Ben Roethlisberger will not look in the mirror over the Pittsburgh Steelers’ lack of recent playoff success.
Roethlisberger spoke recently with Ron Cook of the Post-Gazette on several topics. While he is thoroughly enjoying retirement, as well as his expanded role in dad life, Big Ben accepts the game he thinks he can still play at a high level is evolving. However, he does not seem to be willing to accept any of the responsibility for Pittsburgh wasting an entire decade worth of playoff chances.
The Steelers have not won the AFC since 2010 or raised the Lombardi Trophy since 2008.
"“I feel like the game has changed. I feel like the people have changed in a sense,” said Roethlisberger to Ron Cook of the Post-Gazette. “Maybe it’s because I got spoiled when I came in? The team was so important. It was all about the team. Now, it’s about me and this, that and the other.”"
Roethlisberger then stood up on his “soapbox”, hinting that the Steelers are now a me-first team.
"“I might be standing on a soapbox a little bit, but that’s my biggest takeaway from when I started to the end,” continued Roethlisberger. “It turned from a team-first to a me-type attitude. It was hard. It’s hard for these young guys, too.”"
He would go onto blame things like social media for Pittsburgh becoming increasingly egocentric.
"“Social media. They’re treated so well in college,” finished Roethlisberger. “Now, this new NIL stuff, which is unbelievable. They’re treated so special. They’re coddled at a young age because college coaches need them to win, too. I know coach [Terry] Hoeppner never coddled me [at Miami (Ohio)]. Neither did [Bill] Cowher.”"
Prior to retiring, Roethlisberger was the last active Steeler to win the Super Bowl with Bill Cowher.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger blames everyone else for playoff failures
Roethlisberger was the perfect Steelers quarterback. He was tough and physically imposing, playing the quarterback position with the blue-collar mentality synonymous with the city he once starred in. Overlooked in-state by Ohio State, Roethlisberger did extraordinary things collegiately and professionally during his playing career, first with Miami (Ohio) and then with the Steelers.
However, it is a bit rich Roethlisberger cannot accept he was part of the problem in Pittsburgh wasting one golden opportunity after another in the 2010s. Yes, he played in the same AFC as Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, but neither hall-of-fame signal-caller had the same physical gifts as him or as much organizational stability as he did. Big Ben was the one player constant throughout.
Not to say the 2010 Steelers should have or would have beaten Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl 45, but how has Pittsburgh not been back since? Ultimately, Roethlisberger did not take care of himself physically enough in his prime to sustain it. He could have been a better leader for a franchise that lost its way. Big Ben also had a pair of off-the-field controversies.
No, it is not all on him, but Roethlisberger is not without blame in the Steelers’ wasted last decade.