What Ray Lewis and Ben Roethlisberger's Relationship Says about Steeler Fans

Bill KostkasContributor IIOctober 1, 2010

PITTSBURGH - JANUARY 18:  Ray Lewis #52 of the Baltimore Ravens kneels over Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers as Roethlisberger grimaces after he was hit by Lewis during the AFC Championship game on January 18, 2009 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

I'm sure everyone has heard the story about Ray Lewis and Ben Roethlisberger texting each other. Before actually reading into it, my first recollection was the famous text message Rashard Mendenhall sent to Ray Rice saying he was going to have a big night against the Baltimore defense on Monday Night Football in 2008.

Oddly enough, we learned that Lewis and Roethlisberger are pretty close on a personal level. Also, I'm sure most of us can admit it's a little bit weird with the players being on two teams that make up one of the most bitter rivalries in the entire NFL.

Their stories are very similar, so that might be why they have been sending each other texts recently, but I'm willing to bet that any NFL player's phone has at least a quarter of the league's numbers in it.

Lewis knows what Roethlisberger is going through. Back in 2000, Lewis was actually arrested and charged for murder. He later pleaded guilty to a count of obstruction of justice.

For a lot of players, that's the end of their career. For Lewis, it was only the beginning. He was fined $250,000 by the NFL, which was the highest fine ever laid down by the league. He came back and won the Defensive Player of The Year Award and was named MVP of Super Bowl XXXV.

Hopefully, Roethlisberger can take a page out of Lewis' book. He definitely has the potential to play like an MVP candidate and already has two Super Bowl rings. What's stopping him from a third and possibly a fourth?

Many members of Steeler Nation despise Lewis. Some hate him because of the murder case back in 2000 and others feel that way simply because he's a Baltimore Raven.

The question I want to pose is what does the relationship between the two players say about the relationship between Pittsburgh's fans and their quarterback?

If two players on separate, rival teams that hate each other can befriend one another, why can't Steeler fans root for Roethlisberger?

You know, those people that criticize him no matter how great he plays? The ones that want the backup in the game even after Roethlisberger won two Super Bowl championships. The ones that refuse to cheer for him just because they think he is an arrogant person.

As far as I can tell, this city hasn't had a great relationship with its quarterback dating back to the Terry Bradshaw Era. Back then, they hung a dummy by the neck with a No. 12 jersey from the upper level at Three Rivers Stadium. It affected Bradshaw to the point where he suffered from depression and never came back to Pittsburgh until 2002.

With Kordell Stewart, everyone criticized him because of the controversy over his sexual orientation, not the fact that he consistently blew up in playoff games. Now, Roethlisberger wins championships and fans in Pittsburgh want to get rid of him because his personality is a little questionable. Let's just forget that he's not a criminal.

During two of the games I was at during the 2008 season, I saw things from fellow Steeler fans that really bothered me. Against the San Diego Chargers on November 11, 2008, Roethlisberger was 31-41 for 308 yards. On many of those 10 incomplete passes, people in the stands were yelling for Byron Leftwich. How stupid can you be?

On December 23, 2008, against the Cleveland Browns, Roethlisberger suffered a concussion. While he laid there, fans throughout the stadium cheered the injury. It wasn't audible on television, but it was evident if you were at Heinz Field that day. A fan in front of me even tried to reinforce his theory that the Steelers were only winning because the cocky Roethlisberger wasn't prancing on the sidelines any longer.

The only thing I can deduce is that a good percentage of our fans don't really know what they're watching.