He’s hurt all the time. He hasn’t had a fourth quarter comeback in forever. It was his fault Mike Wallace left because he couldn’t throw it deep enough for him. He makes the wrong audibles. He was too ‘chummy’ with Bruce Arians and he is clearly the reason the team lost Super Bowl XLV and went 8-8 last year.
Ben Roethlisberger is a lot of things, but he isn’t Atlas. He is a human being after all and after being hailed as the savior of the beloved Pittsburgh Steelers’ franchise in 2004, he’s delivered on the field more often than not but yet his issues off the field still resonate with people which I find sad.
Some of what I mentioned in the opening is true. Roethlisberger cost his team at the end of games in Dallas and at home against Cincinnati with late game interceptions. While there were moments in each of those games where other Steelers certainly had a hand in the failings of the team, Roethlisberger is the QB and as such either gets the credit or gets the blame and he clearly fell into the latter.
I always find myself having to defend Roethlisberger on a periodic basis like this because there are so many who just love to pile on him for a myriad of reasons and often without much in the way of facts to support them.
Roethlisberger was having a Pro-Bowl caliber season before getting hurt against the Chiefs last year. He still ended up throwing 26 touchdowns to just eight interceptions and had a passer rating of 97 which was more than four points higher than his career average.
I often wonder if the injury that he sustained wasn’t as much mentally destructive as it was physically. Newly married and with a baby just under two weeks away, perhaps the sense of mortality was a factor and I can’t argue that one bit. No business of mine the way a person feels at a certain time so I can’t hold that against him.
Of course he received the usual ‘drama queen’ moniker when he revealed how serious the injury was but I’m pretty sure he could have cared less. He has often been ‘over the top’ but again, I’ll take it with everything else he brings to the table.
This week the NFL Network named Roethlisberger the 61st best player in the league as they count down their Top 100 which is so subjective it isn’t even funny. Honestly, I really could care less about these rankings because they are nothing more than an attempt to get people to pay attention to the NFLN between the draft and the pre-season.
For Roethlisberger, a two-time Super Bowl winner, I hope the list serves as one thing and that would be motivation. How much more can this guy be slighted by the so-called ‘experts’ before he just gives up? Maybe he has already and I couldn’t blame him. People hold grudges a long time and that’s their prerogative but for some reason perfection is expected of Roethlisberger but not everyone else. Welcome to being a QB in the NFL right?
This is year two now of the Todd Haley offense. There can no longer be any excuses made about the wrong audibles and whether or not Haley and Roethlisberger are ‘getting along.’ Go play the damn game and get over it. Roethlisberger only has so much time left in his career and should not waste it being pissed that Bruce Arians is no longer there. Leave that to the fans.
The motivational factors for Roethlisberger heading into this season are mounting. From the hated Ravens winning the Super Bowl behind Joe Flacco to the lack of respect from around the league and the drafting of his “successor”, Roethlisberger should have plenty of fuel for his motivational fire.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard Mondays on Trib-Live Radio at 4pm ET talking Steelers.