The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

Join our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

New York Knicks forward Precious Achiuwa (5) shoots over Philadelphia 76ers guard Kelly Oubre Jr., rear, in red, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New York on Sunday, March 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)
Column | Former Villanova fanatic watches “Nova Knicks” take down Sixers in NBA Playoffs
By Aidan Kasner, Sports Editor • May 23, 2024
Opinion | Do not arrest peaceful protesters
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • May 23, 2024

Join our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

New York Knicks forward Precious Achiuwa (5) shoots over Philadelphia 76ers guard Kelly Oubre Jr., rear, in red, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New York on Sunday, March 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)
Column | Former Villanova fanatic watches “Nova Knicks” take down Sixers in NBA Playoffs
By Aidan Kasner, Sports Editor • May 23, 2024
Opinion | Do not arrest peaceful protesters
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • May 23, 2024

Take 4 | Ohtani, Wilson, Hip Drop and NCAA

Pittsburgh+Steelers+newly+signed+quarterback+Russell+Wilson+speaks+with+reporters+during+an+NFL+football+press+conference+in+Pittsburgh+on+Friday%2C+March+15.
AP Photo/Rebecca Droke
Pittsburgh Steelers newly signed quarterback Russell Wilson speaks with reporters during an NFL football press conference in Pittsburgh on Friday, March 15.

On this week’s Take 4, The Pitt News’ Sports Desk gives their takes on topics such as the Steelers, March Madness, NFL defenses and Shohei Ohtani. 

The Steelers should start Justin Fields // Brian Sherry, Sports Editor

The Pittsburgh Steelers made wild changes to their quarterback room last week. Right before the stroke of midnight on March 10, ESPN reported that former Super Bowl-winning quarterback Russell Wilson intended to sign with the Steelers. Over the next week, the Steelers made two more major changes to their quarterback room, as they traded Kenny Pickett to the Eagles and then acquired Justin Fields from the Bears. This left Pittsburgh with just two signal callers on its roster — Wilson and Fields.

In all likelihood, Wilson will start week one for the Steelers. But is this the best move? Wilson is 35 years old and is coming off of a horrendous stint in Denver. The days of Wilson’s domination in Seattle are long behind him. While Wilson can win the Steelers a few games here and there, they will not win a Super Bowl with the former Bronco at the helm.

But can the Steelers win a Super Bowl with Fields in the starting role? At 25 years old, Fields is on the cusp of entering his prime. Fields did struggle in his first few seasons with the Bears, leading the team to a horrendous 10-28 record across his three seasons as starting quarterback. But much of Fields’ lack of success is simply because the Bears failed to provide him with any support whatsoever.

Fields also has the intangible assets of a great quarterback. Standing at six feet three inches, Fields is a young leader with a strong arm and fast legs. Fields’ skill, paired with the Steelers’ budding offense, will make Pittsburgh a perennial playoff contender. Plain and simple, the Steelers will get more out of starting Fields now than letting Wilson struggle in his final years in the league. 

Eventually, a perfect March Madness bracket // Matthew Scabilloni, Senior Staff Writer 

A perfect March Madness bracket seems impossible — someone has to pick the correct winner in 63 consecutive NCAA Tournament games. 

The NCAA says the odds are 1 in 120.2 billion. 

But I think the NCAA is wrong, like they are about a bunch of things.

Why? One basketball season, we are going to have one of the most boring March Madness’ of all time where the largest upsets are predictable. 

I’m not so bold to say this is going to happen this year or even in the next 10 years, but I’m here to say it will happen. It’s not impossible to fill out the perfect March Madness bracket if the majority of the favorites win.

I mean, people fill out up to 25 brackets per year. One year, someone is going to get lucky with the combination of a boring March Madness and we will see the perfect bracket for the NCAA Tournament.

NFL removing the hip drop tackle is terrible for the sport // Jermaine Sykes, Assistant Sports Editor

The NFL is moving toward removing the hip drop tackle due to various lower body injuries sustained by offensive players over the years. The move is one that will not have much pushback from offensive players, as a defensive hip drop tackle will result in a 15-yard penalty.

But in my opinion, this is terrible for the sport of football. 

The only reason the hip drop tackle gained popularity over the past few years is due to the NFL’s efforts to protect players from head injuries. If they can’t hit them high, they must hit them low. And instead of equally as dangerous lower body tackles led with the helmet or shoulder pads, players choose to use their body and momentum to bring down their opponent.

If the NFL wants to remove this type of tackling, I have one question for the league. What are defenders supposed to do? What is 166-pound cornerback Emmanuel Forbes supposed to do to bring down 240-pound running back Derrick Henry? 

Protecting the players is one thing, but putting defenders at a disadvantage is bad for the sport and will further diminish the value of defense in the NFL. 

Ohtani, Mizuhara story could become one of the biggest scandals in sports // Dylan Grace, Staff Writer 

On Wednesday, representatives of Los Angeles Dodgers phenom pitcher Shohei Ohtani announced allegations against interpreter Ippei Mizuhara for stealing over $4 million of money directly from Ohtani’s bank account to pay off an illegal sports bookmaker. These allegations followed the announcement of an ongoing investigation into an illegal gambling ring in southern California. Mizuhara was fired by the team this week.

When the words gambling and baseball are mentioned together, it’s hard not to think of the infamous Pete Rose. The man who holds the record for the most hits in Major League Baseball history inserted himself into a gambling scandal that shook the sport. The mere thought of baseball’s brightest star linked to a similar scandal is enough to send shockwaves through the sport yet again. 

Now, I’m not one to jump to conclusions, but the details of this story do raise some eyebrows. The first thing that struck me was how a bookmaker allowed someone to accumulate a debt of over $4 million? It just doesn’t add up. 

And then there’s the matter of Shohei’s relationship with his interpreter. Over Ohtani’s stint in the majors, Mizuhara has remained by the superstar’s side at every turn, seeming to be one of the most trusted members in Ohtani’s small circle. So, seeing a report of him stealing massive amounts of dollars makes little sense to me. 

I’m not accusing Ohtani of being directly involved in betting, but to even have some remote connection, such as a bank account, depositing money into an illegal bookmaker account is eye-opening. Look for this ongoing investigation to be the most prominent story this summer.

About the Contributor