Ben Roethlisberger speaks out
Ben Roethlisberger will forever be known as one of the greatest quarterbacks to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The 11th overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft spent 18 seasons with the Steelers, winning two Super Bowls with the organization. However, not everything was perfect during his time in Pittsburgh and Roethlisberger recently came out to speak about some of the frustrations he was dealing with in the final years of his career.
“I feel like the game has changed,” the quarterback said, via Fox News. “I feel like the people have changed in a sense. 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,” he explained.
“I might be standing on a soapbox a little bit, but that’s my biggest takeaway from when I started to the end. It turned from a team-first to a me-type attitude. It was hard.”
Despite appearing in three Super Bowls and throwing for 64,000 passing yards during his career, Roethlisberger only won three playoff games following the 2010 season as the team struggled to continue being an AFC powerhouse. He acknowledged that the culture within the game has changed, which is something he also hasn’t entirely gotten used to.
“It’s hard for these young guys, too. Social media. They’re treated so well in college. 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,” Roethlisberger continued. “I know coach [Terry] Hoeppner never coddled me [at Miami of Ohio]. Neither did [Bill] Cowher.”
The Steelers finished the 2021 NFL campaign with a 9-7-1 record during the regular season but were eliminated in the Wild Card Round by the Kansas City Chiefs after losing 42-21. It would be the final game of Roethlisberger’s career.
“I thought I went out on my terms. I never wanted to stay too long. I know some people might think I did. ‘You stayed last year.’ But I thought I played pretty well last year, to be honest,” Roethlisberger said. “My arm feels like I still could go out and play. I’m pretty confident I could still play. But it’s every day. It’s mental. Not having to prepare for camp and the season has been the biggest blessing for me. I’m fine with where I’m at with everything.”
The Steelers have made the playoffs in six of the final eight seasons Roethlisberger played, including in 2020 and 2021. They also won AFC North Division Championships in 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2020 but were never able to get back to the Super Bowl after losing to the Green Bay Packers 31-25 in Super Bowl XLV.
It remains to be seen how the organization will do in the first season of the post-Roethlisberger era but it is clear that the Steelers’ legend was ready to move on with the next stage of his life. Pittsburgh did draft quarterback Kenny Pickett with the 20th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft though, hoping he can become the next great Steelers’ quarterback.