NFL: Ben Roethlisberger vs Antonio Brown, The Ultimate Fued

As the evolving music and business mogul Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter poignantly said on his classic album “The Black Album”, track “ December 4th, “they say they never really miss you until you are dead or you are gone, so on that note, I am leaving after this song”.  Well, in Pittsburgh, the proverbial fat lady has sung and without question, there will be a moment this coming 2019 season, two future NFL Hall of Famers and former teammates will miss each other. Maybe, for Pittsburgh Steelers’ franchise quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, it is on his first interception he is credited due to one of his wide receivers, not recognizing quick enough, the disguised defensive coverage that demands he runs his hot route on a blitz. Conversely, maybe for newly acquired Oakland Raiders All-World, wide receiver, Antonio Brown, it is the time he beats his defensive back badly at the line and is wide open down the sideline and the ball is thrown out of bounds.

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Both will eventually travel down the river of nostalgia and profess pleasantries towards the other. I do not know when but I know it is inevitable. Actually, Ben or better known as “Big Ben”, given his 6’5″ 240lbs frame, earlier this week expressed regret for using his weekly radio show. Placing blame on his former Pittsburgh Steelers’ teammate Antonio Brown’s inaccurate route running, for why he threw the game-ending interception against the Denver Broncos. Together, they are amongst the greatest quarterback duo tandems in NFL history.  For the past decade, their productivity places them in rarefied air. Now that each parted ways, the major question is how fruitful will each perform separately.

Antonio Brown, yelled, stomped, and demanded his way out of Pittsburgh.  Brown, is a master at using social media to showcase and market his performances and perspective. The Raiders will be in Las Vegas in 2020 and is the perfect backdrop for Brown’s polarizing personality. Now, the question I have is, how will Brown respond when he does not get the catches or targets he had in Pittsburgh with “Big Ben”. Comfortably, I can share that Raider’s quarterback Derek Carr is a level or two below “Big Ben”. Brown will discover that soon enough. Brown will have to play nice in the sandbox with Oakland Raider’s coach Jon Gruden. Gruden has much more power than Brown. Especially given his 10-year $100M contract he signed last year.  All in all, Brown should have a productive season and but the bigger question is will he mature personally.

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This upcoming season will reveal a great deal about Roethlisberger character and commitment.  This offseason presents many mandates that Roethlisberger previously did not have to consider. For instance, spending more time on the field and in the tape room with his receiving core. This will help gain an understanding of the depth of routes and ball placement depending on receivers timing on routes. Since 2010, when the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted wide receiver Antonio Brown, in the 6th round out of Central Michigan University, Roethlisberger benefited from the luxury Brown’s explosive talent provided. Brown has an impeccable work ethic. He runs routes with tremendous precision. Thus creating timing and chemistry on the field with Roethlisberger that only more time can it be duplicated.

For me, that is what I will be closely monitoring with Roethlisberger.  What type of mental and physical shape does he arrive at camp in? How will he respond post-game after a tough loss? Will he blame coach Tomlin? How will his leadership amongst the team evolve? What if they miss the playoffs, how did he handle the adversity?  Regardless, what transpires this season, when it is all said and done Roethlisberger will be the center of attention in Pittsburgh.

How do you feel about the feud between Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown? Leave a comment below.

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Follow Jamal on Twitter @Jamalburke9.

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