Trouble in Pittsburgh? “Nuh-Uh” says Big Ben


I like Ben Roethlisberger. The guy has a big arm, doesn’t bring his bimbo girlfriends around for important games, and he’s a winner. But there’s something about him that bugs me. I can’t explain why exactly but the above interview, given to Jim Rome last week, is a perfect example of where this feeling comes from.

Ben says everything between him and WR Hines Ward is just groovy. Nope. No problems here. If only those gosh darn stupid sportswriters would stop misquoting him and trying to stir up shit. Notice how he mentions calling Hines only after Ward issued his infamous tear-stained statement. Also notice how when Rome asks Ben if he wanted to take back what he said, he scrambles to explain how what he said was perfectly innocent and it was the headline starved Pittsburgh football writers who twisted his words to create an issue. It’s like the guy can never admit fault. Well, he does say he’s given up riding motorcycles, helmetless or otherwise, so I guess he learns from his mistakes even if he won’t admit to them.

I’m also a little bothered by his answers to Rome’s questions about the three costly interceptions in the heart-breaking Jacksonville playoff loss. Only one of those throws was bad? He only wishes he could have one of them back? Way to be a leader, Ben. Way to shoulder the responsibility for your team. No wonder his teammates voted LB James Harrison the team MVP this season.

This reminds me of years ago when QB Neil O’Donnell was paid off by Jerry Jones single-handedly lost Super Bowl XXX by throwing two horrendous interceptions. In the post-game interview, O’Donnell, stand up guy that he is, said the picks were caused by “certain people not being where they were supposed to be.” You never hear Tom Brady blaming his receivers. You never hear Peyton Manning blaming his receivers. Oh, he’ll throw his offensive linemen under the bus without a second thought but not his wide outs.

Look, I know being an NFL quarterback is probably the most demanding position in all of sports. And I know you have to possess a certain level of swagger and confidence so when you throw an interception or have a bad game you put it behind you and move on to the next play or game. But there’s a fine line between being Joe Namath and being Jim McMahon. One is a confident, headstrong leader while the other is simply an obnoxious loudmouth jock. Say what you want about Tony Romo but, as evidenced by T.O. and his sissy girl crying jag, his teammates are completely behind him. Despite Big Ben’s assurances, I’m not entirely sold that his team feels the same way about him.