Big Ben Roethlisberger says Steelers tradition might be done

Ben Roethlisberger has a dismal view of the state of the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise.

“Maybe the tradition of the Pittsburgh Steelers is done,” he said on his podcast, “Footbahlin with Ben Roethlisberger.”

Big Ben was reacting to the team’s dismal 21-18 loss to the lowly New England Patriots on Thursday. He didn’t like the way that game ended either, calling out coach Mike Tomlin. Trying to rally late, Pittsburgh didn’t have its full complement of timeouts, having had to use some earlier to get organized.

“You can’t afford in the second half of games to burn silly timeouts and to not have them late in the game,” Roethlisberger said. “To me, that’s bad coaching.”

He added: “There’s some feel you have to have in those situations because timeouts can be so valuable, as we saw in this game. If we have one more timeout there, we get a completion, we can work the middle of the field and all you got to do is give Boz [Chris Boswell] a 60-yard chance. Give him a chance and he’ll tie the game. I like my chances in overtime because they scored all their points early and the momentum had shifted.”

Roethlisberger is not used to seeing Pittsburgh consistently struggle. The defense has had to overcome an inconsistent offense to keep the team in playoff contention at 7-6. The Steelers didn’t make the postseason in their first year without Roethlisberger.

He never even had a losing season in nearly two decades in Pittsburgh. He won two Super Bowls and lost in a third. Most importantly, he continued the tradition of tough football in the Steel City.

He doesn’t see that same fire.

“Who is grabbing someone by the face mask and saying, ‘That’s not what we do,'” he said. “Is that happening? Yes, you have guys on defense doing it, but you need guys on other sides of the ball doing it. … You need someone to stand up in that room, on offense, and be like, hey, this isn’t what it means to wear the black and gold.

“This isn’t what has been handed down from those teams of the ’70s. The Steel Curtain, the four Super Bowls, the Nolls, the Bradshaws, the Blounts. All those people, it’s unbelievable.”

Roethlisberger burst onto the scene as a rookie, winning his first 13 games. The team finished 15-1 and ultimately lost to the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. Pittsburgh won it all the next season.

But Roethlisberger said he wasn’t even the leader of the offense. He said the likes of veterans Jerome Bettis and Hines Ward set the tone.

He wonders who is setting the tone now, carrying on the Black and Gold tradition.

“I understand the further you get away from that, the harder it is unless it’s being passed down and carried the right way,” he said. “It just feels like that’s something that’s been lost on this team. I’ve felt that certain guys on the team aren’t in it for the team, they’re in it for themselves. Well, now some of the guys on the team are saying the same thing.”

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