The Steelers haven’t had a losing season since drafting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in 2004 and they’ve missed the playoffs six times over that span, including last year when they went 8-8 with Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges taking the place of the injured starter.
Roethlisberger is back in action now, but that hasn’t convinced the oddsmakers that the Steelers will rise back to the top of the AFC North. Caesars gives the Ravens and Browns better odds of winning the division than the Steelers, which Roethlisberger said suits him just fine this week.
Roethlisberger told reporters that “sometimes it’s fun to be the underdog and to be overlooked” heading into a season and noted why he thinks the team can overcome any diminished expectations.
“We do have a great defense, and I’m excited about that group,” Roethlisberger said, via ESPN.com. “That was one of the big reasons I was excited to come back was to play with a group like that. They let you play more free as a quarterback. I’m excited about that part of it and, obviously, our linemen and all of our skill guys we have. It’s OK. We can be overlooked. It’s the offseason, and no one knows what the season is going to hold or entail. We are going to go out there and give it everything we have to try and win a football game.”
Roethlisberger’s elbow is feeling well and the team likes the strength of his arm after last year’s injury and surgery cast doubt about his future. Should the positives continue into the regular season, Roethlisberger’s time in the underdog category may be brief.