By: Ryan Cooley
Ben Roethlisberger has taken a vast amount of criticism this offseason, but does he really deserve it? Ben is a six-time pro bowler, and two-time super bowl champion and is without a doubt a future Hall of Famer, a first ballot at that. Most players in these circumstances do not fall under fire as Ben has, so why exactly is he under all of this scrutiny.
Playing quarterback does not mean you simply throw the ball well and make good decisions on the field. The position of quarterback entitles much more than that, and leadership is a trait that is essential to be a successful NFL QB. While Ben has one of the best arms, he does not possess the leadership trait most quarterbacks have.
I began questioning Ben’s leadership after week 15 in the 2017 season, in which the Steelers lost to the Patriots in a nail-biting game that ended 27-24. Down by three at the Patriots 7-yd line, the Steelers ran a fake spike which ended with Ben throwing into double coverage ultimately getting picked off, ending the game. After the game, instead of saying I made a mistake and the game is on me like most QBs would, he instead pushed the blame to the coaching staff because “they said to run the fake spike.” His deflection to the coaching staff did not make much sense to me since he was the one that threw into double coverage instead of throwing it away.
As an NFL quarterback, you are required to deflect 100% of the praise and absorb 100% of the blame. Like it or not, that is one of the unwritten rules and Ben seems not to understand that. Sure there are times when he will go on the radio and take some of the blame, but “some” is not “all.”
The game against the Patriots is not the only example; he replicated nearly the same dilemma when he threw the game losing interception at the goal line against the Broncos this past season. Instead of taking the blame, he once again passed it along, this time to standout WR Antonio Brown for “not running a good enough route.”
Now that Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell have departed from the Steelers organization, they have let their genuine thoughts of Big Ben out. Brown has said that Ben has an “owners mentality” and Bell has voiced that Ben was a factor in why he wished to not continue his career in Pittsburgh.
While Roethlisberger is not the sole reason the Steelers have been in disarray the past seasons and drove their two best players out the door, you cannot deny the fact he is apart of a problem; Thus, leaving us with questions about the true greatness of the quarterback.