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Pittsburgh, Let Dennis Dixon be Great

The Pittsburgh Steelers are a team I’ve always had a balance of hatred and admiration for. The hatred stems from the fact that I am a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan, and we’re not really known to hob-knob, rub elbows, and tailgate with the wavers of the Terrible Towel. The admiration stems from the fact that they’re about as loyal a fan base as I’ve seen, and on top of that, I have yet to meet a bandwagon Steelers fan. The Rev couldn’t believe it when I said the latter last year, and if he reads this today, he’ll probably berate me in his head, or right out loud.

With that said, the Steelers have a decision to make pretty soon. Their motorcycle-riding, Super Bowl-winning, initiator of intimate innuendo, and game-saving starting quarterback is suspended for the first six weeks of the NFL season. That man, of course, is The Great Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers have three capable quarterbacks on the team, not named Ben R. They have the billowing behemoth in Byron Leftwich, grizzled veteran Charlie Batch, and the young pup of the group, Dennis Dixon. For reasons that remain a mystery to me, my boy Mike Tomlin has decided to give the reins to Leftwich, while The Motorcycle Rider serves his suspension, thus leaving the quarterback, who gives them the best chance to win, to sit on the side. That man, ladies and gentlemen, is Dennis Dixon.

Now I know Dixon is only about 118 pounds, but the man can play football. We saw what he was capable of in college, when he ran the show for the Oregon Ducks. It’s even safe to conclude that if he doesn’t get injured, not only do they make the National Championship, he would have had an excellent shot at winning the Heisman in his senior season. That’s how fantastic the man was. When he got drafted into the league, it was with the expectation that he would be a back-up, and that’s totally understandable. Ben Roethlisberger is the second-best quarterback in the NFL, and with that, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with him sitting back, holding a clipboard, and learning from someone who’s won two rings already.

We’ve concluded Dixon is Ben’s backup, and that’s cool, but why on Earth is he backing up Byron Leftwich? No disrespect to Leftwich, but I honestly don’t believe, at this stage of his career, that he’s better than Dennis Dixon. The man can’t move, and while he has a cannon for an arm, it takes him forever and a day to get rid of the damn thing, which pretty much makes the cannon part null and void. Now if it’s a case of experience, which is the only visible argument, that’s one thing, but if someone is attempting to say that Leftwich actually gives the Steelers a better chance to win than Dixon, then they’re out of their mind. Dixon performed admirably in his lone start last year against the Baltimore Ravens, in Baltimore at that, and it seemed it would be enough to prove he can get the job done, but for now, it’s not.

Pittsburgh’s second preseason game is tomorrow night and Ben R’s expected to start and get some decent time in, before the Steelers get him out of there. The season doesn’t start for another few weeks, but hopefully they make the right decision and put Dixon out there. The man has been patient, has showed flashes of being able to perform and lead. All he needs is more opportunities, and he won’t get them when he’s backing up someone who he’s much more effective than.

-K. Masenda
www.edthesportsfan.com
P.S. As a reminder, checkout the livest sports talk (and hopefully on the radio soon) show around, "The Unsportsmanlike Conduct Show" as we are live Wednesday's at 9pm Eastern at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/edthesportsfan! Download our podcasts if you missed the live show as well!

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