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What Roethlisberger’s Off the Field “Play” is Costing the Steelers


With Pittsburgh Pro Bowl QB suspended for the first four to six games, the Steelers season should be more of a struggle than expected.  Their chance of making the  post season also seems questionable since the starting QB position is still uncertain.  In Roethlisberger’s absence, Byron Leftwhich made the start in the Pre-Season game against the Lions.  Suffering to Detroit’s new and improved front four, Leftwhich had little time to make plays as he was sacked three times and rushed several more while going 6/10.  Dennis Dixon showed a lot of potential by making plays with is legs and tossing a few solid passes during the game (even if it was against Detroit’s third and fourth string) but he is still far from the caliber of a typical starting QB in the NFL. So, how much is Ben’s off the field “play” costing the Steelers? Well, let’s start with the obvious, wins.
Looking at the first six games for the Steelers: Falcons, Titans, Buccaneers, Ravens, Browns, and Dolphins, it is far from an easy start to the season.  The Titans, Dolphins, Ravens, and Falcons had great seasons in 2009 and are all expected to improve during the 2010 season.  With Chris Johnson expected to have another great rushing season for  the Titans, Brandon Marshall helping Miami be a threat in the air, Aquan Boldin bringing his game to Baltimore, and Matt Ryan and Michal Turner expected to have another successful season in Atlanta, Pittsburgh will have to be nearly at its best to win those games.  Unfortunately, this is nearly impossible when there is an inexperienced quarterback at the helm.  Realistically, Pittsburgh should start 2-4 this season (wins over Cleveland and Tampa bay) and have very little chance of a post season. Big Ben’s return will be at the Superdome, home of the defending World Champion Saints, which isn’t exactly easing him back into the game. Due to a relatively difficult conference schedule after Big Ben’s return, probable wins over Carolina, Buffalo and Cincinnati will only boost the Steelers to an 8-8 finish.
Now, lets look at the Steelers’ season if Roethlisberger was not suspended.  The Steelers would win at least two more games, lifting them to 10-6.  Add a couple of upsets (e.g. Baltimore and Jets) and they are sitting nicely at 12-4.  This would put them in contention with the up-and-coming Baltimore Ravens for the AFC North title.  The difference from being a possible Wild Card contender to an AFC North Title contender goes beyond money, offering the team and players various benefits.  From hosting playoff games and additional merchandising, to overall additional coverage as a preeminent team, the benefits are significant.  Another bonus is mere bragging rights.  Also, simply playing in the game is priceless to a player and the rest of the staff. Although a successful team will actually lose money due to NFL revenue sharing, a successful post-season or Super Bowl victory will attract wealthy investors.
Therefore, it seems that Big Bens absence will cost Pittsburg post season play on top of four regular season games.  Although losses in revenue will get distributed throughout the league by the NFL Revenue sharing, the Steelers cannot evade the loss in apparel sales and fans, which will decrease the team’s overall value.

With Pittsburgh Pro Bowl QB suspended for the first four to six games, the Steelers season should be more of a struggle than expected.  Their chance of making the  post season also seems questionable since the starting QB position is still uncertain.  In Roethlisberger’s absence, Byron Leftwhich made the start in the Pre-Season game against the Lions.  Suffering to Detroit’s new and improved front four, Leftwhich had little time to make plays as he was sacked three times and rushed several more while going 6/10.  Dennis Dixon showed a lot of potential by making plays with is legs and tossing a few solid passes during the game (even if it was against Detroit’s third and fourth string) but he is still far from the caliber of a typical starting QB in the NFL. So, how much is Ben’s off the field “play” costing the Steelers? Well, let’s start with the obvious, wins.Looking at the first six games for the Steelers: Falcons, Titans, Buccaneers, Ravens, Browns, and Dolphins, it is far from an easy start to the season.  The Titans, Dolphins, Ravens, and Falcons had great seasons in 2009 and are all expected to improve during the 2010 season.  With Chris Johnson expected to have another great rushing season for  the Titans, Brandon Marshall helping Miami be a threat in the air, Aquan Boldin bringing his game to Baltimore, and Matt Ryan and Michal Turner expected to have another successful season in Atlanta, Pittsburgh will have to be nearly at its best to win those games.  Unfortunately, this is nearly impossible when there is an inexperienced quarterback at the helm.  Realistically, Pittsburgh should start 2-4 this season (wins over Cleveland and Tampa bay) and have very little chance of a post season. Big Ben’s return will be at the Superdome, home of the defending World Champion Saints, which isn’t exactly easing him back into the game. Due to a relatively difficult conference schedule after Big Ben’s return, probable wins over Carolina, Buffalo and Cincinnati will only boost the Steelers to an 8-8 finish.
Now, lets look at the Steelers’ season if Roethlisberger was not suspended.  The Steelers would win at least two more games, lifting them to 10-6.  Add a couple of upsets (e.g. Baltimore and Jets) and they are sitting nicely at 12-4.  This would put them in contention with the up-and-coming Baltimore Ravens for the AFC North title.  The difference from being a possible Wild Card contender to an AFC North Title contender goes beyond money, offering the team and players various benefits.  From hosting playoff games and additional merchandising, to overall additional coverage as a preeminent team, the benefits are significant.  Another bonus is mere bragging rights.  Also, simply playing in the game is priceless to a player and the rest of the staff. Although a successful team will actually lose money due to NFL revenue sharing, a successful post-season or Super Bowl victory will attract wealthy investors.
Therefore, it seems that Big Bens absence will cost Pittsburg post season play on top of four regular season games.  Although losses in revenue will get distributed throughout the league by the NFL Revenue sharing, the Steelers cannot evade the loss in apparel sales and fans, which will decrease the team’s overall value.

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