Why the Pittsburgh Steelers' Off-Field Discretions Will Affect Them in 2011
Let's get this out of the way: The Steelers is a fantastic organization, led by a fantastic owner in Dan Rooney. They've won six of eight Super Bowls they have appeared in. They own a 33-20 playoff record and, to boot, their regular season record is 541-499-20, which is pretty darn good.
In 2010, they have started to have off-field problems starting with their franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger being accused of rape in 2010, and the Lake Tahoe incident in 2009. Roethlisberger embarrassed the franchise and was suspended four games in 2010 of him being accused of rape.
Recently, these off-field problems cropped up once again. It popped up in the form of Rashard Mendenhall's tweets about bin Laden's death and then with Hines Ward's DUI arrest, and finally now James Harrison's controversial comments in Men's Journal.
How will these problems affect their on-field performance this upcoming season and how will the team respond to these problems? Find out by reading the rest of the slideshow!
It Will Divide the Locker Room Once More
If the Steelers locker room wasn't divided over Roethlisberger's discretions last season, how in the world are they going to deal with Harrison's disparaging and disrespecting comments about his teammates in Roethlisberger and Mendenhall? It will spread apart the locker room even further and cause trouble within the team.
Also, what about Mendenhall's controversial comments of bin Laden's death? Mendenhall questioned the right of celebrating bin Laden's death. Mendenhall, in my opinion, disrespected the men who fight over in the Middle East and, might I add, America's patriotism.
As for Hines Ward, how he can look in the Rooneys' eyes and ever be looked at as a role model ever again? The DUI arrest tarnished his good, clean image.
It Is Tarnishing the Good Image of the Steelers
The Steelers in the past, stood for an organization that stood against off-field problems (ex. Bam Morris). However, one by one, their image is being tarnished by the recent off-field problems of Ward, Harrison, Roethlisberger and Mendenhall. In order for the Steelers to rebuild their brand image, they have to be tougher on players, which brings me to my next slide.
Art Rooney Must Be Tougher on Players
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Art Rooney is known as the most successful owner in the league due to the Steelers' on-field success and superb drafting. As of late, Rooney faces his biggest challenge yet this upcoming season. Rooney needs to crack down harder on these players, and be more disciplined in his approach. Time will well if Rooney will impose fines or just give warnings to players who do commit problems off the field.
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Whether you like it or not, Hines Ward is the most respected player in the league and is well-liked by his teammates. However, his DUI arrest does tarnish his reputation as a role model and person to be looked up to. His teammates may not hate him for his actions this season, but it will certainly linger in their minds as the season goes on.
Third Time's a Charm? Another Down Season After a Superbowl?
After reaching the Super Bowl in 2006 and 2008, the Steelers next season missed the playoffs twice. Coincidence? I think not. It could definitely happen again as the Steelers are once again facing all of these off-field problems. Also, history is not on the Steelers' side as many teams that have reached or won the Super Bowl either missed the playoffs or lost in the first round. If it does happen, do not count me surprised at all.