Trietley: Graham, Favre highlight Newsy Award winners

By Greg Trietley

Another Pitt News year is coming to an end, which means one thing: the Second Annual Newsy… Another Pitt News year is coming to an end, which means one thing: the Second Annual Newsy Awards.

Ah, yes. The Newsy Awards. Something I made up to reminisce about the collegiate journalism year that was — a year of sweater vests, octane and Tasers.

The Robert U. Woodward Award for Journalistic Stones

This honor goes to The Lantern, Ohio State’s student newspaper, and writer Grant Freking. Last month, The Lantern published Freking’s editorial “Give Tressel the Boot,” which called for the university to ax football coach and sweater vest enthusiast Jim Tressel over NCAA violations.

Freking basically went Tank Man on Ohio State’s athletic department at a time when Tressel was dodging contrition with statements like, “I apologize for the fact I wasn’t able to find the ones to partner with to handle our difficult and complex situation.” The Lantern let its stance be known: Tressel’s smug narcissism was something it would not tolerate.

The “Don’t Tase Me, Bro” Great Moment in Taser History

This past year was to Tasers what 2004 was to thundersticks. These days, videos of streaking, drinking and gallivanting fans getting the juice show up more often than a new “Saw” movie. The second, and therefore last, resort of overweight security guards — after “running” — a Taser saga has three acts: 1) Fan does something dumb. 2) Fan gets zapped. 3) Discussion about ethics surfaces of said zapping.

But finally, someone broke the monotony. Police used a Taser on a man at PNC Park last week. What could have been another ho-hum “Don’t Tase Me” whine-fest took a turn for the magical when, as city detective Francis Rende wrote in his report, “It had no effect on him.”

The winner in all this is science. We have antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Now we have Taser-resistant people.

“Send It In, Jerome” Pitt Basketball Moment of the Year

The City Game wins this accolade over Pitt’s victory at Villanova without Ashton Gibbs. Pitt handled the Dukes, 80-66, but the evening symbolized the full revival of the City Game. The opening 10 minutes of the first basketball game at the Consol Energy Center had a frantic pace, and the Oakland Zoo and Duquesne’s Red and Blue Crew traded taunts as colossal as Gary McGhee’s double-double. What a game to attend.

The Leon Lett Prize for Premature Celebration

The only thing that the Miami Heat’s welcome party lacked in July was Tony Stark coming out and introducing a new superweapon. The shindig hosted thousands of fans that apparently had nothing better to do than watch Chris Bosh kind-of sort-of dance on stage — and listen to a grating announcer that somehow stretched out the word “Heat” for 30 seconds.

Had I not known better, I would have thought that LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade — the rest of the team didn’t get to go on stage — just saved a distant civilization from destruction by a comet, or at least an asteroid. But no, they just got paid.

The Dennis K. Rodman Award for Existing

Brett Favre received this honor last year, but it’ll be a sunny day in Pittsburgh before he wins another. This year, Pitt football coach Todd Graham wins.

Remember the state of Pitt football back in January when the Panthers fired Michael Haywood? Thankfully, someone as loquacious as Graham stepped in to dig through the rubble. No one knows how good the team will be, but he’s already given us the phrase “high-octane.” He was a “BYAH!” away from perfectly embodying Howard Dean during his speech in front of the Oakland Zoo this winter.

But speaking of Favre …

The Ferris Bueller “You’re Still Here? It’s Over! Go Home!” Medal

Favre still lingers. He can’t take the hint. He tags along when you take your spouse to a wine-tasting festival. He’s the third person in a handshake. He’s the unwanted bassist of The Doors.

Favre went from funny to sad to funny to pathetic, but even “Family Guy” doesn’t stretch a joke out this long. I fully expect him on the Pittsburgh Power by July and on the Washington Redskins when the NFL (maybe) resumes play in September.

With that said, see you in the fall.

The Newsy Awards share no similarity to the 1992 Disney musical “Newsies” starring Christian Bale. The Pitt News regrets this fact and wishes it did.