I posted this in the Steelers Tavern, but thought some folks here would also find it interesting...

Penguins employee has ties to both Steelers and Packers
Friday, January 28, 2011

Maybe the first thing to know about Sam Kasan is his Super Bowl prediction: Steelers 27, Packers 24. And he admitted that's "more of a hope."

What South Side-born graduate of Central Catholic High School and Duquesne wouldn't hope the Steelers win a seventh Lombardi Trophy on Feb. 6?

[IMGL]http://i51.tinypic.com/euh3x3.jpg[/IMGL]Kasan is probably the envy of most of his contemporaries: Before joining the Penguins two years ago, he worked with the Steelers and Packers, with a stint in NFL Europe in between.

"My uncle I'm his idol," Kasan said with a laugh.

Kasan, 29, is the Penguins' director of content. As part of his job, he is heavily involved in the team's website, which provides daily content in the form of stories, blogs and video.

Look closely at, say, a game-day blog, and a reader will find hints of Kasan's personality in the form of an imbedded video for a song he believes should set the tone for the day. Most of those songs would only be instantly recognized by fans who fit into the younger demographic that the team not only covets but also successfully has attracted during the past five years.

Before he was hired by the Penguins, Kasan was one of those young fans.

"I worked with NFL teams, but hockey was always my thing," he said.

Added Penguins vice president of communications Tom McMillan: "There were so many good, young people coming up in sports, and it was intriguing that he was a hockey fan who wanted to work in the sport but had worked in the NFL."

Kasan's childhood dream was a more traditional media job, of a newspaper reporter covering the Penguins. At Central Catholic, he wrote stories off Penguins games he watched on TV; his journalism teacher provided line-by-line edits.

At Duquesne, Kasan traveled the traditional route of getting into journalism, working part-time for the Tribune-Review and taking calls in the newsroom at night from high school coaches.

Upon graduation, with newspaper jobs difficult to find, he applied for a public relations internship with the Steelers. Several months after landing the gig in 2005, he was part of a Super Bowl championship. The next year, he helped Steelers chairman emeritus Dan Rooney write a book.

Coincidentally, within the first year of Kasan joining the Penguins, they won the Stanley Cup. He scored a Super Bowl watch from the Steelers and a Cup ring from the Penguins.

In between, he held a similar public relations post with the Packers in 2007 and was playfully insulted by Brett Favre in Favre's last season with the franchise. (Kasan just missed another Super Bowl when the Packers lost at home in the NFC title game.)

Try beating any of those stories at the 2014 Central Catholic high school reunion.

"The Steelers are like a family. They have fewer employees. Everybody knows Mr. Rooney. This is their life," Kasan said. "The Packers, everybody thinks small market, but they are much bigger. When it comes to the football, there are a lot of similarities. There is an identity and the history."

Kasan described this Super Bowl as "in a sense, a win-win situation," enough though he is among a majority of Penguins employees notably team CEO/president and Beechview native David Morehouse who are unabashed Steelers fans.

Kasan's NFL stints left him close with players such as former Steelers running back Willie Parker and injured Packers running back Ryan Grant, but his thoughts on Super Bowl Sunday will be with members of the staffs with whom he worked.

Of course, his work with the Penguins comes first. They play at Washington that afternoon, and Kasan's first blog post will be up around 10 a.m., with in-game tweets to follow before a postgame story.

After a charter flight back to Pittsburgh, he'll ideally be at his South Side apartment to catch the final half of a Super Bowl between two former employers.

"I'm still a Steelers fan at heart," he said, "but if they don't win, it will be bittersweet."