Many non-Steelers fans (concentrated mostly in Cleveland, Baltimore and Cincinnati) have long believed that the NFL gives a free-pass to the warriors from the Steel City. However, it was the recent suspension of Ben Roethlisberger and fining of James Harrison that had Steelers partisans screaming foul.
Moe’s Sports Talk sat down with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to find out his plans to rig the season and hand the Steelers a Stairway to Seventh Superbowl trophy.
MST: Good evening Commissioner and thanks for joining us. Please explain your rationale for the fines and suspensions and how it fits in with the NFL’s favoritism of Pittsburgh.
Goodell: Part of it is to light a fire under the team.
MST: Light? Fire? A? Please, go on.
Goodell: Well, you have to remember that some of the Steelers’ most critical personalities are from Ohio. As such, they lack the proper moral compass needed to contribute both on the field and to be good citizens off the field unless properly channeled.
MST: You mean Ben Roethlisberger and James Harrison?
Goodell: Right. By suspending Ben, even though he’d never been charged with a crime, we sent a clear message that he at least needed to act like a human being in order to lead the Black and Gold.
MST: But you could have derailed the entire season if the defense and run game hadn’t carried the team during his 4-6 game suspension.
Goodell: We were pretty confident that it would be a 4-game suspension. And its effect wasn’t solely targeted at changing Ben.
Consider the the case of offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, whose previous OC job was with the Cleveland Browns. Naturally, three years in Cleveland can corrupt and break down any individual. By suspending Ben and taking away the Steelers’ best offensive weapon, we helped Arians’ rehab along.
The Steelers started to re-emphasise the rub. This also forced players such as Maurkice Pouncey, Mike Wallace and Rashard Mendenhall to step up, possibly earlier than they might have with a “Big Ben” character running roughshod over the team.
MST: Brilliant, commissioner. We’ll he back with the second part of our interview with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after this short break…