The Steelers are under fire, including from legends of the team. That includes Ben Roethlisberger, who dished out some tough love to his team. He blasted the coaching in the game, specifically, the inability to manage timeouts correctly. All of that added up to a fiery rant from Roethlisberger that ended in him deeming that bad coaching. Of course, they would be a shot at Mike Tomlin and his staff.
“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 on his podcast, Footbahlin. “To me, that’s bad coaching. 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 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.”
It would lead Roethlisberger to conclude that the old guard might be dead in the locker room. The idea that the Steelers’ way exists to Roethlisberger might be out of line, which could mean that the Steelers’ way itself is dead.
“Maybe the tradition of the Pittsburgh Steelers is done,” Roethlisberger said. “Who is grabbing someone by the face mask and saying, ‘That’s not what we do.’ Is that happening? Yes, you have guys on defense doing it, but you need guys on both 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.”’
Those whispers reached back to the Steelers locker room, where one of Roethlisberger’s former teammates, Najee Harris, responded to the idea that the Steelers way is dead. Roethlisberger was not the only person to make that comment this week, as safety Ryan Clark said that ‘zero people’ care about it anymore. But Harris shrugged it off.
“Ben can have his opinion,” Harris said. “I’m not trying to sit here and say if he’s right or wrong. I don’t know how to answer that. Ben is a Hall of Famer. Ben’s obviously been here, he’s won a Super Bowl and he knows what the standard is as someone credible. I got here his last year, so I can’t really say I know what the Steeler way is, but he’s been here with Troy, been here with Jerome. He knows that. So, someone on the outside sees that, he’s been on this field, so maybe you can guess and say he’s right. But I don’t know.”
Despite back-to-back losses to 2-10 teams at home, the Steelers still hold the No. 6 seed in the AFC Playoff picture. The season can still be salvaged, they just need to take it one game at a time and win on Saturday in Indianapolis. Leaders such as Fitzpatrick, Watt and Heyward can only do so much. They need the rest of the players to buy-in. If not and things continue to unravel, expect sweeping changes with the coaching staff and roster in the 2024 offseason.