It's time for the inaugural episode of "This Old Pitt," where Steve Pederson goes Bob Vila on an athletic department that merely needs a new roof and a deck on the back. Today we join Steve as he gets ready for another football season.
SP, Hi, and welcome to This Old Pitt. Today we're at Heinz Field getting ready to lay the foundation for the 2008 football season. Fans and alumni are all abuzz after Pitt's shocking 13-9 victory over West Virginia a week and a half ago. Next year shows some promise with freshman running back LeSean McCoy returning as the nucleus of a young and talented team. Lets make our way down to the field where technician Mike Mazzarea is starting a project...
SP, Hey Mike, what do we have here?
MM, Well, Steve, this is an inflatable football helmet.
SP, Ahh yes. Many a great program has one of these.
MM, Yeah Steve, this helmet inflates to a size of 25 by 20 by 30 and turns into a large tunnel for the team to run through out of the actual tunnel.
SP, Fascinating. I've seen many of these on sidelines throughout the country. So what are you doing with it now?
MM, Well, before you inflate some thing like this you need to unravel it. So basically you have to unroll it like a giant roll of wrapping paper. After that, we'll stretch it out so that we can fill it with air and not have any pockets that the air doesn't travel too. Something this size takes roughly 75,000 pounds of air pressure to inflate and you don't want it to start sagging.
SP, Sounds like good stuff. So how many extra wins do you see this baby bringing to the team next year?
MM, Not a one, Steve.
SP.....................what do you mean?
MM, Well, studies have shown that big, inflatable shit like this does very little to improve a team's abilities.
SP, Well, then, why did we order it?
MM, Because you threatened to fire me if I didn't.
SP,....Oh yeah, right. Well it seems to be coming along quite nicely. Lets move along now to the marketing department where Don Mason is working on some great campaigns...
SP, Hey Don, this is looking impressive.
DM, Well, Steve, I'm currently scouring the Internet and looking at other schools' websites for "traditions" to steal. You know, like how we re-named the student section the "12th Man" in 1997, only to conveniently drop the idea when Texas A&M came to town in 2002.
SP, As I recall that worked out well. So, what do we have so far?
DM, Two things, Steve: First of all, Arizona has the catch phrase "Bear Down." We're thinking of simply stealing that. I mean, its their phrase and their mascot is a wildcat. Ours is a panther. I don't see any problem here. Secondly, we're planning on taking Texas's "Hook 'em Horns" hand gesture and making it our own.
SP, Wait a minute..........You now that hand signal makes a steer right?
DM, I am aware, yes.
SP, So why take it?
DM, Because a steer still looks more like a panther than our current logo.
SP, Hey, thats a good point. And these are great ideas that should translate into a lot of wins next year.
DM, Not a chance.
DM, Well, studies have shown that marketing gimmicks provide a lot of smoke and mirrors but not many real victories. Ole Miss called themselves the "Wild Boys" and it didn't do a damn thing for them.
SP, So why are we working on it?
DM, Because you said if I didn't you'd take your car and back...
SP, Well that's all the time we have this week for This Old Pitt. Join us next week when Mike finishes the helmet and we work on "new traditions."
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