Peyton Manning once ripped his ‘idiot kicker’ on national television and I don’t recall him apologizing to the Colts’ organization over it. He also ripped his offensive line a couple of times following tough losses and while he apologized to them privately, he did not do so publicly to them or his organization.
Broncos’ legend John Elway used to tear into his receivers on occasion. Jim Kelly of the Bills was never one to hold his tongue either. Tom Brady screams and hollers at players and coaches but he’s just a ‘fiery’ competitor though and never apologizes publicly. Heck, even Philip Rivers barks at his coaches when he disagrees with a play-call or series of calls. Yet how many of these and other ‘franchise’ QBs are forced to apologize to their coaches or teammates or owners for speaking their mind and in many cases, the truth?
Very few if any is your answer. If they do, it’s through a statement from the team or a publicist.
Yet there was Ben Roethlisberger yesterday standing before the Pittsburgh media apologizing to Todd Haley and Mike Tomlin and even to Art Rooney II for his comments after the loss Sunday in Dallas. All this guy has done is take three teams to the Super Bowl winning two of them, and become one of the five best quarterbacks in the game of football. Many are praising Roethlisberger today for being ‘mature’ and a ‘stand-up guy’ but why? Because he spoke what everyone in Steelers Nation was thinking?
I know, he “owes” the Steelers though right? They stood by him when he made errors in judgment like the motorcycle incident and the two separate allegations of inappropriate behavior though didn’t they? Let’s see, last I checked, errors in judgment were not necessarily ‘illegal’ in our country. Explain to me what was proven in either of the two ‘alleged’ rapes where charges were never filed….
Was Roethlisberger guilty of poor judgment? You’re damn right he was. I guarantee he would have done things differently had he understood the ramifications of his actions, or ‘alleged’ actions as it were. I suggest you research each case if you think I’m covering for Roethlisberger because you’ll find the cases are far different from those portrayed in the media and in the office of Roger Goodell.
Either way, I admit he made some poor choices, but when does that stop hanging over his head? He’s a franchise freaking quarterback for crying out loud and he deserves the right to be pissed off sometimes. He’s played more than enough games and been through more than enough seasons to be allowed to question his coordinator and head coach whether it’s due to frustration or not.
Now, if he’s doing that every week, there’s a problem, but he’s not. He has done it once and after a game in which there were several bad throws on his part and several bad play calls on Haley’s. What harm is Roethlisberger doing to a team that’s already in a tailspin having lost four of their last five games? If anything, maybe the rest of the team will see some leadership from Roethlisberger and perhaps it will spur them to play better.
I’m not suggesting nor condoning players being able to call out their coaches on a routine basis. It should never happen at the high school and collegiate levels, but the professional level is different. This is adults working with adults and these things will happen.
Ben Roethlisberger has played hurt. He’s played in the worst of situations and has never made excuses and as he did Sunday night, he takes responsibility for losses. He endures far more punishment than most NFL quarterbacks on a weekly basis yet continues to earn little or no respect within his own organization.
After eight plus seasons in the league, you’d think a guy with his resume would have earned some collateral to speak his mind but I guess that’s only reserved for quarterbacks who are angels off the field.
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.