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    Default Steelers must weather fans' storm

    Steelers must weather fans' storm
    Thursday, April 29, 2010
    By Gene Collier, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    [HIGH-LIGHT]So now, 24 hours from minicamp and 12 weeks from maxicamp, we have what they call in the NFL some measurables.[/HIGH-LIGHT]

    The suspension of Ben Roethlisberger is six weeks (adjustable), the statement of Ben Roethlisberger regarding the suspension was eight sentences, the number of Steelers with a chance of starting a game at quarterback this season is four, and the dew point is about 29.

    Let's keep this to meteorology for the moment.

    The relevant question for the Pittsburgh franchise on this, Day 56 of Retreat From Milledgeville, is perhaps best cast in figurative meteorological terms: How long can you stand in the rain?

    The Roethlisberger issue, even as it has achieved some administrative plateau of resolution, remains a steady rain on the image of the franchise, the city, and, again, if you must, all of Steelers Nation.

    [IMGL]http://i40.tinypic.com/25juz9u.jpg[/IMGL]Big Bad Ben is an issue as minicamp opens, because he is not there. He'll be an issue when training camp opens, because he is there. He'll be an issue when the season opens, because he won't be there again. And, if and when he finally pulls on a No. 7 for a football game The Nation really cares about -- sometime in late October, then you'll see an issue erupt reliably into a circus.

    That's what the Steelers bought with their decision to retain and rehabilitate the quarterback rather than trade out from under him in the days leading up to the draft. You can likely attribute that to a stunning lack of interest from every corner of the NFL in loading Ben's baggage. Art Rooney II, as I've mentioned, is in a much better position to have made that call than I, and what follows does not say he's wrong, only that there's a price for everything.

    In the case of our working metaphor, you go stand in the rain for six months, minimum.

    That's if nothing else happens.

    Then there's the larger climatology.

    "At the time we were collecting data, the Steelers were in the Super Bowl," said Adam Earnheardt, the Youngstown State communications prof whose books on fan reaction to athletes' behavior are based on his doctoral thesis. "We asked people to select their favorite athlete, and a big number selected Big Ben. They were also identifying what they thought to be horrendous behaviors as opposed to relatively minor charges, like being pulled over for speeding vs. killing someone or sexual assault. What we found was that even if someone identified themselves as a big fan of a particular athlete, they weren't willing to overlook those crimes. They were still judging those behaviors as very bad."

    But, in this area of research, it represented something of a shift.

    "We didn't expect to find that," Earnheardt said. "Because in the case of Kobe Bryant [accused of rape by a Colorado hotel employee in 2003], there was a huge Kobe following in and around Los Angeles who were convinced there was no way Kobe would do that even after he admitted [an adulterous sexual encounter]. Now people are saying they're hanging up their Roethlisberger jerseys. That's alarming."

    For the record, Earnheardt thinks the Steelers were right to keep No. 7 and that time will heal all, but it's true that certain precincts have reported boxing up their Ben gear and mailing it to Steelers headquarters.

    Problem is, the thing goes a lot deeper than laundry.

    Karen LeMasters, whose marketing doctorate is from Pitt's Katz Graduate School, told me yesterday the club is gambling, albeit with some surplus, of what analysts call differential advantage.

    "When organizations lose their differential advantage, they submit themselves to the vagaries of the marketplace [and] that arena is cold and unforgiving," LeMasters said. "The Steelers risk being viewed as just another business, primarily interested in making money with players who are rich and entitled. How long would it take an average fan to earn what Ben is 'sacrificing' during his suspension? The Rooneys have such a valuable differential advantage in their image and practice of integrity. The best companies take short-term hits to the bottom line, get out the message frequently and clearly that they have put the customer first and rebuild their brand in the long term.

    "I agree that Ben needs to go."

    Long-term considerations, as I've mentioned, would include the prospect of an indeterminate period of competitive mediocrity or sub-mediocrity. What keeping No. 7 will mean long term to certain demographics within the fan base, the relatively immense female contingent, and the less established 30-and-under chapter, isn't terribly promising, either.

    "Young people are in many ways more tolerant than their elders when it comes to social issues such as gay rights," said LeMasters. "Most say that people have the right to be happy and make choices that are good for them. However, they are much more conservative in how they view personal codes of conduct. Their reaction to the Tiger [Woods] ad was most pronounced when they talked about how he had hurt those closest to him. People under 30 have come of age in an era of impersonal consumerism, and they want to maintain strong personal values that will protect them from the hype and dishonesty of the marketplace."

    Overall then, chance of showers 100 percent, with no relief in sight.

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10119/1054172-150.stm
    "You only have one life, and you will not get out alive. Make the most of your time and have no regrets." - Me.

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    Default Re: Steelers must weather fans' storm

    thanks once again for the post

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    Default Re: Steelers must weather fans' storm

    They'll be fine. This is all just bull**** anyway.

    No offense NKY, you're just the purveyor of information.

    Our biggest problems are what they were at the end of last season - d-backs, O-line and special teams. We got that brandy new ST coach so all should be solved there, right? B-mac is back, Troy should be also and we got that stud C.

    The only thing we need to be worried about right now are the bungles, rats and stains.

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    Default Re: Steelers must weather fans' storm

    There is going to be a certain level of antipathy from some folks and those people are within their rights to draw what conclusions they might. I'm still operating in a (hopefully) neuitral/balanced environment in the absence of impirical data to sway me one way or t'other.

    Decisions have been made and edicts handed down. We're post draft and headed to the training camp season. Next up: the Who-gets-cut Tango!

    I'm glad I don't live or work outside the PGH area. The amount of crap from outside that's filtered in this last year has been tough.

    Now howzabout we get back to some football and reassert ourselves on the field. Punch faces, take numbers and then wipe our arses with the list of said numbers. Dang, these off-seasons are long!
    'I want rustlers, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ***-kickers, ****-kickers and Methodists.'

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    Default Re: Steelers must weather fans' storm

    Quote Originally Posted by Sweetchuck View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    No offense NKY, you're just the [HIGH-LIGHT]purveyor[/HIGH-LIGHT] of information.
    Hey, don't call me names.... I didn't know she wasn't 18........
    "You only have one life, and you will not get out alive. Make the most of your time and have no regrets." - Me.

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    Default Re: Steelers must weather fans' storm

    Quote Originally Posted by NKySteeler View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    Hey, don't call me names.... I didn't know she wasn't 18........
    [HIGH-LIGHT][/HIGH-LIGHT]

    "C'mon, the last time she saw 18, it was on the front of a bus!" - Not my most subtle line, but the last time I used it, I turned out to be right.

    Same night as I warned another of my buddies that he was in fact sucking out the tonsils of another bloke.
    'I want rustlers, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ***-kickers, ****-kickers and Methodists.'

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