Ben Roethlisberger is NOT Peyton Manning… in numerous ways. Just because he (Manning) essentially runs his offense doesn’t mean you (Ben) should. Just because he throws over 30 times a game with 2-3 touchdowns per game doesn’t mean you should. Just because he is whining about friends of his leaving the organization doesn’t mean you should.
Ben… you don’t mind if I call you Ben do you? Can I speak directly to you for a sec?
Look, man, I know you’re still probably bummin’ about the loss to the Broncos in the Wild Card game. Hell, you are still probably bummin’ about the SB loss to Green Bay. You took time out of your locked out offseason to decorate your bathroom with the locker room nameplate from that game as a daily reminder of how you fell just short of getting your third ring and the franchise’s 7th. So I get the commitment to win. I also get that you are upset over the fact that your offensive coordinator, boss and good buddy, Bruce Arians, was asked to consider different career options by your even bigger boss, Art. It’s tough to say goodbye. But just listen to me for a moment before you start yapping at me. This isn’t about Bruce or you. It’s about the Steelers – so you best be careful about how you act over the next few months and, more importantly, what you say to your boss, Art, next week.
You want to go talk to Mr. Rooney over his decision to not renew Arians’ contract. Fine. But you need to be careful how you display that kind of frustration and relaying the outcome of that touchy feely meeting to the rest of us.
“When I get back, I’m going to go up to Mr. Rooney’s office and ask him what he wants from me, what he wants from this offense, because I think that’s a viable question for him. He’s our owner and our boss, so I really would like to know kind of what he wants and where he sees our offense going because I’d like to tell him where I see us going.” – You (Ben Roethlisberger)
The undertones of this are unquestionably you puffing your chest out a bit and letting Steeler Nation and the rest of the media know who you are – the franchise QB and ‘leader’ while on the field. I get that. We get that. You feel you should have some sort of say as to the direction of this offense. Fair enough. But you are on the verge of disrespecting the man who puts his John Hancock on all your pay stubs.
Need I remind you that your freedom to speak out on matters of team loyalty, personnel directions and other matters of team philosophy have very little weight? ‘Why’ you ask? Need I point out that you severely put your character into question not once, but twice in as many years? Now I know you have every right to say you did nothing and that you aren’t really guilty of anything. But, you put this organization in an unfavorable light with those actions… an organization that prides itself on character throughout. Remember that Santonio Holmes dude who got kicked off this team for offenses that most other teams would overlook? You could have easily been removed from this team when either of those bits of news came to light – especially after bout #2. But, Rooney let those things pass – somehow seeing the better man deep down inside and giving it a chance to be cultivated and brought out. He could have ended your career by sending you to Cincy or Tampa Bay. Remember that?
I think it’s fairly insulting that you think you can waltz into Rooney’s office, after all he’s done for you, and question his choice of getting rid of Arians. Like I said, this is not about him or you. This is about the team and the way Rooney wants to see it run… quite literally. See that’s the best part about having the Rooney family continue the legacy of running this team – everything is in the best interests of the organization, period. That kind of thinking includes bringing in only the best that can contribute positively to the team on every level (skills and personality) and also weeding out the ‘cancers’ that develop within. Arians, as good as he was (or bad depending on who you ask), was a cancer to the offense. His killing off of the running game coupled with his ineffective play calling in the Red Zone for the last couple of years was enough for ‘The Doctor’ to perform a little surgery on the ailing offense. You need to understand that as does everyone else. Rooney has every right to make the personnel moves he wants. He’s the president.
So go on up to his office, Ben. But I suggest you are careful with your exchange and even more careful with how you talk about that discussion with the rest of us. There’s no guarantee that your next buddy Fichtner is the shoe in. Remember, this isn’t about the man, it’s about whether this team will run the ball more or not – because that is how this team will live and die according to Rooney. You’re a big enough of a deal on this team to have a longer leash than most. But you seem to forget that your leash has been shortened. Don’t be an ungrateful jag. Remember who you are. Remember who you play for.
And, don’t worry man. Everything will be just fine. You will still get to pass the ball a bunch. You will still run around and create plays and orchestrate last minute comeback wins. You will still be Ben Roethlisberger. You’ll get back to the Super Bowl and win a couple more before you hit your twilight. It may not happen right away because there’s no doubt the Steelers are in a small bit of transition mode on both sides of the ball. But you’ll get there. Be happy and proud that you are in a Steelers uniform – it’s the best that you will ever be in. Try and keep it that way.