The League

Doug Farrar
Writer

Doug Farrar

A FootballOutsiders.com staff writer

Wrong kind of excitement

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The ongoing Ben Roethlisberger saga underlines what has been true for a very long time in the National Football League: Your quarterback is your most important player, and the fortunes of your team will rise and fall just as his will.

Consider what Roethlisberger's alleged dalliances with a very dark side may have done to the lives of one or more victims, what they could do to his life, and tangentially, what they could do to the team that signed him to an eight-year, 102-million contract in 2008. From that time forward, the Steelers have turned from a run-heavy, fundamentals-first team to a squad that's as prone to airing it out as any in the NFL. Now, and specifically because of Roethlisberger's skill set, it's a team with far more shotgun and much less smashmouth.

So what happens if any of this is true? What happens if it's not true, but Roethlisberger's seeming insistence on situations that harm his future eventually puts him in a bad place he finds inescapable? Setting aside the obvious legal, civil, and ethical concerns for the purposes of this particular discussion, what happens to a team that has built itself around a quarterback, based on its supreme belief in his abilities and its framing everything from a playbook perspective around him?

You need look no further than the 2007 Atlanta Falcons, after police found dogs and dogfighting equipment at Michael Vick's home. The Falcons had staked their future on Vick, and he repaid them with the worst possible judgment. By rights, the Falcons should have been decimated for years. One of the reasons they weren't was the selection of quarterback Matt Ryan -- an utterly dependable, reliable, consistent player with a determination to succeed that his coaches sensed right away. I don't know that the Steelers would have had any reason to be concerned about Roethlisberger before they drafted him; sometimes, players don't let the dark side show until a couple of Super Bowl rings make them feel invincible.

But would I want him on my team now? Absolutely not. I don't want the boom and bust of Roethlisberger. I don't want the question marks of a Tim Tebow. I don't want the "thrill-and-kill" of a Michael Vick. Give me the obsessive, phlegmatic, comparatively boring guys like Manning, Brady, and Ryan, and I'll take that deal every time. If I'm giving $100 million to one player, I would like to take risk out of the equation as much as possible.

By Doug Farrar  |  March 12, 2010; 12:00 AM ET  | Category:  Ben Roethlisberger , Doug Farrar , NFL , Pittsburgh Steelers , Roger Goodell Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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I HOPE SOMEBODY GOES AND PROTEST Ben Roethlisberger FOR RAPING WOMEN LIKE HE'S Pepe Le Pew!!!!! and Mark McGuire too sense you missed heckling him because he left before you found out. If Ben can play then Adam “Pacman” Jones can to. They gave pacman an “Outside the Lines” report but Floyd Landis an Ben get a line across the screen. Look at the leader of 2 Superbowls for the Steeler taking Pu$$$y but Nancy Grace comes out for Tiger Woods, Chris Brown, Kobe, Vick and even Charles Barkley but no Roethlisberger media monster to feed!! Where is Roger Clemens’ “Game of Shadows”. You haters are funny like that. The media monster is chasing Glenn Beck’s viewers and rating. I see now. Bottom line is that if Ben can be the face of a franchise then I think Adam “Pacman” Jones can play and Vick hurt dogs but Ben rapes women!!!!!!

Posted by: gokusc1 | March 12, 2010 3:21 AM

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