May 14, 2016

The well respected Football Writers of America (FWAA) has come out with their list of the best 11 Sports Information Directors (SIDs) in the nation and Pitt has won it, along with 10 other schools, for 2015.

E. J. Borghetti, who is a great SID and a huge help for us writers on The Blather, is the consummate professional and deserves this honor in spades.

To refresh your memory he is the “Executive Associate Athletic Director – Media Relations” for the Athletic Department and does wonderful work for Pitt and for us fans. (More on that later).

Just for fun let’s look at the criteria the FWAA lays out for candidacy for the awards:

The awards …

In 2009, the Football Writers Association of America introduced its Super 11 Awards, designed to identify and reward the sports information departments and programs that exemplified excellent media relations.

The criteria …

The following ten areas were set forth as the criteria/standards for selection for the awards:

– Players (eligible and playing in varsity games) who are requested should be available to media during Mondays and Tuesdays of game week (minimum).

– Defensive coordinator and offensive coordinator should be available to media once a week during the season (minimum) and once a month during the off-season (minimum).

– Freshmen who play should be available to media.

– If former players and/or boosters are allowed into scrimmages or practices, the media should not be excluded from those same scrimmages or practices. (Whaaaaa??)

Coaches should be available to media on their campuses at least once a week during the season for no less than 30 minutes. They also should be made available after practice each day for updates on the team. Weekly telephonic press conferences do not count toward these times.

– A “no cheering in the press box” statement should be made in the press box before the beginning of each half of play. In addition, SID’s should make every attempt to keep the press box quiet and escort disruptive individuals to the exits.

– Requests for quotes from key players injured in a game should be granted by the home SID and his staff.

– FWAA member(s) should help the each SID with requests for players to be interviewed after a game. Any player who has played (and is not injured) and is not made available for interviews will be so noted by FWAA observers. The FWAA recommends open locker rooms after games, but short of this, any player who plays in a game and is not injured, upon request, should be made available to the media.

– An FWAA pool reporter or a reputable news person should be designated by the home SID before every game in case there is an officiating controversy during the game.

Boosters should not be present at postgame news conferences involving the media, coaches and players. Interruptions or noise will be duly noted by the FWAA observer. Press boxes where non-media are disruptive will also be noted.

The 2015 recipients …

The 2015 winners of Super 11 Awards were the following programs: Clemson, Houston, Kansas State, Louisiana, Indiana, Mississippi State, Northern Illinois, Pittsburgh (EJ and his staff), Southern California (USC), Utah State and Western Kentucky.

On a personal note I am proud to call young Mr. Borghetti a friend and will say his willingness to answer what questions he can is a breath of fresh air when writing these articles.  His candor

Plus he doesn’t take crap from anyone.  Not PSU fans,as shown when this letter to the editor appeared in the local newspaper:

To: Pitt football fans

Speaking of being stuck in the past: Pitt football fans actually believe the program has tradition. Maybe 30 years ago it did. Its current tradition is a half-full Heinz Field for its games and a new head coach every other year. Maybe Pitt fans annoy me because I’m a Penn Stater, but maybe they do because they don’t live in reality. Do the Pitt sports-information people still claim to have nine national championships in football?

To which EJ replied:

Perhaps the real source of Mr. Garth’s grouchiness is that after 16 long years, his alma mater, Penn State, can no longer avoid Pitt on the football field. The origin of hate is fear, and he undoubtedly sees that Pat Narduzzi is building a tough, tenacious and, yes, blue-collar program primed for championships at Pitt.

Blue-and-white colored glasses cannot shield him from the approaching storm. The program that produced homegrown legends Ditka, Dorsett and Marino (among many others) has reawakened — just in time for Sept. 10, 2016.

He can stay home the day a parade is held to celebrate Coach Narduzzi bringing a 10th national title to Pitt.

… not Todd Graham nor anyone else that I can remember.

It was well deserved promotion when EJ was fleeted-up to the “Executive Associate Athletic Director – Media Relations”


He has no peer. In Pittsburgh his mere presence silences the verbal fools. He is a gem.

Comment by Sfpitt 05.14.16 @ 12:29 pm

Which may be the reason that you & me are the only posts to this thread?

Comment by Dr. Tom 05.14.16 @ 3:16 pm

Congrats to EJ, well deserved. A true professional who has provided stability and continuity through all the change.


Comment by Jeff in CPa 05.14.16 @ 3:54 pm

– A “no cheering in the press box” statement should be made in the press box before the beginning of each half of play. In addition, SID’s should make every attempt to keep the press box quiet and escort disruptive individuals to the exits.

I am not a journalist and have never been in a press box so I don’t know what it’s like. But I found this part of the criteria interesting. Do the press talk to each other about the game? Is it more like a library in there? It seems like a weird situation when they are surrounded by thousands of screaming fans. I guess what I’m wondering is, why is it so important for the press box to be like a church? Reed? Chas? Can you provide any insight?

Comment by Jeff in CPa 05.14.16 @ 4:11 pm

Pitt has a long list of great players who have distinguished themselves on and off the field.

E.J. follows in the tradition of a true great///Beano Cook!! E.J. is truly in a class by himself and deserves the accolades being sent in his direction. H2P!!!

Comment by isnore 05.14.16 @ 4:17 pm

Jeff – the press-box is considered a ‘neutral and professional‘ area and so is maintained to be ‘even ground’ as they say.

Sometimes the majority of participants in the box can be from the other team’s area as strange as that may sound.

The bottom line is that no one wants any real emotional stuff to break the professional standards set.

the media does talk with each other a lot though – you just have to be quiet and talk in low tones. I get a lot of info there – one day back in 2012 during a home game against #18 Rutgers I sat behind some ESPN and SI writers and eavesdropped while they talked about Dave Wannstedt (very interesting!), Todd Graham taking off and what Pitt’s national reputation was at that time (not good at all – shitty actually… the word ‘joke’ wasn’t strong enough).

That is why I always disagree when Pitt fans would say “It really wasn’t that bad – people still respect Pitt” because it really was ‘that bad’. It was hard to listen to but made for a good article later on.

To be honest, even thought I have full media credentials I sit in my season ticket seats most of the time due to just this rule. This year though I’m going to be in the box more often so my friends can use both my season ticket seats each game and I want to write in more detail about what I see up there.

As you can probably tell I can sit through a Pitt game without jumping up and down screaming and it is very nice not having someone in front of you who feels the need to stand the whole game and ruin your sight line just to prove they are ‘one’ with the team.

But it is like sitting in church sometimes – people talk among themselves but you can’t yell anything or cheer or call the other team’s writers ‘lying liars who lie‘.

Comment by Reed 05.14.16 @ 4:47 pm

On a different note – recruit WR Maurice Ffrench set yet another NJ high school record in the 100 yards dash.

link to

Let’s hope he can catch a football.

Comment by Reed 05.14.16 @ 5:24 pm

Ffrom the looks of things, Ffrench can return the football.

Like the idea of pairing him and Henderson together on kickoffs.

Comment by PittofDreams 05.14.16 @ 5:30 pm

Congrats to EJ.

A 100 yard state dash winner is awesome. Throw it up and let him run to it.

Comment by gc 05.14.16 @ 6:41 pm

link to

Not just fast, he has a burst, good moves and good hands. Looks a little small though.

Comment by gc 05.14.16 @ 6:47 pm

Another track star at Pitt….Jester Weah….a true speedster.

Comment by isnore 05.14.16 @ 6:50 pm

I’m one of those fans that stands on occasion. I guess the press box would not be for me.

Congrats to EJ. Definitely one of the best in the business. Bleeds Blue and Gold. Although I’m curious what those uni colors are really gonna be. Could it be like those during the Van Pelt years?

Comment by TX Panther 05.14.16 @ 8:34 pm

And yes the origin of hate is fear. I feared that Joe Pa would become President one day. Hence I hated State. I could say the same for Trump and Hillary. 🙂

Comment by TX Panther 05.14.16 @ 8:38 pm

Congrats EJ and his minions, well deserved!!!.

I guess with no cheering in press box, players being available for interviews etc that other school out in central pa would not have been in the top 150 in the past 50 years. Now if covering up crimes ……


Comment by rkb 05.14.16 @ 9:00 pm

100 yd record in NJ? Was that Carl Lewis’ record?

Comment by Tvax1 05.14.16 @ 9:19 pm

Trenton Coles and Tommie Cambell were state sprint champions also. Where did that get us?

Comment by alcofan 05.14.16 @ 9:32 pm

Dr. Tom.
I’m with you.
Looks like my handle needs to change to SffPitt.

Comment by Sfpitt 05.14.16 @ 10:10 pm

So a Pitt recruit sets a state record and the responses to that are he looks small, we had other track guys that weren’t great, etc.

Really? How about cogratulations to Maurice!

Comment by notrocketscience 05.15.16 @ 5:58 am

French does not look small, but athletic AND ffast. He also fflew the long jump to victory with leap over 23 ffeet. He reminds me of J.Whitehead.

Ffrom Cardiac Hill: Aaron Donald earned another significant piece of recognition this week when he was named as Pro Football Focus’ top overall player for 2015. He finished 18th on the list as a rookie after his 2014 season and to finish as the No. 1 player in the league after only two years is nothing short of remarkable.

His ascension to the top of the charts was also noteworthy in that he knocked off J.J. Watt, who was the site’s top overall player for the past three years. CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco recently looked at both players and also concluded that Donald had the bigger season. Donald had 11 sacks as a defensive tackle and as that PFF link indicates, had a total of 79 pressures and may be the league’s quickest lineman. While he finished well behind Watt for Defensive Player of the Year honors, there are at least some people that think Donald was better this year.

Count me in as a ffan of both ffine young men!


Comment by Erie Express 05.15.16 @ 6:40 am

^ correction – Ffrench not French – spell check hasn’t ffigured this out yet. ^

Comment by Erie Express 05.15.16 @ 6:43 am

Better yet in the Blackshoes article… this is the headline:

“The oddsmakers do not gave high hopes for the Nittany Lions”.

English isn’t their strong point.

Comment by Reed 05.15.16 @ 7:23 am

Alcoa – Tommie Campbell played for us at LB and started some games… then had a weird route to being drafted into the NFL.

It was academics and not talent that killed his career at Pitt.

Comment by Reed 05.15.16 @ 7:30 am

Reed – I think the “nits” are in a similar “hope” situation as Pitt – the QB play. The “nits” have talent at the skilled positions, but not much in the way of Oline and they are breaking in a new QB – I believe his name is McSwirley (a little bathroom lingo).

Pitt is riding on the high hopes that NP doesn’t get hurt nor repeat his end of season pathetic swoon.

I think the big difference may be the Pitt road graders. If they perform on 9/10 as “expected”, Pitt wins the game. If they underperform (remember Navy?), then we fans could be VERY disappointed.

Comment by Erie Express 05.15.16 @ 8:05 am

FFrench looked small to me in the video, but he is 5’11” and reports have him from 179 to 185. So not small. More importantly he looks to have good balance and good hands.

Trenton Coles was 6’3″ 175, and very thin. He left after he was demoted from first string, went to Duquesne. Left early for the draft. I can’t find where he got picked up by anyone.

Looks like he should have stayed in school.

Comment by gc 05.15.16 @ 9:35 am

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