Are those who suggest the Steelers need to move on from Roethlisberger in the majority, or are they just screaming louder than everyone else?
First off, I want to say before anything else that I am asking this question because I seriously want to know the answer.
As I find myself scouring through various articles and comments here at Behind The Steel Curtain, as well as social media outlets where I follow Steelers insiders in order to stay up-to-date on everything going on with the Pittsburgh Steelers, I’ve seen an awful lot of opinions in regards to Ben Roethlisberger‘s future with the Steelers heading into the 2021 season. I don’t know if those feeling this way, ones I call the “Ben‘s got to go” crowd, are actually speaking for the majority of Steelers’ fans or if they are simply just creating the most noise. I don’t always notice who is commenting on these things, so I’m not sure if I’m hearing the same thing spoken over and over by the same person or if there is a large portion of Steelers’ Nation who feels Ben Roethlisberger‘s time has exceeded his usefulness in Pittsburgh.
I’m not saying people who feel this way are wrong, but I’m also definitely not saying they are correct either.
It was a mere eight months ago when Steelers’ fans were eagerly awaiting more videos of Ben Roethlisberger throwing a football after rehabbing from his surgically repaired elbow. With the Steelers going 8-8 in 2019 and their future Hall of Fame quarterback set to return for another attempt at a Super Bowl run, fans were tying Roethlisberger‘s elbow to the team’s 2020 season. If Ben was not going to lead the charge, what were the Steelers going to do?
Fast forward about six months and the Steelers are headed into Week 12 of the 2020 NFL season at 10-0 and looking to sweep the Baltimore Ravens on a short week in prime time on Thanksgiving night. Roethlisberger had eclipsed 2,500 yards on the season and thrown for 24 touchdowns with only five interceptions and had the team on their longest winning streak to begin a season in franchise history.
Four games later, Steelers’ fans became very concerned over what would become of the team’s historic start. Although they won their matchup against a depleted Ravens team, the next four games did not seem to be anywhere close to what the Steelers had been doing. With the AFC North now in question, the Steelers started their next game in questionable fashion as well. But with a great comeback victory against the Indianapolis Colts, some felt the Steelers had “righted the ship” enough in order to use Week 17 to refresh some players before the playoff run (NOTE: Although I agreed with resting players due to the Steelers basically not getting a bye, I did not feel the second half of the Colts game was enough to instill overwhelming confidence going forward.)
Getting back to Ben Roethlisberger, as the Steelers entered the 2020 postseason, victory over the Cleveland Browns on Wild Card Weekend seemed to be in the stars. Falling the week before by only two points in Cleveland where four of the Steelers captains did not play, and adding the fact the Browns had very limited practice time due to COVID-19 issues, the Steelers seemed to be destined for the Divisional Round of the playoffs. While we don’t need to rehash everything again, we know that Roethlisberger had four interceptions in the Steelers loss. Granted he did have four touchdowns and over 500 yards passing, those numbers could be somewhat inflated based on the Browns simply trying to hang on for dear life after establishing a 28-point lead.
Yes, playoff games are really what it all comes down to. Yes, the Steelers laid an egg again in the postseason. But it seems like some of the fan base has laid all the weight of the Steelers defeat at Roethlisberger‘s feet and are certain he can do nothing ever again to lead this franchise to greatness.
Reports have surfaced that the Steelers offense was described by other players around the league as being the easiest to figure out the entire NFL. Is this because of Ben Roethlisberger, or was this because of the offensive scheme he was put in? While some may argue that offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner was “Ben‘s guy” I don’t know that if this was still the case that the Steelers would have let Fichtner’s contract expire if they were looking for Roethlisberger to return in 2021.
I’m not saying the blame is all on Randy Fichtner, but I’m definitely saying the blame is not all on Ben Roethlisberger.
So what is it about the 2020 season which has some fans joining the “Ben’s got to go” club?
I’m probably not going to convince you one way or the other if you are set on whether or not you want Ben Roethlisberger to return to the Steelers for 2021. All I know is the Steelers have made it public that they want Roethlisberger back for at least next season. But are the fans behind him?
The best way I can try to figure out the situation is to simply give a poll here at Behind The Steel Curtain. With each person only getting one vote, it won’t be difficult to decide if it’s simply the vocal fans that are saying this, or if Steelers’ Nation truly believes Roethlisberger‘s time with the Steelers needs to come to an end.
So please, do me a favor and vote in the poll below. If you didn’t notice, I’m not giving a “middle of the road” option. And as always, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section as well.