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Ben Roethlisberger will not start 17 regular-season games in 2021

In the new “30 Scenarios in 30 Days” series, we break down situations which could take place for the Steelers in 2021.

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the 2021 regular season, but before the real games begin, the team has to head to training camp to fine tune their skills. As we here at BTSC prepare you for the start of camp, we give you a series called “30 Scenarios in 30 Days” which gives you a Steelers scenario every day leading up to the start of camp.

It is simple how it works. We provide you the scenario, reasons why it will or won’t happen, and then our prediction for what we think will take place.

Let’s get to the scenario...

Scenario: Ben Roethlisberger will not start 17 regular-season games in 2021

Roethliberger’s games started (since 2011):

2011: 15 (11-4)
2012: 13 (7-6)
2013: 16 (8-8)
2014: 16 (11-5)
2015: 11 (7-4)
2016: 14 (10-4)
2017: 15 (12-3)
2018: 16 (9-6-1)
2019: 2 (0-2)*
2020: 15 (12-3)

*Season ending IR after Week 2

Why it will happen: Although Ben Roethlisberger played through various ailments during the 2020 NFL season, is that really the best course of action for the Steelers in 2021 with a 39 year-old quarterback? Would the Steelers have not been better served to have a more healthy Ben Roethlisberger in the postseason? By attempting to have Roethlisberger be as close to full strength as possible come January, if he experiences some nagging issues during the season it might be in the Steelers best interest to keep Ben out of the lineup throughout the season if he needs additional recovery time rather than have him rush back to get on the field no matter how damaged he might be.

Why it won’t happen: Roethlisberger did not take a $5 million pay cut for 2021 to hold a clipboard. Ben is back and he is giving everything he has to the Steelers in 2021. The only way Roethlisberger misses time is in an ‘already clinched’ scenario like the final week of the 2020 season. If Roethlisberger can walk into the stadium, he’s walking into the huddle.

Prediction: Although it would be nice to think Ben Roethlisberger would rest going into the postseason, the Steelers have to get there first. And while Rothlisberger likely gives the Steelers the best chance to win on a weekly basis, a 17-game season followed by the playoffs is a marathon, not a sprint. If Roethlisberger hast to miss a game or two in order to make sure his elbow, shoulder, knees, or anything else which could give him problems doesn’t become a nagging issue, the Steelers are better off handing the ball to their backup on a short-term basis. While Roethlisberger gives the Steelers the best chance to win in the regular season, a fully healthy (or at least a reasonably healthy after an entire NFL season), full-strength Roethlisberger gives the best chance to win in the playoffs.

No, it doesn’t mean holding Roethlisberger out simply for the sake of doing it, but if there is something which could impact what Roethlisberger could do throughout the game, it’s better to deal with a single week without him rather than a quarter of a season where he’s physically limited.


Check out yesterday’s ‘30 Scenarios in 30 Days’ prediction:

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the 2021 regular season.