Sunday, August 1, 2010

Choosing Your Next Steelers Jersey

If you're reading this blog, chances are you own at least one, if not multiple Steelers jerseys. Chances are, you even believe certain jerseys carry more luck than others. You may even have a jersey in the closet you reserve for wearing only for big games.

If you're crazy like us, you probably have a general sense of the Steelers winning percentage with each jersey/hat/etc you own.

The idea for this post sprung from a few Twitter conversations we've been having over the last few weeks.

A lot of people out there have been looking to either buy a new jersey for this season or to get another jersey in addition to their Roethlisberger jersey, which they aren't entirely sure how they feel about wearing this season. We completely understand their predicament, which gave us the idea for this post.

A lot of things factor in to making the decision about which player's jersey to purchase. From the caliber of the player to the player's current contract situation and age all play roles in your jersey purchasing decisions. If you're going to drop between $80 and $150 on a jersey, you don't want something that you're only going to be able to wear for a few years. You're going to want to buy something you'll be able to sport for a long time.

There are a few different "categories" you can divide jersey decisions into.

Some general rules to follow:
-Getting rookie jerseys is generally dangerous, because you never know if they will develop into their potential or not

-Getting jerseys of guys in the last year of their contracts is risky because you never know if they will still be with the team next season

-Getting jerseys of guys at the tail end of their careers means that you might only get a year or two out of the jersey while they are on the team, but will still be able to wear it in the future, assuming they retire as a Steeler.

The Obvious

Ben Roethlisberger, Troy Polamalu

We don't have any empirical proof of this, but if you look around at Steelers games, at least 60% of the jerseys you'll see will either be Ben or Polamalu jerseys. This is not to knock people who own these jerseys, you really can't go wrong with having the jersey of one of the top defensive players in the league. Quarterback jerseys are always popular, and before this past offseason with the accusations against Ben, buying Ben's jersey was a legitimate decision as well.

The Mainstays

Hines Ward, Casey Hampton, Aaron Smith, James Farrior, James Harrison

This is probably the second most popular group of players for fans to have jerseys. Hines is a future hall of famer and Super Bowl MVP, which arguably could put him in the top group. Buying any of these players jerseys should be considered a safe bet, as they've all been with the team for a long time and played at a high level.

The Budding Stars

Rashard Mendenhall, Heath Miller, LaMarr Woodley, Mike Wallace

Heath Miller is well on pace to become the Steelers best tight end ever. He's already 9th on the Steelers receptions list, 16th in receiving yards, and 9th in TDs. Wallace had an excellent rookie season, Mendenhall will be the feature back this season, and LaMarr Woodley is poised to make a run at Defensive Player of the Year.

The Overlooked

Ike Taylor, Brett Keisel, Jeff Reed, Daniel Sepulveda

Taylor, Keisel, and Reed have been mainstays on the team for many years, but haven't achieved the notoriety that others have. Reed and Taylor have been routinely dragged through the mud by local media types, much in the same way Marc-Andre Fleury gets blamed for every goal the Pens give up. As we documented last year, we like Ike and feel like the Steelers defensive scheme forces him to give receivers a cushion, making him vulnerable to out-routes and curl-routes.

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