Big Ben favors status quo with playoffs

February, 3, 2014
2/03/14
8:00
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Steel City wake-up: Here are some Monday leftovers with the 2013 season now in the rearview mirror.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell renewed his push to expand the playoffs from 12 to 14 teams during his state of the league address last Friday.

Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t share Goodell’s enthusiasm for adding a team in each conference to the postseason.

“To me I kind of like it the way it is,” the Steelers quarterback told 93.7 The Fan on Saturday. “If it stays the way it is, then that makes you play that much harder in the regular season to get in. You shouldn’t reward extra teams for not playing well early in the year or late in the year. It should stay the way it is and make you play good all year.”

Goodell, during his annual question-and-answer session at the Super Bowl, supported his position by talking about how expanding the playoffs would add to the excitement at the end of the regular season with more teams in postseason contention.

Roethlisberger is not alone in taking a more cynical view of why Goodell wants to expand the playoffs.

“Of course it would be good for the game for Roger and the money he can make,” Roethlisberger said, “which sometimes that’s all players think that he wants is just to make more money.”

To be fair -- and accurate -- 75 percent of the owners (24 of 32) would have to vote in favor of expanding the playoffs for it to happen. And players, who are fairly well compensated, would also benefit from the extra revenue that a change in the playoff formation would generate.
  • The big Steelers news over the weekend was Jerome Bettis getting denied entrance into the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the fourth consecutive year. Bettis, classy as usual, took to Twitter after the 2014 class was announced to thank the Steelers for their support. My feeling is that “The Bus” will make a stop in Canton, Ohio, at some point, though I’m still miffed that it hasn’t happened yet.
  • Outside linebacker Jason Worilds told ESPN.com on Friday that he wants to stay with the Steelers if the situation is right for him. Translation: He wants assurances that the Steelers view him as a long-term starter after he led the team with eight sacks in 2013. I’ve gotten some feedback from readers who bristled at what they see as Worilds making demands after just one good season. Let me be clear on this: Worilds was not making any demands; he was simply being honest in assessing his future. Having played out his contract, it is his right to explore opportunities elsewhere if he is not comfortable with his standing in Pittsburgh. Here is a good take from SteelersDepot.com on what the Steelers should do with Worilds.

Around the AFC North…
  • ESPN has reported that Kyle Shanahan will be the next offensive coordinator in Cleveland. NFL Insider Matt Williamson breaks down how the Browns’ offensive personnel would mesh with Shanahan’s philosophy.
  • Ray Rice is anything but discouraged after he had the worst season of his NFL career and the Ravens missed the playoffs a season after winning the Super Bowl. The veteran running back, as ESPN.com Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley points out, predicts more than just a rebound for the Ravens.
  • Bengals.com reporter Coley Harvey asks fans whether Andy Dalton is the long-term answer at quarterback in Cincinnati. As Harvey writes, the fans are getting impatient with Dalton, who has yet to win a playoff game.

Scott Brown

ESPN Pittsburgh Steelers reporter

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