Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger talks playoff woes, points to ‘coddled’ players

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Former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger gave his opinion on the state of football today, saying he feels the mentality of players has shifted “from a team-first to a me-type attitude.” 

In a wide-ranging interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Roethlisberger expressed frustration over his final years with the Steelers and seemed to point to a shift in team dynamics as a contributing factor in his playoff woes. 

Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers reacts as he walks off the field after being defeated by the Kansas City Chiefs 42-21 in an NFC wild-card game at Arrowhead Stadium Jan. 16, 2022, in Kansas City, Mo. 

Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers reacts as he walks off the field after being defeated by the Kansas City Chiefs 42-21 in an NFC wild-card game at Arrowhead Stadium Jan. 16, 2022, in Kansas City, Mo. 
(Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

“I feel like the game has changed. I feel like the people have changed in a sense. Maybe it’s because I got spoiled when I came in. The team was so important. It was all about the team. Now, it’s about me and this, that and the other,” he explained. 

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“I might be standing on a soapbox a little bit, but that’s my biggest takeaway from when I started to the end. It turned from a team-first to a me-type attitude. It was hard.” 

Roethlisberger finished his career with two Super Bowl titles, six Pro Bowl selections and as the 2004 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year. He retired with 64,088 passing yards and 418 touchdown passes but won just three playoff games after 2010.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger waves to fans before he leaves the field after a game against the Cleveland Browns Jan. 3, 2022, in Pittsburgh.  

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger waves to fans before he leaves the field after a game against the Cleveland Browns Jan. 3, 2022, in Pittsburgh.  
(AP Photo/Don Wright)

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“It’s hard for these young guys, too. Social media. They’re treated so well in college. Now, this new NIL stuff, which is unbelievable. They’re treated so special. They’re coddled at a young age because college coaches need them to win, too,” Roethlisberger continued. “I know coach [Terry] Hoeppner never coddled me [at Miami of Ohio]. Neither did [Bill] Cowher.”

Roethlisberger led the Steelers to a franchise-best 11-0 start in 2020 before finishing 12-4 and eventually losing to the Cleveland Browns in the playoffs. He returned for one more season. 

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger reacts to a penalty call during the second half of a game against the Kansas City Chiefs Dec. 26, 2021, in Kansas City, Mo.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger reacts to a penalty call during the second half of a game against the Kansas City Chiefs Dec. 26, 2021, in Kansas City, Mo.
(AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

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“I thought I went out on my terms. I never wanted to stay too long. I know some people might think I did. ‘You stayed last year.’ But I thought I played pretty well last year, to be honest,” Roethlisberger said. “My arm feels like I still could go out and play. I’m pretty confident I could still play. But it’s every day. It’s mental. Not having to prepare for camp and the season has been the biggest blessing for me. I’m fine with where I’m at with everything.”

Paulina Dedaj is a Digital Reporter for Fox News and Fox Business. Follow Paulina Dedaj on Twitter at @PaulinaDedaj. If you’ve got a tip, you can email Paulina at Paulina.Dedaj@fox.com

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