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fordfixer
04-29-2010, 12:50 AM
Steelers must weather fans' storm
Thursday, April 29, 2010
By Gene Collier, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10119/1054172-66.stm

So now, 24 hours from minicamp and 12 weeks from maxicamp, we have what they call in the NFL some measurables.

The suspension of Ben Roethlisberger is six weeks (adjustable), the statement of Ben Roethlisberger regarding the suspension was eight sentences, the number of Steelers with a chance of starting a game at quarterback this season is four, and the dew point is about 29.

Let's keep this to meteorology for the moment.

The relevant question for the Pittsburgh franchise on this, Day 56 of Retreat From Milledgeville, is perhaps best cast in figurative meteorological terms: How long can you stand in the rain?

The Roethlisberger issue, even as it has achieved some administrative plateau of resolution, remains a steady rain on the image of the franchise, the city, and, again, if you must, all of Steelers Nation.

Big Bad Ben is an issue as minicamp opens, because he is not there. He'll be an issue when training camp opens, because he is there. He'll be an issue when the season opens, because he won't be there again. And, if and when he finally pulls on a No. 7 for a football game The Nation really cares about -- sometime in late October, then you'll see an issue erupt reliably into a circus.

That's what the Steelers bought with their decision to retain and rehabilitate the quarterback rather than trade out from under him in the days leading up to the draft. You can likely attribute that to a stunning lack of interest from every corner of the NFL in loading Ben's baggage. Art Rooney II, as I've mentioned, is in a much better position to have made that call than I, and what follows does not say he's wrong, only that there's a price for everything.

In the case of our working metaphor, you go stand in the rain for six months, minimum.

That's if nothing else happens.

Then there's the larger climatology.

"At the time we were collecting data, the Steelers were in the Super Bowl," said Adam Earnheardt, the Youngstown State communications prof whose books on fan reaction to athletes' behavior are based on his doctoral thesis. "We asked people to select their favorite athlete, and a big number selected Big Ben. They were also identifying what they thought to be horrendous behaviors as opposed to relatively minor charges, like being pulled over for speeding vs. killing someone or sexual assault. What we found was that even if someone identified themselves as a big fan of a particular athlete, they weren't willing to overlook those crimes. They were still judging those behaviors as very bad."

But, in this area of research, it represented something of a shift.

"We didn't expect to find that," Earnheardt said. "Because in the case of Kobe Bryant [accused of rape by a Colorado hotel employee in 2003], there was a huge Kobe following in and around Los Angeles who were convinced there was no way Kobe would do that even after he admitted [an adulterous sexual encounter]. Now people are saying they're hanging up their Roethlisberger jerseys. That's alarming."

For the record, Earnheardt thinks the Steelers were right to keep No. 7 and that time will heal all, but it's true that certain precincts have reported boxing up their Ben gear and mailing it to Steelers headquarters.

Problem is, the thing goes a lot deeper than laundry.

Karen LeMasters, whose marketing doctorate is from Pitt's Katz Graduate School, told me yesterday the club is gambling, albeit with some surplus, of what analysts call differential advantage.

"When organizations lose their differential advantage, they submit themselves to the vagaries of the marketplace [and] that arena is cold and unforgiving," LeMasters said. "The Steelers risk being viewed as just another business, primarily interested in making money with players who are rich and entitled. How long would it take an average fan to earn what Ben is 'sacrificing' during his suspension? The Rooneys have such a valuable differential advantage in their image and practice of integrity. The best companies take short-term hits to the bottom line, get out the message frequently and clearly that they have put the customer first and rebuild their brand in the long term.

"I agree that Ben needs to go."

Long-term considerations, as I've mentioned, would include the prospect of an indeterminate period of competitive mediocrity or sub-mediocrity. What keeping No. 7 will mean long term to certain demographics within the fan base, the relatively immense female contingent, and the less established 30-and-under chapter, isn't terribly promising, either.

"Young people are in many ways more tolerant than their elders when it comes to social issues such as gay rights," said LeMasters. "Most say that people have the right to be happy and make choices that are good for them. However, they are much more conservative in how they view personal codes of conduct. Their reaction to the Tiger [Woods] ad was most pronounced when they talked about how he had hurt those closest to him. People under 30 have come of age in an era of impersonal consumerism, and they want to maintain strong personal values that will protect them from the hype and dishonesty of the marketplace."

Overall then, chance of showers 100 percent, with no relief in sight.
Gene Collier: gcollier@post-gazette.com.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10119/10 ... z0mSh1Tun9 (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10119/1054172-66.stm#ixzz0mSh1Tun9)

Shawn
04-29-2010, 10:47 AM
As much as this is a business...fans are inherently fickle. They might not forget but when Ben comes back, stays out of trouble, pats kiddies on the head, stays humble and wins games fans will come back around. Because, as much as we want our organization to be "different" they want them to win more. Some of you might disagree but wear a Browns jersey for a decade and get back with me on that.

JUST-PLAIN-NASTY
04-29-2010, 11:01 AM
Eminemís song lyrics include, "I'd rather turn this club into a bar room brawl. Get as rowdy as Roethlisberger in a bathroom stall."


Expect stuff like this for awhile. It will get worse before it gets better.

Oviedo
04-29-2010, 11:03 AM
As much as this is a business...fans are inherently fickle. They might not forget but when Ben comes back, stays out of trouble, pats kiddies on the head, stays humble and wins games fans will come back around. Because, as much as we want our organization to be "different" they want them to win more. Some of you might disagree but wear a Browns jersey for a decade and get back with me on that.

:Agree

The fans who have jumped on the anti-Ben media lynching bandwagon will jump off just as quick when we go to our next Super Bowl.

It took 25 years to replace Bradshaw with Ben. I prefer to give Ben a chance at redemption than shoot ourselves in the foot and dump Ben because of the perception of the organization by media and other fans who don't like the Steelers anyway. They would like nothing more than to see the team dump Ben and the Steelers become the Steelers of the 1980s all over again. What would that accomplish?

SteelerNation1
04-29-2010, 11:09 AM
As much as this is a business...fans are inherently fickle. They might not forget but when Ben comes back, stays out of trouble, pats kiddies on the head, stays humble and wins games fans will come back around. Because, as much as we want our organization to be "different" they want them to win more. Some of you might disagree but wear a Browns jersey for a decade and get back with me on that.

:Agree

The fans who have jumped on the anti-Ben media lynching bandwagon will jump off just as quick when we go to our next Super Bowl.

It took 25 years to replace Bradshaw with Ben. I prefer to give Ben a chance at redemption than shoot ourselves in the foot and dump Ben because of the perception of the organization by media and other fans who don't like the Steelers anyway. They would like nothing more than to see the team dump Ben and the Steelers become the Steelers of the 1980s all over again. What would that accomplish?
Lived the 80's in Ohio as an elementary schooler/middle schooler. NOT FUN!

flippy
04-29-2010, 01:36 PM
Has anyone on here sent your Ben jersey back to the Steelers?

Seriously, cmon. Ben hasn't been charged with anything.

And this article paints Pittsburghers as judgemental.

Bad article imho.

Shawn
04-29-2010, 02:16 PM
Has anyone on here sent your Ben jersey back to the Steelers?

Seriously, cmon. Ben hasn't been charged with anything.

And this article paints Pittsburghers as judgemental.

Bad article imho.

I have an autographed pic of Ben hung above my couch in the man room. I haven't even thought about moving it. I agree terrible article.

Oviedo
04-29-2010, 03:13 PM
As much as this is a business...fans are inherently fickle. They might not forget but when Ben comes back, stays out of trouble, pats kiddies on the head, stays humble and wins games fans will come back around. Because, as much as we want our organization to be "different" they want them to win more. Some of you might disagree but wear a Browns jersey for a decade and get back with me on that.

:Agree

The fans who have jumped on the anti-Ben media lynching bandwagon will jump off just as quick when we go to our next Super Bowl.

It took 25 years to replace Bradshaw with Ben. I prefer to give Ben a chance at redemption than shoot ourselves in the foot and dump Ben because of the perception of the organization by media and other fans who don't like the Steelers anyway. They would like nothing more than to see the team dump Ben and the Steelers become the Steelers of the 1980s all over again. What would that accomplish?
Lived the 80's in Ohio as an elementary schooler/middle schooler. NOT FUN!

Lived in the 80s as a consenting adult and it was even worse. :wink: Fortunately I was in Germany for 3+ years patroling the East-West german border and didn't have it in my face every week.

AngryAsian
04-29-2010, 04:21 PM
Playing devil's advocate here..... What happens if the only apex we reach is the AFCCG?

BURGH86STEEL
04-29-2010, 04:45 PM
Playing devil's advocate here..... What happens if the only apex we reach is the AFCCG?

What we believe today is that this team is a contender to reach the SB. Been that way for most of the Cowher era and into the Tomlin era. There is a good chance the playoffs is all this team may achieve for the foreseeable future. So many things have to go right for teams that win SB's.

I can live with it if they achieve less. I guess I can live with it because I've live through a lot of successful seasons as a Steelers fan. SB wins are not all that matter to me. I watch the game for many reasons. I look for signs of improvement when things are not going as well as expected. I believe those successes can be built upon. I've live with that philosophy since Cowher became the HC. He helped to put a lot of things into perspective for us as a fans.

hawaiiansteel
04-29-2010, 04:46 PM
Playing devil's advocate here..... What happens if the only apex we reach is the AFCCG?



we should be ok then, Cowher's not our head coach anymore...

BURGH86STEEL
04-29-2010, 04:52 PM
Playing devil's advocate here..... What happens if the only apex we reach is the AFCCG?



we should be ok then, Cowher's not our head coach anymore...

It could/can always be worse. Could of been the Browns, Lions, or Raiders during that time. Can always morph into one of those teams in the future. Should never take success for granted.

I wonder how many people would be Steelers fans today if not for the successes Cowher helped this organization to achieve? Why try to diminish what he helped the organization accomplish?

I always say that disappointment clouds people's judgement. This is where a lot of fans stand with Cowher.

hawaiiansteel
04-29-2010, 05:06 PM
Playing devil's advocate here..... What happens if the only apex we reach is the AFCCG?



we should be ok then, Cowher's not our head coach anymore...

It could/can always be worse. Could of been the Browns, Lions, or Raiders during that time. Can always morph into one of those teams in the future. Should never take success for granted.

I wonder how many people would be Steelers fans today if not for the successes Cowher helped this organization to achieve? Why try to diminish what he helped the organization accomplish?

I always say that disappointment clouds people's judgement. This is where a lot of fans stand with Cowher.


i'm not diminishing Bill Cowher's accomplishments, i was just refering to his 2-4 record in AFC Championship Games.

cruzer8
04-29-2010, 05:39 PM
Playing devil's advocate here..... What happens if the only apex we reach is the AFCCG?



we should be ok then, Cowher's not our head coach anymore...

It could/can always be worse. Could of been the Browns, Lions, or Raiders during that time. Can always morph into one of those teams in the future. Should never take success for granted.

I wonder how many people would be Steelers fans today if not for the successes Cowher helped this organization to achieve? Why try to diminish what he helped the organization accomplish?

I always say that disappointment clouds people's judgement. This is where a lot of fans stand with Cowher.

Why haven't you expressed that in any of the numerous threads about Ben?

BURGH86STEEL
04-29-2010, 06:17 PM
Playing devil's advocate here..... What happens if the only apex we reach is the AFCCG?



we should be ok then, Cowher's not our head coach anymore...

It could/can always be worse. Could of been the Browns, Lions, or Raiders during that time. Can always morph into one of those teams in the future. Should never take success for granted.

I wonder how many people would be Steelers fans today if not for the successes Cowher helped this organization to achieve? Why try to diminish what he helped the organization accomplish?

I always say that disappointment clouds people's judgement. This is where a lot of fans stand with Cowher.

Why haven't you expressed that in any of the numerous threads about Ben?

That statement applies to some of the extremist out there. It is obvious that Ben did something wrong in the minds of many people. He was not guilty in the court of law. He was guilty in the court of public opinion, the NFL, and the organization. You can disagree if you like but the fact that he is being suspended speaks for itself. He is accepted responsibility and punishment for whatever the organization and NFL felt he did wrong. I hope he turns into a better person as a result.

Steel Life
04-29-2010, 06:40 PM
It's not a forgone conclusion that Ben will never reclaim his stature with the fans, there's a good chance that Ben turns it around & becomes a model citizen & beloved player again - just like Ray Lewis did.

A Super Bowl win - or two :wink: - would go a long way to reclaiming things, but it would be fine to be a constant contender & continue to put up numbers worthy of an elite QB. Then guys like this will be writing about the return to glory for Ben & how they were on his side the whole time.

BURGH86STEEL
04-29-2010, 08:32 PM
It's not a forgone conclusion that Ben will never reclaim his stature with the fans, there's a good chance that Ben turns it around & becomes a model citizen & beloved player again - just like Ray Lewis did.

A Super Bowl win - or two :wink: - would go a long way to reclaiming things, but it would be fine to be a constant contender & continue to put up numbers worthy of an elite QB. Then guys like this will be writing about the return to glory for Ben & how they were on his side the whole time.

Ben has a very good chance to turn things around. I'd say a better chance then most. He has a good organization in his corner. He always came across like a level headed, genuine, and intelligent individual. I will be pulling for him to succeed off the field. His success off the field could turn him into a better player on the field.

HeHateMe
05-01-2010, 02:29 AM
If Leftwich starts off hot and we are successful we might see a Tom Brady/Drew Bledsoe scenario where Tomlin stays with Leftwich. If Leftwich takes us to a SB win would you accept it or will it be bittersweet because Ben didnt lead us there?