According to the New York Times, a measurement of athlete popularity by the Q Score Company confirms what anyone not living in a hermitage has known for months: Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is less popular than he was a year ago.â†µ
After the team's most recent Super Bowl victory, Roethlisberger's score for fans who like him was 24 -- now it's 20. His score for fans who do not like him jumped from 18 to 30 over the same span.â†µ
Granted, the nuances of this marketing tool are pretty enigmatic, but it seems strange that the quarterback's popularity has only fallen by 17 percent, given his repeated offseason transgressions. Similarly, Roethlisberger is strangely in the company of unpopular NFL athletes like Terrell Owens and Randy Moss, whose greatest trespasses are -- what -- being a locker room nuisance? Giving us amazing, teary-eyed soundbytes? Offending Joe Buck's delicate sensibilities?â†µ
One particularly interesting consideration is how Roethlisberger's sullied reputation has subtly affected the team's marketing decisions:â†µ
In the team’s new, 24-page merchandise catalog, only one jersey with Roethlisberger’s number 7 is on display, and only the front of the jersey is in view. The jerseys of other popular players like Troy Polamalu and James Harrison have the backs with their names shown.â†µ
Roethlisberger has enjoyed a mostly positive reception by fans attending the team's training camp in Latrobe. But if anything, you've got to think his Q Score understates the boos he'll endure when he takes the field for preseason -- and especially when he returns to play in games that actually matter.â†µ
How loud do you think the fans in the Superdome will be in Week 8, when Pittsburgh takes on the defending champion New Orleans Saints on national television?