Mark Madden

Mark Madden

The Super Genius of Pittsburgh Sports.Full Bio



As he did prior to last year’s 42-39 victory, Pitt Coach Pat Narduzzi isn’t letting his players speak to the media the week before the Penn State game.

It’s Narduzzi’s team. He can do what he wants.

But interest in Pitt football is minimal. Blowing a 21-0 lead to a Division I-AA team won’t help, even though Pitt ultimately beat Youngstown State, 28-21 in overtime, in the Panthers’ opener this past Saturday.

This is the week Pittsburgh cares most about Pitt football. Narduzzi should want to maximize interest.

Somebody tell Narduzzi that Pittsburgh is a pro sports town, not a college sports town. His team isn’t that important. Neither is Narduzzi.

In Pittsburgh, I’m more famous than Narduzzi. That’s fact.

Pitt-Penn State drew 69,983 at Heinz Field last year. It was the largest crowd for any sporting event in Pittsburgh’s history.

But two weeks before that game, nobody cared. Two weeks after that game, nobody cared.

Pitt’s media blackout doesn’t matter to me. I barely talk about Pitt athletics on my radio program, and I don’t lose listeners because of it.

But Narduzzi is applying “college football is king” values in a “nobody gives a crap” kind of city. Pittsburgh isn’t East Lansing, Mich., and never will be.

Narduzzi is a typical college football coach: Self-important, full of bluster, borderline delusional.

That works in a Big Ten town. Not in Pittsburgh.

Narduzzi is a good coach, and probably a good guy.

But Narduzzi doesn’t get Pittsburgh. He doesn’t get the pecking order.

Dave Wannstedt did.

Wannstedt is a Baldwin High School graduate, and a Pitt guy. When Wannstedt coached Pitt from 2005-10, it felt like family.

Since Wannstedt, Pitt has had the jackass coach, the quiet coach and now the hard-ass coach. Wannstedt uber alles when you consider overall effect on the program, and the way it’s perceived.

Why is Narduzzi concerned about what his players might say to the media? Pitt will get slaughtered at Creepy Valley regardless.

Once Penn State gets finished avenging last year’s result, never mind a media blackout. Pitt’s players will want to enter witness protection.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

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