As I said Sunday I didn’t understand the value we got and how fast we traded Santonio, I though there was something missing and I was truly disappointed. I didn’t buy the "message theory", the "best we can get of Santonio theory" and "No player is bigger than the team theory".
After thinking about it and seen everything that went down on Monday, I now understand that the Steelers where face last Friday with a perfect PR storm and had to make tough decisions.
Before the jump, a little disclaimer, this is my opinion and speculation base on what I have seen and read, if you are offended by anything that is not a fact, please don’t read.
I think last Friday the Steelers FO realized this Monday was going to be a nightmare:
1.- They learn that their franchise player (Reed) was going to make news again because two of his charges where going to be drop, not because he is innocent but because he finish community service.
2.- They where happy to learn that no charges where going to be made against their QB, but I am sure they new by then that in the press conference scheduled for Monday the DA was not going to said something like “We couldn’t find any wrong doing from Ben”, they where certain that some not so great details of this allegation was going to come out which will give Ben and the Steelers another black eye.
3.- They also learn that the NFL will made Santonio Holmes four game suspension official on Monday.
I believe that the top guys of the Steelers FO made three decisions on Friday to face this Monday, the rest of the offseason, and the 2010 season:
First they decided that they will play the Reed issue as low as possible, they will not make any comment on it and hope it will disappear compare to the other big issues. At the end the Steelers will have a hard time explaining why they cut one guy and franchise the other. So they are better of if they don’t say anything, but I will be surprise if a long term deal is structure in the near future.
Second they decided at least for the time being that Ben will be their guy and the face of the franchise, but they realize this will required a lot of work and damage control. I am sure it will require some game suspension and a lot of PR. (I think a minimum of two games, but let’s see) obviously the accusations have to stop.
Third they decided that even if this team is weaker with out Santonio the organization just won’t have the time and resources to face two PR nightmares at the same time, and they will need to focus in their QB and Santonio just seems to dumb to control.
I believe the marching orders for Colbert where; try to trade Santonio for wherever you can if not cut him, but wherever happens, on Monday he will not longer be part of this team.
The fact that the GM of the Jets said he received a call from the Steelers on Saturdays to explore a trade possibility, just says how quickly this trade was handle and explains the 5th round value.
Do I think it work?
Well obviously the Reed story was completely forgotten by everybody except for some local papers, Regarding the Holmes Saga I think it did because although the Steelers are getting some crap about making one of the worst trade values in the history of the NFL, the suspension story now reads “ex Steelers WR officially suspended” and the PR damage control is now been done by the Jets organization wile the Steelers are making clear they are cleaning the house.
Regarding Ben it won’t be as simple, what the DA said is more than a black eye for Big Ben and the Steelers. Maybe to us die hard fans we could convince our selves that innocent until proven guilty, and we don’t know what really happen, but for most other people this is far from the truth.
I gave my wife what the DA had to said (we live and are from Mexico so she really is far from this saga) and asked her what she think, her answer “I believe the DA thinks Ben is guilty but he is lucky there is not enough DNA to make a match and the girl for what ever reason is backing out” and what do you think about all of this, her answer “You are going to get mad, but wile I believe he didn’t rape her something BAD, ILEGAL and INMORAL happen in that bathroom and UNFORTUNATLY he is lucky to walk away” Now my wife could be wrong but if you surf the web this is what 80% of the people think, and this is a PR nightmare.
Do I agree with the action taken from the FO of the Steelers?
Well you have to understand that I am old and became a fan on the seventies, when the Steelers where not consider a model franchise and were not thought of as one of the best franchise in sports, it was only consider the best football team in the world.
I love that Jack Lambert was a mean SOB on and off the field, I love that Dwight was a crazy SOB on and off the field, I love that Terry Bradshaw was a reckless SOB on and off the field, I love that Mel Blount was consider the best CB in the game and one of its dirtiest players, I love that our couch could care less about the media and what they thought and focus on fundamentals and excellence.
We where hated by must but fear by everybody and I loved it; I could care less about the steroids scandals and love the games between the Raiders and the Steelers, to me that was football.
I remember that two of my happiest days as a boy where when we beat the Cowboys in the Super bowls, they where the model franchise of that era and I hated them.
I understand that we live in a political correct world and what happen then could not be tolerated today, and I understand that a lot of young fans take pride in the fact that the Steelers are now consider one of the premier franchises of professional sports, heck I take pride of that too, but to me that is a far distant priority to wining games and championships.
Don’t get me wrong there are limits to this, but what Santonio did is not near the limit to me (yes he is dumb, yes he broke the rules of the NFL and hurt his team with the suspension, but you know what have him pay the suspension and get the best 12 games of his career in your run for number 7 and then release him and get the comp pick), on the other hand what Ben MAY have done is far beyond the limit. But there is not proof of him doing it and cutting Ben may mean a 10 year set back for this franchise. This is a though position to be.
So in conclusion to me the FO had two choices; to go white and trade Ben and Holmes, But if you decided to take this root, do it the best possible way and time, try to get two first for Ben from the Rams and roll the dice with Bradfor and package your first (18) your fourth and Santonio for Miami 12 (I mean Miami has Ricky Williams so I guess they are ok with weed), or something like this in a couple of weeks before the draft.
Or go black and have the players apologize for everything and said they learn their lesson and move forward with good PR. Yes we will have taken a lot of crap from other fan bases, but that is what fans do.
Any way, The Steelers, that knows a lot more than me, decided to go Gray and wile I don’t like it I guess I could live with it. I am not as exited as I was a month ago about the 2010 season with out Santonio and with Ben possible suspension but it is what it is.
Any way kudos for the FO who made thought decisions in the middle of a perfect storm, which are never easy to made and impossible to make everybody agree with them; let’s hope the Steelers Ship gets to the promise port. And here is for hopping that Bens grows up and this third allegation is nothing. I want to move forward.