The Bugatti Boys are down, and Ike Taylor has Team Casper in his sights.
Given the hypercompetitive nature of professional athletes, the Steelers locker room has long been outfitted with a ping pong and pool tables for players to pass the time playing each other. Last season a shuffleboard table was installed and this year its been the site of a season-long, two-man 16-team double-elimination tournament.
Taylor is paired with Ben Roethlisberger, and they advanced to the tournament Final Four after sweeping a best-of-three series over the Bugatti Boys -- Emmanuel Sanders and Mike Wallace -- two games to none.
"Ben and I, we call ourselves 24-7, of course. His nickname is 'All Week,' my nickname is 'All Day.' We put up a 2-0 in best out of three against the 'Bugatti Boys,' but I kept telling people we don’t call them the 'Bugatti Boys,' we call them the 'Smart Car Boys.' They’re not on our level yet. They are out the tournament."
Taylor didn't miss a chance to rub it in to his teammates.
"They took it like how I thought a Smart Car boy would take it – they didn’t take it too well. Of course I was talking. I had my iPad going with Pandora on Big Strong and 2 Chainz and I don’t think they liked that at all.
"I told Ben, you play offense and I’ll play defense but I wound up playing offense and defense. Ben carried us last time against The Beard and The Head which is Brett Keisel and Cam Heyward.
"We try to stack wins on and off the field."
Team 24-7 will next take on Team Casper -- tight ends Heath Miller and David Paulson -- in the Final Four.
Ike Taylor also weighed in Manning brother, Peyton or Eli, could better dissect a defense.
"Eli is probably not as 'dissective' as Peyton is, but the man has two Super Bowl rings," Taylor said. "So you’ve got a guy who’s probably going to the Hall of Fame – and that’s Peyton with a shoo-in, and you got another guy who probably going to the Hall of Fame, another shoo-in."
Taylor then -- sort of -- weighed in on the Peyton/Eli debate when WTAE-TV's Guy Junker asked Taylor, "If you were drafting your own fantasy team which one would you pick?"
Taylor threw it back at him: "I’ll ask you – who you gonna go with? Peyton or Eli?"
Junker said, "I think if I've got to pick one guy to play for me, I’ll pick Peyton. But I think Eli’s had the more team success."
Taylor paused contemplatively for a moment.
"That’s a fair answer. So I’m gonna take that answer right there. That was a great answer," Taylor said, cracking up the gathered reporters, including Junker.