Over the last few years, the offense of the Pittsburgh Steelers has been considered somewhat of a “sleeping giant” especially when it came to basically playing down to their opponents or just plain sleep walking until they were well into the second half.
Quick question: What does Monsieur Ben Roethlisberger have in common with Aaron Rodgers, Robert Griffin III, Alex Smith, Peyton Manning, Matt Ryan, Tom Brady and Russell Wilson? Answer: Absolutely nothing. Why you ask? Because first and foremost, five of the teams that are directed by the aforementioned signal callers will be making some “playoff” dough while Roethlisberger will be out Christmas shopping spending the Steelers dough. Oh, also two of the QBs mentioned are rookies Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson and both of them at least at the time that I wrote this column have the distinct possibility of being invited to the NFLs big dance.
Roethlisberger still doesn’t get it. His ego is far, far, bigger than his “enormous” talent. The Steelers need to bring in some younger, less egotistical hungry quarterbacks. In the last two games Roethlisberger has thrown two game ending, game losing picks. Now check out the wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah wah, wah wah, wah, wah syndrome. The following are actual post-game responses from “Big” Ben. [Hey Ben], what were you feeling as you were leaving the field? Ben said, “Disappointment, pain, letting a lot of people down, and it doesn’t feel good.” Kum bah yah, my lord; uh, huh. Tell us what happened on the final interception? He had the audacity to say, “There is nothing to talk about. You saw it, I threw it to them.” Nothing to talk about? The game ending pick that you threw in Dallas still needs some “splainin” and you say there is nothing to talk about?
Oh let’s get back to one of my original points of the Black and Gold sleepwalking. Mr. Roethlisberger had this to say. “We have to do better. We have to start moving the ball, and stop getting behind the chains making it hard on ourselves. I have to play better.”
Has this boy lost his ever loving mind? After the Steelers play the Browns in a meaningless rubber game for both teams, Ben will be sitting at home on the couch playing video games “getting better.” Another one sentence quote from the Steelers wunderkind was, “they are a good team that played well and we didn’t.”
Although the Steelers defense played well, they toed the company line. Safety Ryan Clark was asked this question: “Is it fair when you have a short field all the time when the offense turns the ball over?”
“We have no control over how we take the field,” he said.
“But we do have control over how we defend it. It’s with all-out effort; it’s with 100 percent tenacity. I think we did that today. I think we went out and we played well. I say it every time we lose but it’s the truth. We needed one more play. We needed not to let them get in field goal range at the end of the fourth. And they did.”
Ryan there is no reason that you should hang any of this loss around the necks of the Steelers defense. If Ben Roethlisberger does not throw two picks that the Bengals turned into 10 points, all the Steelers would have had to do this weekend would be to beat the Browns at Heinz Field.
Now let’s get to the very, very, very, suspect NFL officiating. What is more heinous than a corrupt police chief? As far as I am concerned, it is the crooked cops that are subordinate to his rule. One of the first questionable calls was the “unsportsmanlike conduct” call on Steelers defensive lineman Brett Kiesel in the first quarter after he sacked Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton.
Finally, Roethlisberger has been quietly feuding with the Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley. No one seems to mind that Roethlisberger can be arrogant, insolent and insubordinate to Haley, who has remained graceful and classy under the most difficult of circumstances. The Steelers are very lucky to have landed him. I hope that he remains after this season. Trust me, there are many teams that would love to run his “dink and dunk” offense, especially if it meant relieving pressure on a quarterback who holds the ball too long in order to perpetuate, “guts and glory.” Has Roethlisberger taken too many hits over the years that his judgment has become clouded by maybe, just maybe one too many blows to the head? The Steelers had better start a serious youth movement because if they don’t, in forty years they will be celebrating the “Immaculate Interception” and “Immaculate Deception” instead of the sacred ‘Immaculate Reception’.
Note: I am saddened to inform all of my readers and listeners that after almost a decade of radio appearances on WCWA Fox Sports Toledo my last appearance was Thursday. Close to ten years ago, I initially appeared on the Troy Neff show as an NFL pregame analyst. When that show was cancelled I was then invited to appear as a regular co-host on the “Odd Couple Sports Show” produced and hosted by one of the former producers of the ‘Troy Neff’ show Adam Ragle. I reported from three Super Bowls, two Thanksgiving Day games and two NFL Pro Bowls. I am forever grateful that Troy Neff, Adam Ragle, Chris Shmidbauer and Fox Sports radio gave me the opportunity to reach thousands of listeners in the Toledo, Ohio and Detroit Michigan markets.
(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-583-6741.)