For the longest of times, those of us that are less than 40 years old, had only vague memories at best of what it was like to be the most dominant team in professional sports.
The Steelers of the 70's are still regarded today as one of the, if not THE greatest teams ever assembled.
Many of us have endured the pain of the 80's, and the end of that great dynasty. Along with the end of the Chuck Noll era.
We also suffered for the Cowher era, and how many times we were the brides maid, and never able to win the Super Bowl.
It seemed as if the Steelers were trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, and no matter how hard they pushed, they could not overcome the deficiencies of poor play at the most important position on the field. Quarterback.
From the time that Terry Bradshaw retired, until the Steelers drafted Ben Roethlisberger, there was never a GREAT leader of the offense.
Sure, we had flashes in the pan. Neil O'Donnell was good, until he gave the Super Bowl to the Dallas Cowboys. Slash was even fun to watch at times. But every time he had the ball in his hands, you knew something big was going to happen. Unfortunately, most of the time, it happened for the other team.
Throw in Tommy Maddox, Mike Tomczak, Bubby Brister, Mark Malone, and the reason for the failure of the Steelers is evident.
No TRUE leader, leading the team to the promised land.
When the Steelers selected Ben Roethlisberger with the eleventh pick of the 2004 draft, the future of the Steelers looked brighter than it has since the 70's.
No longer were the Black and Gold the type of team that had to jump out to an early lead, and win it with defense. No longer did they need to rush for 175 yards per game if they were going to have a chance.
No longer did we have to sit and wait for the defense to do something special, because for the first time in two decades, we had an offense that could put the team on their back, and win when the game was on the line.
And here is where the problem starts.
Long before any allegations were made against Ben Roethlisberger, those "old school" fans did not like the way the Steelers were running. They did not care for the late game heroics of Ben and company.
What the old schoolers wanted was the power running game, and dominant defense.
What none of them will tell you is, because the Steelers tried so long to stay that way, without success, that the formula that won four Super Bowls in six years in the 70's, does not work today.
No longer can an NFL team rely strictly on a running game, because the NFL has evolved beyond that.
And the blame for this? Ben Roethlisberger.
Ben is a drama queen. All Ben wants to do is run around. Why doesn't he throw the ball sooner?
All of these fail to look at the fact that Ben is who he is, and plays the way he plays, and THAT is why he, and the Steelers are successful.
I was eight years old when the Steelers beat the Rams to win their fourth Super Bowl, and my recollection is minimum at best. For years, I wondered why the Steelers refused to give up on what was not working anymore.
And with Ben Roethlisberger, they did.
Now, with the allegations that have been made against Roethlisberger, the line between the "old school" fans, and the "new breed" have grown even further apart.
So, this is what is going to happen.
1: IF the Steelers trade Roethlisberger, I hope you enjoyed Super Bowls XL and XLIII, because it is going to be a long time before the Steelers get back to those milestones.
2: If the Steelers DO NOT trade Roethlisberger, the outcry from the old school fans will be larger than ever, and they will be quick to want Ben off the team. Don't believe me? Ask Terry Bradshaw what it was like his first few years.
I know some of you are going to take some serious shots at me for this article, and I am OK with that. You want to talk about how Ben has put himself in a bad position, and the franchise.
Yes, Ben has made some mistakes.
Nevada: No prosecution, no evidence, no charges.
Georgia: No prosecution, no evidence, no charges.
Ben is a free man, and currently the leader of the Pittsburgh Steelers. For those of you that insist that what Ben did was morally wrong, then you should listen to the words of Jesus Christ. "He who is without sin among you, let him throw the first stone" (John 8:7, NLT).
And for those of you that feel the need to explain to your children, as I had to my daughter, about this. How about saying that athletes are not the type of person that you should look up to, and try to be like. Try to be like your teacher, or the pastor at the church. Try to be like the doctor that saves lives, or the police man, that risks his to keep us safe.
Or, maybe we can be the role models in our children's lives.
Maybe even Jesus Christ?
I know that there is no chance that Ben Roethlisberger is ever going to see this, I am realistic. I just hope that he can find a way to defeat his personal demons. Because the part of Steelers Nation that wants his head, will probably be worse than those.
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