This offseason has really introduced us to Schrodinger’s Steelers. We don’t know if they’re contenders or not because we can’t open up the box and see if Ben Roethlisberger’s arm is alive or dead. It won’t be until training camp at the earliest before we can really get a sense of what he is going to look like for the 2020 season, no matter what his teammates who have practiced with him have said.
This has become the dominant conversation around the Steelers whenever they are the subject of a national sports talk show, and to be quite honest it’s all becoming cyclical. Good Morning Football discussed just this topic yesterday. Dave Bryan already highlighted the admittedly dubious take of Michael Robinson, who dove into the Roethlisberger lack of leadership conspiracy theories, but the general tone of everyone on the panel was one of waiting to see.
“Here’s what I know”, said another panelist. “They don’t go three years without making the playoffs. It hasn’t happened in 20 years that the Pittsburgh Steelers are sitting out three seasons in a row, and it’s fascinating. This is going to carry into the year”.
“I think we might be sleeping on the @Steelers.” 👀
Will Pittsburgh be in the mix of AFC contenders in 2020?
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) June 23, 2020
He talked about how so much of their schedule in the first half of the season is pretty quiet, with early kickoffs and a lack of marquee matchups, so that people are not going to be talking about them unless they’re rattling off wins. They have a chance to sneak up on people.
Added Pete Schrager, “do I put them in that conversation with the Chiefs right now? No, because I haven’t seen that version of the Steelers in three years. They were close two years ago”, he said, “but if they win that game in New Orleans, they’re likely a playoff team”.
He continued to question the quarterback position, saying, “I want to wait and see what version of Ben Roethlisberger we get…what am I getting from Ben Roethlisberger, because if you’re telling me it’s Mason Rudolph and Duck Hodges, I can’t pick the Steelers to go to the playoffs and contend with the Chiefs and the Ravens”.
But if they do have “vintage Ben Roethlisberger”, he said, them “yeah, of course” they’re contenders.
Unfortunately we have at least another month or two of this kind of talk. We’ve already exhausted just about every avenue of conversation that we can have at this point without injecting new information into the equation.