The Pittsburgh Steelers have been "my" team since I was a child growing up in Utah, a state with no game. Through the years the one thing I have come to admire most about the team is their integrity and professionalism. The Rooney family understand the strength of character and decorum. Their players make news for their results on the field, not their embarrassments off the field. Yet over the last few seasons, despite their winning ways, the face of the franchise, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, has been on the wrong side of the press too many times.
He had his motorcycle mishap a few seasons back, then his Las Vegas rape accusation, and now this mess in Georgia. Granted he is innocent until proven guilty, but just the fact that he keeps finding himself in murky waters casts dispersions on his image and character. This of course impacts the team as well, and the Rooney family is not happy. I believe the term floating around the press this week is "livid."
The team did not hesitate to throw away former Superbowl MVP receiver Santonio Holmes for what amounts to a special teams price tag, and I don't think the team will flinch too badly at letting go of a two time Superbowl winning quarterback. Football is a game and it's worth rebuilding around young Dennis Dixon, even if a temporary replacement is brought in. Integrity is not a game, and it's not something you simply put on and take off.
They say, where there's smoke there's fire. So whether you believe the accusations against Big Ben or not, one must certainly question if there isn't some element of truth in these allegations or at the very least incredibly poor judgment on Roethlisberger's part. That makes Ben more suited to a Jerry Jones franchise than the Rooney family.
As much as the loss of Holmes and possibly Roethlisberger hurt the team initially, as a father and as a fan, I applaud the Rooney's for doing the right thing in taking a firm stance.
Now, off the soapbox for a moment to discuss the fantasy impact of a Roethlisberger trade.
There aren't many teams out there that wouldn't love to get Ben on their offense. On the field he is a solid leader and top 10 QB threat. He will still be fantasy viable on almost any team, but until we see where he goes (assuming he does), it's hard to assess the impact outside of Pittsburgh.
Team's that could really use Ben include; Minnesota, Jacksonville, St. Louis, Oakland, Carolina, Arizona, Seattle, Cleveland, and Denver. Certainly the list is longer than this. Roethlisberger to Arizona seems a particularly ideal scenario, reuniting him with Russ Grimm and Ken Whisenhunt. Cause in the desert they don't remember your name. They just live for the one who can win them the game. Okay I bastardized the song for the sake of poetic artistry. Deal with it.
I could see Ben going to another team for a 1st round pick and a veteran QB who could take the reins for a year while Dennis Dixon gets better prepared. Or simply a first rounder packaged with something else. The scenarios are endless.
The fantasy value of the other Steelers would in great part be impacted by what or who the Rooneys receive in return.
Read Ray Tannock's take on the Big Ben situation here.
What about you KNUCKLEHEAD KNATION? Should he stay or should he go? What trade scenarios seem likely to you? Sound off!