The Pittsburgh Steelers success is minimized by the fantasy football mentality, where stats mean everything. If not, it sure seems that way. Why? The Steelers aren’t blowing teams out like the experts think they should be, therefore many people question their legitimacy. Ben Roethlisberger is the poster boy for this line of thinking because he’s not putting up his normal stats. People have labeled Roethlisberger as washed up while he’s led the Steelers to the top of the AFC. The way they have won isn’t pleasing to the fantasy football crowd because of the run first mentality. Fans with a fantasy football mentality would rather see Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown rack up touchdowns and big numbers.
Pittsburgh Steelers Success is Minimized by the Fantasy Football Mentality
Fantasy Football has been a Sunday staple for over 55 years, and shows no signs of slowing down. It has become a billion dollar industry, turning millions of fans into general managers. Fantasy Football has dedicated television and radio show’s, magazines, websites and draft kits to help build championship teams. The first fantasy football league was the GOPPPL (Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League). Since its creation in 1962, fantasy football’s popularity has exploded. Fantasy football has brought millions of fans closer to the game, and changed how we define success in football. How so? Fantasy Football is all about stats and big numbers, and the Steelers success is minimized by it.
The Steelers aren’t putting up their usual stats this season, but they are finding other ways to win. Somehow though, the lack of big stats equates to them having a down season, as if their six wins are somehow cheaper. Admittedly, the Steelers aren’t where they want to be offensively, but they aren’t concerned with style points. Winning the Super Bowl is their priority, not putting up historical numbers craved by the fantasy football mentality. The Steelers have had some of the highest scoring offenses over the last four years, but no defense. A high scoring offense plus no defense equals playoff elimination.
Critiquing the Steelers With a Fantasy Football Mentality
The Steelers are lucky to be 6-2 this season. They haven’t scored 30 points once, when they should be blowing teams away. Roethlisberger just doesn’t have it anymore. He has all those weapons and yet he isn’t getting the ball to anyone but Brown. Martavis Bryant has done absolutely nothing this year. If he can’t get deep, trade him, he’s worthless. Le’Veon Bell isn’t the same player this year, he should have 30 to 35 receptions. The Steelers should be scoring 30 points a game with their weapons. There is no way they are winning the Super Bowl if Roethlisberger doesn’t start airing it out. If he can’t, bring in Josh Dobbs, fire Todd Haley, and trade Bryant. The Steelers success is minimized by this thinking.
Critiquing the Steelers Based on the Reality of the Situation
The Steelers have had their issues this season, but have fought their way to the division and conference lead. While they have yet to put up 30 points on the scoreboard, they are finding ways to win. Roethlisberger and the offense has had a rough go of it in the redzone, but are moving the ball well between the 20’s. Bryant hasn’t been a factor in the offense, but he’s thrown some key blocks and opens things up for others. Defenders respect his deep speed and have to account for him with double coverage. Bell may not be the dual threat running back he’s been the last few years, but he’s just as valuable. He is what the Steelers need him to be at the moment, a 30-35 carry workhorse. The type of back they’ve won six Super Bowl’s with.
The Steelers may not be lighting up the scoreboard, but they haven’t had to. The offense has done what they need to do to win, and have been backed up by a ferocious defense. They are becoming a complete team, where each unit compliments the other. Each unit is capable of picking the other up for the first time since 2008. 2008 being the last time the Steelers won the Super Bowl is no coincedence. Sure, having a explosive offense is great, but it means nothing with no defense and early postseason elimination.
Real Football Value and Fantasy Football Value are Mutually Exclusive
Roethlisberger and Bryant’s value to the Steelers should never be equated to their fantasy football value, because they’re completely separate. They are mutually exclusive, yet many people equate a players fantasy value with his actual value. The Steelers success is minimized by viewing players in this light. Bryant has little fantasy value this season, but his lack of production belies his value as a blocker and decoy. Roethlisberger’s fantasy numbers may not resemble those from prior years, but he is finding other ways to win games. He is a gamer and a leader, who has kept the offense together during a slow start. You can’t replace that kind of value.
The Pittsburgh Steelers success is being minimized by the fantasy football mentality because too many value numbers over wins. Is the Steelers Super Bowl IX championship less credible than that won by the greatest show on turf? That’s a definite no. The only fantasy worthy player on the ’74 Steelers might have been Franco Harris. They won ugly most of the time, but all fans think of is the Lombardi Trophy and the Steel Curtain.
Fantasy football is great, but it’s not real. Team owners are not real general managers, and fantasy numbers mean nothing. What takes place on the field every Sunday is real, and all that matters is that the Steelers win. Whether they win 41-14 or 12-10 is irrelevant. What is relevant is that the Steelers are building a complete team capable of winning an unprecedented seventh Super Bowl title. Chances are nobody will complain, or appreciate it any less, if they bring the Lombardi Trophy home by winning 13-10 with only 180 yards of total offense. All people will remember is the Lombardi Trophy and a great defense.