It’s becoming a time-honored tradition for me to have to write something in defense of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ franchise quarterback. It usually occurs when someone has said something on social media or on TV and then doesn’t back it up with any facts. Such is the case this time around.
Last evening I viewed a discussion via Twitter where a Bleacher Report writer said Ben cost the Steelers a playoff berth. He also said Ben was past his prime and that this season would bear that out.
Frankly, I don’t read any Bleacher Report stuff with one exception. I find Chris, who is a featured Steelers writer for BR to be extremely competent, unbiased and very knowledgeable. Therefore, saying BR is terrible across the board would not necessarily be fair or reasonable. This isn’t the point however.
If you asked Ben Roethlisberger about the Dallas and Cincinnati games last season he would be the first to tell you those losses were on him as he did in the post-game interviews. Great quarterbacks will praise their teammates when they win and they will take the blame when the team loses. The interceptions he threw in those two games were not his best throws. I’m not going to make excuses for him because I know he won’t.
But to say he cost the team a shot at the playoffs because of his play is ignorant and uninformed.
Roethlisberger was having an MVP season before being injured against Kansas City. The stats bear that out but people seem to forget those facts when they make their assertions. He was completing roughly 68% of his passes and led the league in third down conversions and his TD/INT ratio prior to the Chiefs game had been 16/4.
Amazingly, ‘experts’ somehow dismiss those numbers when saying he is “in decline.” The injury he sustained was a ‘football injury’ and was not a result of his age or declining performance as the individual claimed.
Let us also not forget that the ‘number one defense’ gave up 34 to Oakland, 26 to Tennessee, 34 to San Diego and 27 to Dallas. All four of those teams did not make the playoffs either. If individuals are going to be critical, then it helps to look at the whole picture.
What naysayers also refuse to acknowledge is the patchwork offensive line, often careless receivers and lack of running game that he had to deal with down the stretch. Still, after both losses to the Cowboys and Bengals, he took the blame.
If Roethlisberger should play poorly in 2013 I will not have any issue calling him out on it. This is the nature of the business. I like to think I follow the Steelers pretty closely and spend an unusual amount of time studying them and especially the QB position. Does that make me an expert? No, it sure as hell doesn’t. I can however hold my own when it comes to this topic.
There has been and always will be a general dislike of Roethlisberger both in and out of Pittsburgh. People will always have the right to their opinion whether I agree or not.
My point in defending Roethlisberger is simply this; if you want to throw him under the bus and lay the blame for last year’s 8-8 season then you really have no clue about the concept of football.
If you know what you’re talking about then I won’t say one darn thing, but when you don’t? That’s a different story.
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.