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Holtzman likely will catch heat for Steelers trick-play report


Bob Holtzman of ESPN reports that the Steelers will employ against the Ravens a trick play.

“Two Steelers have told me, if they catch the Ravens in the right defense, they have a trick play ready to go today that they’ve never run before.”

Holtzman said the play involves a pass thrown by someone who ordinarily doesn’t thrown the ball, and that receiver Antwaan Randle El will be involved in some way other than throwing the ball.

The Steelers players who told Holtzman about the play presumably are excited about the surprise.  They likely aren’t excited that the surprise was disclosed to the world and, more importantly, to the Ravens.

As one league source told us, unsolicited, regarding the report, “What a moron.  Steelers will be pissed.  How the f–k do you do that?”

Though plenty of players and coaches and execs will give information to the media with the understanding that it can be used as long as their names aren’t attached to it, we’ve got a funny feeling that this specific tidbit fell into the category of production-meeting-type stuff that would not be mentioned before the play was actually employed.

In other words, ESPN probably would be wise to send someone other than Holtzman to the next Steelers game.  And the next one.  And the rest of them.

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61 Responses to “Holtzman likely will catch heat for Steelers trick-play report”
  1. bonniebengal says: Jan 15, 2011 1:39 PM

    I guess those Steeler players shouldn’t have talked about it to a reporter. Duh. Genius.

  2. jgagnon10 says: Jan 15, 2011 1:40 PM

    steelers can be as tricky as they want they’l still lose…..and ya if i had rapistberger as my qb i’d be looking for others to throw the ball too

  3. puddinpouch says: Jan 15, 2011 1:41 PM

    Whoa, whoa, whoa, league source….watch the language!

  4. bleedblue18 says: Jan 15, 2011 1:42 PM

    Don’t hate on the media, hate the two idiot Steeler players that opened their big mouths.

  5. steelerswinagain says: Jan 15, 2011 1:43 PM

    What a douche!

  6. godofwine330 says: Jan 15, 2011 1:45 PM

    Tsk, tsk. He runs his mouth like a gangster rapper, not knowing when to shut up, and what NOT to say.

    “Me, T-Roc, and Johnny-J shot up the spot on December 21st remember who got it locked….”

  7. smfowler says: Jan 15, 2011 1:45 PM

    Holtzmann is probably a Patriots fan.

  8. Moonman says: Jan 15, 2011 1:46 PM

    Wow. This left me speechless. How does he blurt something like that out? He’s not new to this. It’s not the apocalypse as some people will make it out to be, because it’s not like he divulged the signals that will be used at the line, or the specific time they’ll employ it.

    But still. Dumb.

  9. connie75 says: Jan 15, 2011 1:49 PM

    If you don’t want him to report it, then don’t tell a reporter!

  10. raiderspride says: Jan 15, 2011 1:49 PM

    Holtzman can always get a job working with Geraldo Rivera drawing U.S. Military plans in the sand on National T.V.

  11. canetic says: Jan 15, 2011 1:50 PM

    The Steelers do a lot of trick plays. I think Ed Reed can handle it.

  12. igottz5onit says: Jan 15, 2011 1:50 PM

    What a moron.

  13. cwb420 says: Jan 15, 2011 1:51 PM

    F@#k the Steelers

  14. pats4ever says: Jan 15, 2011 1:53 PM

    The Steelers should focus on the game plan (among them) and not yap to the media.

  15. joerevs300 says: Jan 15, 2011 1:53 PM

    Not that I actually think something like this would fool a veteran Ravens defense, but I agree with Mike on this one.

    I’m equally as angry that these “players” would give this kind of information away. In a game that’s this even on paper and in the last 10 games, this kind of thing possibly could make the difference, well there goes that idea.

    ESPN, you’d be wise to stay far, far away from the Steelers for awhile.

  16. RexCanCoach says: Jan 15, 2011 1:55 PM

    You know what, why didn’t he name the players who told him that? Scumbag works for ESPN which means he keeps secrets like Big Ben keeps girlfriends….BADLY.

    And if it is true that players really told him they, those players should know better.

  17. cobrala says: Jan 15, 2011 1:56 PM

    The bigger story is there are two bigger morons wearing Steelers uniforms talking to the press about details on their gameplan.

    This is the crap people (should) expect out of BSPN and should therefore surprise no one.

  18. iamthefootballjerk says: Jan 15, 2011 1:56 PM

    I’m a Baltimore fan, and all I have to say is ‘What a Douche!!’.

  19. cliverush says: Jan 15, 2011 1:58 PM

    Are you saying kill the messenger? If the story is true what obligation does a reporter have to keep it confidential if this was not agreed upon with the loose lipped player? Strange you would expect this type of treatment from the media. I thought only the Jets received this type of treatment from their NY fans. (ie. ESPN Mgmt.)

  20. jajibokum says: Jan 15, 2011 2:01 PM

    Holtzman typical that he would only care about himself. I guess he’s thinking that he will get dome award for this reporting. What a typical narcissistic yip

  21. myspaceyourface says: Jan 15, 2011 2:02 PM

    Unless they leaked it intentionally to get the Ravens looking for a little something that will never be there.

    If that’s the case, the Steelers played Holtzman for the tool he is. . .

  22. gergie1957 says: Jan 15, 2011 2:09 PM

    If I was a NFL, NBA, MLB player I would not talk to Bob Holtzman anymore.

  23. SpartaChris says: Jan 15, 2011 2:09 PM

    Or perhaps the Steelers organization should learn the meaning of “Loose lips sink ships,” and should have kept quiet about it. Instead of giving details, say, “Be on the look out for something special, should we see the Ravens in the right defense.”

    Captain Hindsight’s got nothing on me!

  24. profootballwalk says: Jan 15, 2011 2:12 PM

    Moron thinks he’s Mr Wikileaks.

  25. herokravon says: Jan 15, 2011 2:13 PM

    Thats what I thought as well, but now that its out perhaps the Ravens well get to caught up in looking for the trick play and make a larger self-inflicted wound.

  26. jrodz19 says: Jan 15, 2011 2:14 PM

    Really?! A reporter who probably never played sports in his life covering sports spills the beans? Hmmm. His lifetime of being picked last may never end now. Maybe he can go work at TMZ with his buddies.

  27. takingbacksundays5 says: Jan 15, 2011 2:14 PM

    If anyone here is to blame, it’s the moronic Steelers that told a member of the media about the trick play.

    Hey idiots, if you’re so concerned about keeping it a secret, then don’t tell anyone (much less a member of the national media) about it!

  28. dixon29 says: Jan 15, 2011 2:16 PM


    This just in…

    If one team scores, they will then kick off. Damn! I gave it away.

  29. iamthorny says: Jan 15, 2011 2:17 PM

    The blames lies with the two Steelers players, not Holtzman.

    Perhaps, this was disinformation because the Steelers players knew that windbag would spill the beans.

    If it does prove to be true, then maybe Linda Tripp can cover the Steelers the rest of the way should they be able to overcome this faux pas by Bob Holtzman.

  30. cbrownsup says: Jan 15, 2011 2:17 PM

    And you know what? I’ve got some more breaking news! Ben Roethlisberger will be playing quarterback. And newsflash the field is 100 yards long not including endzones. What a weak story…

  31. contract says: Jan 15, 2011 2:20 PM

    So Hines Ward to Antwann Randle El for a change?


  32. steelerzzzrule says: Jan 15, 2011 2:21 PM

    What a F****ing Azzhole. Doesnt matter. Steelers win anyways.

  33. rectumnearlykilledem says: Jan 15, 2011 2:28 PM

    I think ESPN is still reporting that Elin saved her husband Tiger by pulling him out of a horrific car accident. World Wide Losers.

  34. laxer37 says: Jan 15, 2011 2:28 PM

    The players also went on to say, “There might be an onside kick, a fake punt, and Ben may roll out and drop-kick a 40-yard fieldgoal”.

    This is probably just a smokescreen – just another thing for the Ravens to be thinking about.

  35. jsmayer181 says: Jan 15, 2011 2:30 PM

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t the production meetings for the network that carries the game. If the Steelers had said this to Gumbel and Dierdorf, I’d understand an expectation of consideration, but Holtzman isn’t calling the game and isn’t a part of the network that is. Players and coaches may share this info with the broadcast crew so they can be more aware of what’s happening on the field and be able to better describe the action to the fans. But if you’re talking to a reporter who’s job it is to provide in-depth insight and analysis as to what’s going to occur, I’d think all’s fair.

  36. steeltownpride says: Jan 15, 2011 2:39 PM

    I dont think it matters . Since they have no idea when or what will be run . ARe the Ravens going to think its every play till it happens ? ,lol

  37. zaggs says: Jan 15, 2011 2:40 PM

    Or the Steelers told Hotlzman about the trick play knowing full well it would be made public, that the Ravens would hear about it, and make the Ravens D less aggressive against formations where Randle El was present even though the Steelers have no such plans to employ trickery.
    Why else would 2 separate people tell a reporter something like that?

  38. silverback9999 says: Jan 15, 2011 2:40 PM

    What the hell? I saw that report this morning. This guy’s gotta know that’s a big-time breach. My only hope is that it was a deliberate plant by the Steelers to get the Ravens thinking. Otherwise the Steelers who told this idiot about the play are retarded. What a screwup.

  39. PFTiswhatitis says: Jan 15, 2011 2:44 PM

    What a completely stupid move. I can not even imagine what he could have been thinking.

  40. richie500 says: Jan 15, 2011 2:48 PM

    Leave it to the D-BAGS at espn to do this, their brand sucks!
    They all picked the Ravens, maybe they want to look good, I wouldn’t put it past them A-Holes!

  41. pack15forever says: Jan 15, 2011 2:50 PM

    He’ll never get any information from anyone, anywhere from now on. Bad move.

  42. FoozieGrooler says: Jan 15, 2011 2:50 PM

    maybe the trick is there won’t be one at all…

  43. masteel says: Jan 15, 2011 2:51 PM

    There are three things that can be determined in my humble view from this;
    #1 if this is true that he revealed a ‘secret’ about the possibility of a trick play today ….that is just shameful on his part, and completely unprofessional

    #2 dependent on the situation, whether the Ravens hear about this or not – it is up to them to recognize and stop the play ….who could really tell ‘when’ the play could be called other than each time Randle El walks on the field

    #3 We could have ourselves a bamboozle coming up …as in the Steelers purposefully are trying to lure the Ravens into some gamemanship trick (no pun intended) about saying they have trick play coming with Randle El …and yet only check out of the play to get the Ravens to bite on the fake ….{yeah I’m reading this also wondering if what I just wrote is making sense}

    Either way it’s pretty well known and I’m sure coached by the Ravens to be aware of the Steelers tendency (Off. Coor. Bruce Arians) to try to inject at least one trick play in the game

    GO Steelers !

  44. lawyermalloy says: Jan 15, 2011 2:51 PM

    You’re all conned. Do you idiots truly believe that a player would tell a reporter about a teams game plan in the biggest game of the year?
    Holtman’s a moron and you guys at PFT are retarded for re-reporting it!

  45. ncoolong says: Jan 15, 2011 2:53 PM

    Or…two players duped him into thinking that was their plan, so he could announce it to the world like he did, thus, making Antwaan Randle El more valuable on the field than his play would otherwise indicate.

    I dunno, just sayin…who cares?? Lace ’em on, and let’s get this thing goin’!!

  46. footballer43 says: Jan 15, 2011 2:55 PM

    They always have a trick play in there back pocket but seldom use it. The ravens probably expect one anyway. That reporter is an idiot either way.

  47. bodybaggame says: Jan 15, 2011 2:57 PM

    This has got to be a set-up….As much as Hines Ward can’t keep his trap shut, no NFL team would divulge a game plan of any kind unless off the record…Holtzman looks more of an idiot for believing it than reporting it…

  48. hobartbaker says: Jan 15, 2011 2:59 PM

    OMG, the Steelers might try a trick play involving Randle El. Who would have thought?

  49. nssmuckers says: Jan 15, 2011 3:11 PM

    I’m not saying it’s smart that the Steelers told someone about this, but Holtzman could still be in the wrong here.

    Coaches/players give media stuff about their gameplan all the time, but it’s usually not disclosed until the game is already underway.

    Quite frequently I’ll notice the analyst in the booth saying something very specific like “Coach told us they would be going to this particular play all the time in this situation, etc etc” or “They really want to pass the ball more on first down today” or “They said they would be using this personnel grouping a lot against this look” or “They’re going to open the game with the hurry up”

    It could very well be that it’s just an unwritten rule…I don’t think it’s fair to just conclude either side is in the wrong.

  50. pappyjoe69 says: Jan 15, 2011 3:17 PM

    Maybe Holtzman took a picture of the play diagram with his hidden spycam and texted it to Ray-Ray! Would that be a Playtex? Or TrikTex? Who cares…let’s get this show on the road!

  51. hedphurst says: Jan 15, 2011 3:24 PM

    Translation: Randle El will be a decoy for the entire game, and will never touch the ball. Just like most games.

  52. SteelTown6 says: Jan 15, 2011 3:34 PM

    A total non-issue.
    Steelers will cruise.

  53. bigdawg24 says: Jan 15, 2011 4:03 PM

    I get sick of everyone calling the Steelers a “Running” team. They are full of gadget and trick pass plays. They play strong Defense, but they do not win by running the ball.

    “Running the ball” is the only way you win by so-called NFL experts is B.S.

    Playing strong Defense with the ability to run “pick” pass plays and good quick slant patterns is how you win.

  54. halftermguv says: Jan 15, 2011 4:04 PM

    If this had been about New England all the talk would be about the genius of Bill Belichick.

  55. pghsteel412 says: Jan 15, 2011 4:10 PM

    i like all the steeler haters on here ranting and running their mouth when you clicked on a steeler headline.. i guess ur lives are so sad that u gotta resort to hating a team thas better than urs.. the fact is coaches and players every week talk to media in production meetings about the gameplan… as for the actual play if it happens then it happens.. its still gonna be a tough physical game.. steelers 19- ravens 13

  56. pburghlou says: Jan 15, 2011 4:28 PM

    Well its still not as dumb as…………….

    Eddie Reeds little brother who jumped off a Mississippi Bridge !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  57. gbfanforever says: Jan 15, 2011 4:31 PM

    How does this help the Ravens? A defense is supposed to be prepared for tricks in the playoffs. Maybe this is a diversion by the stealers.

  58. granadafan says: Jan 15, 2011 4:33 PM

    Well, it looks like Holtzman just killed his career covering the NFL. No player or coach will ever talk to him again and teams will ban him from their practices.

  59. thetooloftools says: Jan 15, 2011 4:45 PM

    I’m not a Steelers an but trust me… they will not need trick plays to win this ball game… just second 1/2 adjustments. They are a team of freaks…. but tough as nails !

  60. dempsey63 says: Jan 15, 2011 4:51 PM

    All the Ravens have to do to stop the trick play is to shadow Randle El with 11 defenders on every down.

    Would that work?

    Is the Pope Catholic? Does Najeh Davenport defecate in a laundry basket?

  61. footballbat says: Jan 15, 2011 5:06 PM

    he’s an idiot. or a tool. but now it cuts both ways.

    in the end, it’s a wash.

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