OPINION: Dunlap: Stop Being Spoiled Steelers fans


Some of you are spoiled. Yep, totally spoiled as sports fans here in Pittsburgh.

Know what might be the biggest problem? You don’t realize it.

You are patently naive to it.

Or, well, you don’t even have a clue what spoiled is.

You see, I have run into a bit of resistance from some as I have made up my mind on one thing — the Pittsburgh Steelers would be better for it if legendary quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would retire right now. If he can’t do that on his own, the organization should release him.

For me, it’s simple: Roethlisberger cannot perform up to the level of his lofty salary.

You should know all the financial stuff by now …

He’s set to earn $19M next season – the sum of his base salary and roster bonus.

His cap charge will be a whopping $41.25M.

If Roethlisberger is to retire --- or the Steelers cut him --- before a salary bonus is to be paid in March, the organization would save $19M in salary cap space that one can logically deduce they’d spend on either free agents who were with the team last season or ones who were in other organizations.

I’m just not seeing a way Roethlisberger is worth all this money considering the way his play dropped off after 11 games this season.

And also considering that he’s getting older.

And also considering the four interceptions in the playoff game against Cleveland.

And also considering that surgically-repaired elbow isn’t going to suddenly heal up and allow him to throw the deep ball with rocket-like velocity or capable precision.

So here we are.

He either walks or you tell him to walk. Doing so doesn’t at all minimize the way I feel about all he’s accomplished; I’ve just come to a reality the line is at the end.

Now to the part about being spoiled …

So many of you have relayed to me that you are unwilling to part with Roethlisberger.

Why? So the Steelers can go 10-6? So they can meddle in the middle?

Maybe eek out 11 wins?

Almost certainly fall in that 8-12 win threshold, perhaps win a singular playoff game and then get bounced.

I mean, that’s their apex ---- and that might even be a stretch ---- right now with Big Ben at quarterback. 
He won’t get under center and run play action.

He can’t throw on the run or run anything where he has to boot out.

He cannot hit on the deep ball the way he used to.

I’m not making any of this up. I have eyes. I see the games.

But so many of you are afraid to push on advance to someone else --- perhaps Mason Rudolph --- at the risk it might lead to a 6-10 season or something of the such.

I ask you, wasn’t it because of a 6-10 season that Roethlisberger ended up in Pittsburgh? You know the answer just as much as I do.

Sports are cyclical. Floating along in the abyss of purgatory is going to get this franchise nowhere. 
That’s why he has to go.

And you need to stop being spoiled.

If you play Rudolph, he might turn out to be the quarterback of the future --- and do it at a much cheaper rate.

But guess what? He might also stink. Such a proposition wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, either. You could move on from him, have a real pick in the first round of the draft and hope to take your next generational quarterback.

Stop being spoiled.

Understand that just about every franchise in the NFL goes through a rough time. The great ones simply extract themselves quicker than the bad franchises.

I’m not saying the Steelers should put themselves in a bad way on purpose, but I am saying Roethlisberger isn’t leading this team to another Super Bowl ---- so it is time to start the rebuild. Especially for the money Big Ben is asking.

You are spoiled if you thought Ben was going to play at a high level forever and even more spoiled if you thought the Steelers were going to win forever. ​

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