The Steel City Stare Down Between Roethlisberger & Haley Needs To End Soon

The Pittsburgh Steelers introduced Todd Haley has their new offensive coordinator last Thursday and according to an interview Tuesday evening with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the two still haven\’t sat down to talk to each other yet. Is it a huge deal? Likely not in the grand scheme of things perhaps, but it is an important deal nonetheless.

This post is not designed to choose sides as much as it is to point out how ridiculous it looks to those of us on the outside, and perhaps also to the local media in addition. Certainly both Roethlisberger and Haley own cell phones and can easily get the number of each. From the outside it looks like both are trying to posture and get into some sick sort of Steel City stare down contest.

We know Roethlisberger knows how to use a phone as evidenced by his phone interview that he gave to Mike Prisuta and in that same interview he talked about how he has called a lot of players that have played for Haley to get their opinion of him. On the flip side I assume Haley is tucked away deep in the shadows of a Southside dark film room and is pouring over years and years of game tape. I am going to go out on a limb and speculate that there is a phone within walking distance of that film room.

It is understandable that Roethlisberger has his concerns, some of which he got answers to when he talked to team president Art Rooney II and head coach Mike Tomlin since he returned from Hawaii. The rest he needs to air out to Haley.

Both have taken shots through the media as Haley made a point to say during his introductory press conference, “If you are sensitive, this is probably not the best place to be.” Was that aimed at mostly Roethlisberger? Did Roethlisberger take it as if it was aimed at him? One can only guess, but my guess is that it was aimed mostly at Ben and Ben took it that way.

Roethlisberger sent back a shot of his own in the interview with Prisuta when he was asked about how he likes being yelled at personally when he stated, “I\’ve been yelled at, it\’s not fun to be yelled at. I don\’t think anyone likes it, but to me, you get just as much, if not more, out of me if you just talk to me, whether I screw up or do good. Just talk to me or so we can work through my reasoning instead of getting yelled at.” Now you may think that Prisuta baited Roethlisberger with that question, but Ben surely knew what Prisuta was getting at.

Whose job is it to call who first? Is Haley already sending the message that the two are not going to be golfing together any time soon, and letting Ben know that if he needs something, that it is his job to come to him? Does Roethlisberger really think that putting his concerns out there to everyone except Haley will really soften the stance of Haley and the direction he intends to go in?

Both are clearly trying to mark their territory and I am sure the rest of the offense sits in limbo as a result. Sure they are all a ways away from hitting the field for practices and diving head first into the playbook, but I can imagine that Roethlisberger is perceived as the spokesmen for the rest of the offense and minister of the information he receives. That is good as long as it does not become an “us against them” type situation, which it clearly looks like it has thus far from the outside.

I think both are clearly in the wrong thus far for letting this escalate to the level that it has just five days after Haley was introduced as the new offensive coordinator. Someone needs to be the bigger man here and blink first, and I suggest that it be Roethlisberger that does it. The sooner the shit can hit the fan, the sooner it can be cleaned up and the team move forward.

Like it or not, there is a new sheriff in town and Roethlisberger needs to go out into the street and welcome him like the town mayor would. That way everyone else on the offense can breathe and both Roethlisberger and Haley can stop running around with dried out and tired eyes. For God\’s sake, somebody please blink.