Talking Steelers Football with Max Talbot
Pittsburgh Penguins forward Max Talbot has always had an interest in football, but became a Steelers fan once he arrived in Pittsburgh. Talbot, whose Penguins are in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, is a regular at Heinz Field during the football season cheering on the black and gold.
Talbot, who was born in Lemoyne, Quebec, in Canada, was drafted by the Penguins organization in the eighth round in 2002 and is in his third season playing for them in the NHL.
Talbot took time out after a recent Penguins practice to talk with Teresa Varley for Talking Steelers Football.
When did you start to follow football?
We have the CFL back home and we have the Montreal Alouettes, They are a pretty good team. I played football when I was younger, so I know a little bit about it. Definitely when I came down here (to Pittsburgh) my first camp, my first year was the year they won Super Bowl XL. Obviously when you get to this city you have no choice but to follow a little football. I have been more and more a fan. This year every time I could go to a game I would go to Heinz Field and watch the guys play.
What are you like when you watch a game?
I get really, really intense. Even when I watch a hockey game I am like a fan, which I really can't be. When I watch football I can always cheer for the Steelers. I go out there early and tailgate and hang out with my friends. When the game starts I am a huge fan and I get into it really easily.
Do you sit out in the crowd with the other fans?
I watched almost every game in the stands this year. We sit around the 40-yard line. For the AFC Championship game against the Ravens we sat in the ARAMark suite. I went with two of the guys on the team and it was a great game.
What do you think of the atmosphere at Heinz Field?
It's great. I wear my jersey. I have a Polamalu jersey. I have the Towel. It's fun. Pittsburgh is a sports city. It's kind of the same atmosphere at Mellon Arena. We have football players that come see our games. Ben Roethlisberger has come to a couple of games with Mario (Lemieux). Jeff Reed, a good friend of mine, comes to every game he can. Coach (Mike) Tomlin comes to some of the games. Every chance we have the chance to go cheer for them we go.
Is it good to have that support from the Steelers at your games?
It's nice. They showed Jeff in the stands and everybody cheered for him. It's cool. We show support for their team, they show support for our team. It shows how this city is special and we all cheer for the same thing.
Were you able to watch Super Bowl XLIII?
We were home for the Super Bowl. We did the little team party. We all watched it together with the wives and all. Afterwards I had trouble going home because I live on the South Side and they had the streets all blocked off. It was pretty special.
What do you think of Mike Tomlin's coaching style?
I think he coaches like our new coach, Dan Bylsma if I can make a comparison. I think he is a players coach, but he demands respect. I really enjoy him. Since he came here he proved himself really fast. In his second year he won the Super Bowl which is super. You feel that guys are having fun out there and they are a tight group which makes it special. It's great for the city.
Is there a current Steelers player who you enjoy watching, who you respect the game they play?
I respect Jeff Reed for what he does, the pressure he is under. It is do or die for him. He needs to kick. It's great. I also like Hines Ward. I like to watch him play. I like the smile on his face. It's fun.
If you could pick one current Steelers player to be a goalie for your team, who would it be? It would be a huge lineman, someone like Casey Hampton. Or Jeff Reed because he is the guy in a shootout he could stop the puck because it's one on one.
If you could pick one current Steelers player to be an enforcer for your team, who would it be? James Harrison.
If you could pick one current Steelers player to be the go-to guy in a shootout for your team, who would it be?
Even though he is a defensive player I would say Troy Polamalu I think he likes the pressure and likes to be there. Troy or Ben Roethlisberger because he is the go to guy.
Which current Steelers player would you not want to be checked into the boards by?*
Definitely James Harrison.