In many ways, today marks the beginning of the 2014 football season as the first day of training camp. From here on out, there are no extended breaks from football, such as the one we’re just crawling out of, until February, after a new champion is crowned.
Today also marks another successful offseason for the Pittsburgh Steelers. And by that I mean that nobody on the team has gotten themselves into any major trouble during their down time, as many other teams are now dealing with.
Sure, there was the nightclub situation surrounding Maurkice Pouncey during his birthday celebration, but until evidence to the contrary emerges, that whole story was much ado about nothing from an attention seeker.
The only storyline about the former All-Pro center that’s relevant to the front office now is that he’s ready to resume his starting spot.
You could even flag Ike Taylor, if you really feel the need to dig deep for some type of Steelers controversy, after he admitted within the last few weeks that he wasn’t happy about being asked to take a multi-million-dollar pay cut to stay with the team.
If you’re truly desperate, you could even talk about the contract situations of Jason Worilds and Ben Roethlisberger.
The latter situation has been made an especially big deal of from certain corners of the football news world, even though the franchise quarterback has repeatedly stated that his roots are in Pittsburgh as a husband and a father. That, and the fact that he still has two years left on his contract anyway.
All three of these narratives were but blips on the radar, even false readings at that. In terms of tangible negative publicity, the Steelers have had a blissfully quiet offseason.
Indeed, if anything, the past few months have been rather kind to the Steelers, as everybody has stayed healthy and progressed. There has been quite a bit of positivity both coming from and directed at the team from the media.
The main narratives about Pittsburgh this year are about how they’ve injected youth and speed into their “old and slow” defense, and how they are gearing up to get back to becoming a powerhouse team running the football, about which even the quarterback is on board.
I’m sure the front office is relishing the relative silence from the naysayers over the past few months and quietly counting their blessings that the phones haven’t been ringing from local law enforcements around the country in areas containing Steelers players.
Just a quick look around the division will key you in to just how valuable a commodity it could be, with both the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns being forced to deal with their players receiving suspensions for incidents stemming from their down time. Perhaps the most compelling motivation in making football a year-round business is simply to keep the athletes out of trouble.