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Continued: Hartman: Leidner gets chance to be in Iowa rivalry

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: September 27, 2013 - 6:08 AM

Two teams need spark

Surely the Vikings and Steelers, both 0-3, are viewing this Sunday’s game in London as a last gasp to salvage their seasons. In NFL history, only one team has made the playoffs after starting 0-4, the 1992 Chargers.

The Steelers are also dealing with a troubling quarterback situation. Ben Roethlisberger, who led Pittsburgh to Super Bowl victories following the 2005 and 2008 seasons, has an 81.2 quarterback rating that ranks only 22nd in the league after having a 97 rating last season. He also committed four turnovers (two interceptions, two fumbles) in the Steelers’ 40-23 loss to the Bears last week, which cemented the team’s worst start in 13 years.

“It’s a deep hole,” Roethlisberger told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “It’s getting deeper, but I’m not gonna quit.”

It’s amazing these two teams are in such similarly precarious positions heading into one of the NFL’s showcase games in London.

Jottings

• The word is former Gophers athletic director Joel Maturi, who is now teaching at the school, told his class he offered Tony Dungy a 10-year contract at $2 million per year to become Gophers football coach and Dungy, the former Gophers player and NFL coach, turned it down.

• Former Gophers athletic director Mark Dienhart said he wanted to hire Glen Mason as football coach in 1996, but he couldn’t make a deal with his agent, Neal Cornrich. Then he considered hiring current Bears coach Marc Trestman, but it turned out Trestman also had Cornrich as an agent. When he couldn’t negotiate a deal for Trestman, he went back and made a deal for Mason.

• None of the teams Iowa has defeated this season — Missouri State, Iowa State and Western Michigan — has won a game.

• J.D. Spielman, son of Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman, is a regular cornerback as a sophomore for the Eden Prairie football team and is regarded as one of the best all-around players on the team.

• The Gophers ticket office made every effort not to sell tickets to the Iowa game to Hawkeyes fans. If the application had an Iowa address on it, they didn’t get the tickets.

• Chipola (Fla.) Junior College sophomore Carlos Morris is a 6-5, 175-pound guard who averaged 13.3 points per game last year. He is being heavily recruited by the Gophers and is expected to visit here this weekend. Chipola coach Patrick Blake used to be a student manager for Rick Pitino at Louisville, which might help Gophers coach Richard Pitino in the recruiting of Morris.

 

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. • shartman@startribune.com

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