now, the ankle/foot is barking at me right now. lol.

    At some point, I’d like to run a half marathon again.

  30. 21sthebest says:


  31. I’m more interested in why chris stewart isn’t in black n vegas gold yet???

    If he’s attainable like reportedly he is shero needs to stop whatever he’s been up to and get it done…yesterday!!!

  32. Good game goin’ on up your way, today, John. Glad to see the Buckeyes haven’t yet folded their tents on the season.

    Wisconsin is a much better team at this point.

  33. BillyBaduka says:

    The new format is tough on small mobile devices. Doesn’t indent the replies.

  34. I can’t, for the life of Drew, understand these college basketball teams. OSU loses to PSU, at home, then goes to Wisconsin and beats them in a place where it seems they’ve never won.

    I don’t know what to make of the BiG, whether it’s a down year they’re beating up on each other. Wisconsin has now lost to Northwestern and OSU, two inferior teams, at home.

  35. JohninOshkosh says:

    Very weird season, Lucky.

    If Duke wins tonight, I’ll jump back on their bandwagon.

  36. Big if at Syracuse.

  37. Jim S. says:

    No room for AJ Burnett on the roster? Locke is not a lock for the rotation – especially if they can resign Burnett – because he was awful in the 2nd half of the season. And, Wandy is a total question mark due to his health. I have not read anywhere that Cumpton is fighting for a roster spot, nor is there a replacement for Gomez as long reliever.

    It isn’t a question of whether there is room for AJ on the roster. It is a question of whether they want him back due to some of the attitude issues with him last year, and whether their offer will be strong enough.

  38. Jim S. says:

    Nice comeback by the Buckeyes, Lucky!

    Hard to believe UW and OSU are both 4-5 in that conference. It’s deep this year.

  39. Jim S. says:

    He’s definitely got the flu. Widely reported.

    I’m not saying he won’t get traded at some point, but I think he’s definitely sick.

  40. Jim S. says:

    I think the conference is deep, Lucky. Both MI teams and Iowa look pretty good to me. There are a lot of dangerous teams in the B1G this year.

    I was watching the end of the UW/OSU game, after once again removing 6″ of overnight snow out of my driveway, and Dan Dakich actually said that he would take Aaron Craft over any player in the country. Then, he followed up with, “And so would every other coach in the country.”

    Umm … no, they wouldn’t, Dan. None of them would. I know Dan’s a B1G homer. I also know Aaron Craft is a very good player, with a ton of heart, and he’s also a great student, great kid, etc. I’m not knocking him at all. But, there are at least 50 kids every coach in the country would take over him – probably more. No wonder that guy isn’t coaching any more. The things these guys say.

  41. Jim S. says:

    They may be trending up, Osh.

  42. Jim S. says:

    Didn’t the Pirates already sign him to be the back-up catcher, Monster? :-)

  43. JohninOshkosh says:

    So many good college basketball games on TV today. Plus, NHLN has three games on tonight.

    The honey do list will just have to wait.

  44. Bizrow says:


  45. theplanisworking says:


    if you dont do the “honey do” list,
    you “can’t elope”.

    But you are right, it is a winter sports’ lovers kind of day. Sure beats watching the Sixers or Bucks….. who have a whopping 23 wins COMBINED !

    Fun stat for my team…… since Dr. J retired, the Have only had 8 winning seasons, and some of those were barely qualifying…. like 42, 43 wins.
    Truly a dysfunctional franchise for many years. HA! I just looked up the Bucks in the same time frame, and they only have 8 winning seasons also.

  46. Deep in something, Jim.

  47. Thought the same thing, Jim.

  48. Sisyphus says:

    I can’t wait until we finally have our first Super Bowl champion with a regular season record of 7-9.

  49. Anchor says:

    it is a business, and the team should look to constantly improve the odds for Lord Stanley’s Cup! Best team may ruffle some feathers.

  50. JohninOshkosh says:

    At least Philly has played in a Finals this century.

    I don’t have a large sample size of viewing, but Parker has been much more impressive to me than the Jayhawks Wiggins.

  51. Lad 9 says:

    + many John. Had the pleasure of seeing Parker in person and I think he is light years ahead of Wiggins.

  52. theplanisworking says:


    Funny, how one doesn’t hear anything of the Kentucky freshmen like one did in the preseason.

    Also, the center for Kansas, Eidad?? has climbed up most “experts” boards.

  53. Jim S. says:

    Then, MSU loses at G’Town. Maybe I’ve been over-rating the B1G?

  54. Jim S. says:

    So, in the last hour or so, Mizzou lost at home to Kentucky, WVa beat K St., G’Town beat MSU, N’Western beat MN for their 3rd straight B1G win, & TX is currently hammering Kansas. Earlier, OSU rallied late to give WI their 3rd straight home loss. Maybe the sky isn’t falling for Pitt. Lots of weird happenings around CBB. The parity continues.

    Nova is destroying Temple on the road. Not that Temple is all that great, but they usually put up a good fight in Philly battles at home. I like that Nova squad.

  55. Jim S. says:

    Did you get a lot of snow last night & today, Osh? We got clobbered pretty good again. Probably 7″ here so far. That puts us at approx. 55″ for the year so far. That is a ton for us. I’d be surprised if we had 20″ all of last year. And, I think there’s more snow coming in a couple of days. It’s piled at least 5′ high in the yard against the driveway.

  56. Yeah, a relatively vanilla Georgetown team. The talking heads blame that on “depletion” for MSU.

  57. We haven’t had 55 inches total since we moved here 16 years ago. Can’t say I miss it. It was 63 here today.

  58. JohninOshkosh says:

    Hey Jim:

    Just a little snow here, this morning. But, the cold coming back for foreseeable future. Been good for the ice fishing. I always say if I didn’t love it here, I would’ve moved a long time ago. I felt really bad for the folks in Atlanta. Just not used to it, and not equipped to handle it. I’m just accustomed to dealing with the weather, almost on an unconscious level.

    I agree with you on Nova, Jim. For some reason, I’ve seen a bunch of their games this year. Easily won the Big 5. Very impressive team.

  59. JohninOshkosh says:

    Carrier Dome looks electric. Should be fun.

  60. Jim S. says:

    That hurts, Lucky. We’ll be dipping below 0 again tonight.

  61. Jim S. says:

    I had a friend who was stuck in that mess in Atlanta.

  62. JohninOshkosh says:

    Vanessa Williams, singing the anthem at the Carrier Dome, and all I can say is “Damn!”

  63. Sorry, Jim. If it’s any consolation, we are supposed to have some snow overnight tomorrow.

  64. That may be a nail-biter. Been some of those today already.

  65. theplanisworking says:

    Sources say Jerome Bettis will not be elected into the HOF tonight.

  66. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    Yeah….I heard that too.
    No question I’m biased, but that’s ridiculous.

  67. Arriba Wilver says:

    Heckuva game going on in Syracuse right now.

  68. theplanisworking says:


    But, all HOF’s are subjective entities.
    We know Jerome deserves to be in there.

  69. Jim S. says:

    I know, Arriba. And Dickie V. calling it. Go figure!

  70. Jim S. says:

    I’d be happy if we just had less going forward, Lucky.

  71. Jim S. says:

    DK tweeted that he’ll get in, but it just didn’t happen this year.

  72. theplanisworking says:

    It does get a bit tougher each year, Jim.
    Just a bit of a head scratcher……..

  73. Jim S. says:

    I like the halftime crew for this game. Especially Jalen Rose and Jay Bilas. For my money, they are maybe the 2 best analysts at ESPN in any sport. Digger, I could really do without. In fact, I can basically do without almost all of the ex-coach analysts in every sport.

  74. theplanisworking says:

    I don’t care much for Digger Highlighter or Dickie Heart Attack.

    Believe it or not, I do like Bobby Knight as an analyst.

  75. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    It’s not a head scratcher to me Plan.
    It’s the latest in the continued “plan” to keep the amount of Steelers down in Canton.
    There is no other explanation.

    The majority of these other players did not make the impact that the Bus had on the NFL.
    I made the mistake of turning on the NFL Network earlier this afternoon.
    You would’ve thought Jerome Bettis didn’t even exist.
    Strange and Unusual……

  76. Lad 9 says:

    Plan! I am also a huge Bobby Knight fan on the tube.

  77. At least he’s not throwing any chairs or beating on a player now.

  78. theplanisworking says:


    I did read on ESPN that Bettis made it from the top 15, to the top 10, but couldn’t get enough votes to make it.

    Ask Tim Brown how tough it is to get in with each passing year. If Bettis doesn’t make it next year, it might not happen.

  79. theplanisworking says:


    He seems much more calm than his coaching days.
    Very knowledgeable without going overboard.

  80. theplanisworking says:

    Now, now Reverend.
    These are coaches/analysts, not saints.

    I do agree that Knight was a 1st class jerk as a coach. He mooned a country, threw a chair, and totally disrespected Jeremy Schapp in that interview years ago.

    He seems to have mellowed over the years………
    Isn’t that what we all should hope for?

  81. Arriba Wilver says:

    Bilas seems like one of the best. The commercial with Rose and Sean Miller was fun. (But Sean should keep his day job).

  82. Arriba Wilver says:

    Jefferson and Parker with 4 fouls with 10 mins left. Even though the score’s pretty even, looking like Syracuse will remain undefeated.

  83. For sure, brother. For sure.

  84. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    I agree….I think he’s in real jeopardy of not making it now.
    I don’t even really care about the HOF, but it’s below the line ridiculous.
    When I look at those other players that made it, I start to feel that it’s some kind of a sick joke.

  85. Arriba Wilver says:

    Now Dawkins, too.

  86. Lad 9 says:

    Thornton keeping Duke in with three 3’s. Wow!

  87. Lad 9 says:

    What a game AW!

  88. Jandy says:

    You rang?

  89. theplanisworking says:

    Why, yes Jandy, I did. ;)

  90. Arriba Wilver says:

    Living up to the hype for sure!

    You going to the Pete tomorrow, Lad?

  91. Jandy says:

    Indeed it is

  92. theplanisworking says:

    As much as it pains me, as a Pitt fan, it is clear that Duke and Syracuse are by far and away the class of the ACC.

    Wonderfully played game today.

  93. JohninOshkosh says:

    Terrific game in Syracuse.

  94. theplanisworking says:

    And, now, OT !!!!!!!

  95. Lad 9 says:

    OH MY! What a basketball game!

  96. JohninOshkosh says:


    Duke unbelievable from 3 pt. land.

  97. Lad 9 says:

    I am going AW. Looking forward to it very much. But I have a bad feeling. UVA really good, and the loss of Durand Johnson shows up against the good teams.

  98. JohninOshkosh says:

    Have fun, Mr. Cavalier! :)

  99. Lad 9 says:

    Plan I think that Pitt is a level below these two teams so I agree. But I believe that the Panthers will beat the Orange when they visit. Just a hunch.

  100. Arriba Wilver says:

    Thanks, John, but I’ll be rooting for Pitt. Couldn’t pass up the first ACC game between them here, though. ;-)

  101. Lad 9 says:

    Ouch! Suppose I deserved that. I guess I should have said I hope I am wrong. :)

  102. theplanisworking says:

    I certainly hope you are correct.

    Should be a good one tomorrow……..

  103. JohninOshkosh says:

    I was directing my comment to UVA grad, AW, Laddie!

    You have fun, as well. :)

    Go Pitt!

  104. Lad 9 says:

    Did not know that AW was a Wahoo. My bad. I will have fun JO!

  105. JohninOshkosh says:

    I think Boheim told Coach K that Hood was fouled on his missed jam.

  106. Lad 9 says:

    Two and a half hours of pure entertainment. Another reminder of the reasons we are sports fans!

  107. Jim S. says:

    I didn’t have a dog in that fight, and I will be the first to say I think Coach K and Duke generally get the benefit of the majority of the calls in tight games. But, they didn’t catch any breaks in this game. 25 fouls to 15. 3 key Duke players foul out and no one on Cuse even had 4 fouls. The 5th fouls on both Jefferson and Parker should have each earned Christmas an Oscar. I felt the refs had a hand in keeping Cuse undefeated.

    Great game, though. Duke is on the rise. 15 – 35 on 3’s!

  108. Jim S. says:

    Or, maybe that Christmas was totally acting on the 5th fouls for Parker and Jefferson.

  109. Jim S. says:

    That’s a tough call, Arriba. But, I made a similar decision a few years back when Pitt had the home and home with my alma mater, U of Dayton. I rooted for Pitt. Only time I could ever root against the Flyers.

  110. Arriba Wilver says:

    I agree with everything you guys said starting with Plan’s at 8:36.

    I also agree with Dickie V that the ACC is going to be THE conference going forward for basketball.

  111. Jim S. says:

    13-25 vs Pitt and 15-35 tonight. They were only 7-22 at one point, and then made 8-13 to close it.

  112. Jim S. says:

    Louisville isn’t even here yet.

  113. Arriba Wilver says:

    Not sure I agree with yours, Jim. I was wondering if Syracuse was forcing Duke foul to keep it close, if you know what I’m saying. They missed the foul on Hood’s attempted dunk, but this wasn’t about officiating throughout the game IMHO. But Coach K showed why he’s Coach K to get to where they did with all those guys in foul trouble.

    And, 35k at a college BBall game?

  114. Lad 9 says:

    I do think Christmas just got nominated for an Emmy. And if he wins, his sister Mary will accept for him. :)

  115. Arriba Wilver says:

    He did exaggerate them, but they both seemed like legitimate fouls, too.

    Wasn’t there a study this year that concluded part of home field advantage (in baseball I think) was because of some subconscious thing on the part of officials to favor the home team?

  116. Jim S. says:

    There have been studies like that in the past. The home team definitely gets an advantage most games.

  117. bpn8pitt says:

    -11 million

    Russia has faced a huge influx of Islamic fundamentalism since the fall of communism. So much so, one of the main missions of the Spetsnaz is now counterterrorism.

    No worries though. The are Marines on station in the Black Sea and in Turkey. Some of them are full blown crazy, root for Steelers. dislike Richard Sherman and disagree with NMR from time to time.

  118. bpn8pitt says:

    I like that rule.

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