I think we’ve established a lot of things about Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers during his last two appearances on Pat McAfee’s podcast: Rodgers likes yinzers, yinzer accents, the way yinzers pronounce Giant Eagle, Primanti Bros. and its world-famous sandwich, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Dad, the Steelers, head coach Mike Tomlin, and probably the view when exiting the Fort Pitt Tunnel (inbound, of course).
Rodgers and Tomlin seemed to be openly flirting with one another during Sunday’s game between the two teams at Lambeau Field, a 27-17 loss for your Steelers and an outcome that dropped the team to 1-3 to start the year.
McAfee, a former NFL punter and Pittsburgh native, has been kind of encouraging this mutual admiration between the Steelers and Rodgers in an “It’s a shame you two are both in toxic relationships because I think you’d be perfect together” kind of way.
For their part, a lot of the fans seem to be energized by this open flirtation and are already dreaming about the possibility of Rodgers wearing black and old next year.
Anyway, holy cow! The Steelers haven’t even reached their bye, and people are already punting on 2021 and looking ahead to 2022?
See, this is why the Steelers are totally allergic to the thought of rebuilding; heck, I bet they aren’t even allowed to use that word around the office. Why? Because you can’t handle it, that’s why. Just look at yourself. You might as well go and buy one of those cheeseheads and wear it to Heinz Field this Sunday.
Sure, the Steelers are in hell right now. Their quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, appears to be holding a lit match at the moment and not a water hose.
You know what they say about going through hell, right? You just keep going.
Look, I’m not saying Roethlisberger isn’t done. In fact, there is more evidence to suggest he’s absolutely washed (a new word the cool kids are now using for “washed up”) than there is that he will ever turn things around at the age of 39.
But is this how the Roethlisberger era should end, with many folks—maybe even his own bosses—pining for Rodgers before the old cowboy has even had a chance to ride off into the sunset?
This is the same organization, and fanbase, that refused to lie down and play dead two years ago, even after Roethlisberger was lost early in the season with a major elbow injury. I remember that trade for Minkah Fitzpatrick. I saw you wearing that Duck hat. I even know some folks who still have Duck jerseys.
It was fun to fight through the adversity, wasn’t it? I don’t remember much giving up or looking to the future. Did it happen in the 2020 offseason? Sure it did. People wanted Jameis Winston. They even desired Marcus Mariota.
But at least it was the offseason. It wasn’t in October, and Roethlisberger wasn’t the active starting quarterback of the Steelers.
Shame on you. Shame on Tomlin. Heck, shame on Pat McAfee.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that there shouldn’t be current discussions about what’s best for the 2021 Pittsburgh Steelers moving forward, namely, should Mason Rudolph or Dwayne Haskins be given a chance to start at quarterback?
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I don’t think I’d mind it if Roethlisberger was gently nudged to the bench, even for just the next few games.
What could it hurt? How could this offense possibly perform any worse than it has over the past 12 games or so? Besides, at least Rudolph and Haskins are Steelers. At least they’re around to fight the team’s battles in 2021.
Do you know who can’t possibly help Pittsburgh out of its present funk? Rodgers, the man who should be giving all of his love and attention to his current team, the Packers. OK, I get it, Rodgers may not feel like devoting much love to the Packers. Word is, he doesn’t like his bosses very much.
However, what does it say about Rodgers that he seems to be at least greasing the wheels for a possible move to Pittsburgh in 2022 when he still has 13 games left to play for his current team in 2021, the organization that originally drafted him and has paid him a lot of money over the years?
For the record, I’m a huge Rodgers fan, and he’s one of my favorite players in the NFL. But I don’t have to deal with him. Word has it, he’s a bit of a diva. Heck, I don’t even think it’s much of a secret, actually. Wasn’t he openly critical of his bosses at a press conference right before the season? He made Passive-Aggressive Ben look like Troy Polamalu by comparison.
What makes you think Rodgers wouldn’t bring that same attitude to Pittsburgh in 2022? What makes you think he won’t have the same “My way or the highway” swagger he apparently has with the Packers?
Most importantly, what makes you think Rodgers won’t also fall off the cliff at 38, an age he will reach in December?
You know what comes after 38, right? Would a 38-year old Rodgers be worth the multiple first-round picks it would likely cost to acquire him in the offseason?
Maybe he will. Then again, we all thought Roethlisberger deserved MVP consideration as recently as last Halloween when he was 38 years and seven months old.
Finally, as far as stories are concerned, Rodgers coming to the Steelers next year would be huge. But that’s next year’s news.
The 2021 Steelers are comprised of 53 players who are still trying to figure some things out. Roethlisberger is one of those players.
Maybe Ben Roethlisberger will work things out. Maybe he won’t. But he at least deserves a proper breakup from the franchise and fan base he has spent 18 years making mostly wonderful memories with.
Flirting with Aaron Rodgers in early October when Roethlisberger is still living under your roof is the exact opposite of that.