Drama in Pittsburgh Could Significantly Shrink Steelers Championship Window
It wasn’t too long ago that the Pittsburgh Steelers and their “Killer B’s”, made up perennial pro bowlers in quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, receiver Antonio Brown and running back Le’Veon Bell possessed the most explosive and dangerous not just in the AFC but the entire league.
Nowadays all that comes out of Pittsburgh, Penn. Is pertaining to all of the dysfunction surrounding not just the team as a whole, but specifically in reference to their offensive stalwarts. A team that was once predicated on a strong defensive backbone and a singular mission to bring more Lombardi trophies to the blue-collar city and region has now become a circus of egos and personal agendas
Whether it is Bell’s continued contract disputes with the team that have gone a little too public for the liking of many fans and league executives, Big Ben flashing his figurative “leadership badge” and throwing his teammates under the bus for some of the team’s shortcomings through the media or AB’s vehement request for a trade after practice squabbles, it all spells the ending of what was once a promising team destined to contend and even win a Superbowl.
The quarterback that was once upon a time renown as a tough and rugged leader that would defend and go to bat for any of his teammates now defers to members of the media to air his grievances with his teammates performances and life decisions as well as the franchise’s decision to procure an insurance policy or succession plan via the draft.
The game-breaking receiver that is widely and arguably viewed as one of if not the top wideout in the game today and one of the hardest workers at his craft is now potentially on the cusp of being traded away from the organization of which he made his name in this league just two years into his 68 million dollar extension that he inked in February of 2017.
The generational running back that can be the No.1 back and the No.2 receiver on any team in the league is in jeopardy of getting slapped with the transition tag, that prohibits him from finally hitting the unrestricted free agent market after sitting out the entire 2018 season following a failure to come to terms with the organization last offseason.
Roethlisberger is third in career passing yards among active players, trailing only Tom Brady and Drew Brees, and led the league in passing yards this past season with 5,129 with 34 passing touchdowns. Bell holds nearly 10 franchise records for his position and Brown leads the league receptions in the last five years with 576 as well as top-five finishes in four of the last five seasons.
The Steelers have had a top five scoring offense in each of the seasons that the “Killer B’s” have been together dating back to the Bell’s rookie season since he is the youngest of the trio. Pittsburgh’s prolific triplets are in serious danger of breaking up the band with absolutely no hardware or even a Superbowl appearance. To squander that immense amount of offensive firepower with nothing to show for it besides sullied relationships and reputations would be a travesty.
In a recent interview on ESPN during the week leading up to Superbowl LIII (53) Steelers young second-year receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, who was voted team MVP as well as his first pro bowl last season, expressed sentiments that he would like to settle their differences internally and be less like the Kardashians.
While Pittsburgh still has the talents of Smith-Schuster and fellow second-year player and first time pro bowler in running back James Conner, who filled in more than admirably in Bell’s absence, to lean on and look forward to for the future of the franchise, it will still be a fact to face that the three B’s days together with the organization bared no fruit and will have amounted to nothing more than a few AFC North titles.
With the resurgence of the Cleveland Browns behind the swagger and leadership of quarterback Baker Mayfield and the emergence of the new age, Baltimore Ravens with their electrifying dual-threat quarterback in Lamar Jackson as division front runners after taking the crown last season, the Steelers championship window is starting to close rapidly.