While many Pittsburgh Steelers fans have begun to tune out this year and have accepted that the playoffs is a difficult ask, they have also turned their attentions to the 2020 season and what could be to come with Ben Roethlisberger returning to a defense that finally looks like the complement he’s lacked for the past decade.
And so, with the team able to go no worse than 8-6 without him, it would stand to reason that adding a Hall of Fame quarterback would only make them a Super Bowl contender, right? Not for Damien Woody, who weighed in on that topic on ESPN.
“We’re not talking about the Big Ben from a few years ago, the big, strong, mobile quarterback that could move outside the pocket and make all types of plays”, he said of Roethlisberger. “That’s not the quarterback that we’ve been seeing recently”.
That wasn’t the only reason for his pessimism about the Steelers’ Super Bowl aspirations for 2020, however, and in fact probably not even the main reason. “And I always point to [the fact that] everything starts within the division. Do you want me to tell you who’s in the division right now?”, he said.
“The league MVP in Lamar Jackson. We’ve seen what going from year one to year two for Lamar Jackson has looked like. I mean, you’re talking about an astronomical jump for him, and the way that Baltimore Ravens organization has built everything around his tremendous skill set”.
The Ravens, as you may have noticed, have gone 13-2 this season and have a meaningless Week 17 game to play because they’ve already secured homefield advantage in the playoffs. Jackson is setting records and Baltimore has one of the highest-scoring offenses in NFL history, while they’ve spiced up their defense along the way with the addition of Marcus Peters.
“Okay, get outside the division. You know who else you have to deal with?”, Woody asked. “You’ve got to deal with the Patriots, and you’ve got to deal with Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, all three of these quarterbacks that I’ve just mentioned, these guys are 25 year and under, so you’re talking about the face of the league right now within the AFC”.
“As much as we revere Big Ben for the play that he’s had throughout his whole career, it’s gonna be a tall order for Big Ben to come back next year and to think to dethrone Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens and Patrick Mahomes with the Kansas City Chiefs, he added. “That’s a tall order”.