Time To Stop The Madness - By Greg Stephens

Steelers Fever Exclusive Editorial

No one likes a quitter. Everyone loves the guy that guts it out. No pain, no gain. Despite all those contrite sayings, it is time Bill Cowher steps up and makes a decision. Ben, you can't play Sunday against Oakland.

Ben RoethlisbergerLast February, the world belonged to the newly crowned Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers. Bill Cowher finally got the monkey off his back about not winning the big game. Wunderkund quarterback Ben Roethlisberger became the youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl, and in only his second year. Legend and hero Jerome Bettis got to ride off in the sunset with a ring in his own hometown.

Last summer, that same world came crashing down around the Gold and Black. Roethlisberger, in a decision that mirrored stupidity much more than bravery, had a motorcycle crash while he was not wearing a helmet. As a result, he broke his jaw and lost a significant amount of weight.

Fate would once again pay Roethlisberger a visit right before the beginning of the season, as an appendectomy caused him to miss the Steelers' season opener against Miami.

In another decision that mirrored as much stupidity as bravery, Roethlisberger came back the very next week, fresh appendix scar and all, and took a beating as the Steelers were shut out on Monday Night Football by the Jacksonville Jaguars. From there, things have not gotten any better.

Since the Jacksonville game, the Steelers have dropped heartbreakers to Cincinnati, San Diego and Atlanta, while picking up one romp victory against Kansas City. Roethlisberger has had decent moments, showing improvement in Kansas City, to go along with his horrendous games against Cincy and San Diego. Last Sunday against Atlanta, Ben was having his best game of the season -- until fate once again intervened.

In what is now the latest play heard around the Steel City, Roethlisberger took a helmet-to-helmet hit and suffered a concussion that has placed him in jeopardy of missing this Sunday's game against the floundering Raiders.

The odd part of the story is the Steelers have listed Ben as questionable for the Raiders' game. What in the world is the 'question' in this decision?

Does Ben want to play Sunday? Of course he does. He's that 'gamer' we all love. He's the type that goes mountain climbing alone and gnaws his own arm off after it gets trapped under a rock. Nobody questions the kid's heart.

At this point, someone had better begin questioning his decisions. This is where Bill Cowher needs to step in.

The Steelers have an excellent backup quarterback in Charlie Batch. Batch led the Steelers to victory in the season opener, and looked very good Sunday against Atlanta. In fact, this season, he has posted 410 yards on a completion percentage of 61.5. He's hit for five touchdowns with no picks. He's also tagged an impressive quarterback rating of 136.8.

With a suitable replacement able to pick up the slack, Cowher needs to be the adult in this relationship with Ben, not the father who lets his teenage son do stupid things because the son wants to do them. Ask Ben this moment, and he probably tells you he is starting Sunday against Oakland. Ask Ben's body this moment, and it probably tells you it needs some time to fully heal of everything that has happened. Ask Ben's psyche this moment, it subconsciously probably agrees with Ben's body.

There is nothing wrong with giving Ben a week off, or two if necessary, to let his body get to one hundred percent for the first time this season. This is also nothing wrong with allowing him to sit, study, and rest emotionally to regroup. Batch is in no way a major threat to take Roethlisberger's job. While the Steelers have the rare luxury of having a backup that could start on twenty teams in the NFL, they need to take advantage of the situation to rest their stud starter and get back on track once and for all.

For the love of the team, Coach Cowher, sit Roethlisberger and stop the madness.