Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger took the league by storm as a rookie in 2004 when he rattled off 14 straight wins as a starter after Tommy Maddox went down injured in the second game of the season. Despite losing to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game that season, Roethlisberger showed that his rookie season wasn\’t a mirage as he led the Steelers to their fifth Super Bowl championship in only his second season in the league.
Now, at 31 years of age and entering his 10th season in the league, Roethlisberger said in an interview on Thursday that he wants to wait and see if those young quarterbacks can do it again in their second season before he lavishes each of them with high praise.
“People ask me all the time about these young quarterbacks,” Roethlisberger told the USA Today after wrapping up his first OTA session of the 2013 season on Thursday. “Let\’s wait. One year does not mean a lot in this league. Let\’s see what happens in two, three years.
“I\’m not trying to take anything away from them. I think they did some great things last year, and they all have the potential to be great quarterbacks. But you don\’t want people to jump on their bandwagon so fast and put so much pressure on them to live up to those expectations. My advice to them is to keep doing what you\’re doing, playing as hard as you can because people will keep trying to build you up and it could get tough.”
As Jarrett Bell points out in the article, the young quarterbacks that Roethlisberger was referring to are of course Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson. Three of those quarterbacks led their respective teams to the playoffs as rookies in 2012 with Kaepernick leading the San Francisco 49ers all the way to the Super Bowl where they lost to the Ravens in his second season, but first as a starter.
While the selected quotes certainly make Roethlisberger come off as a grumpy old quarterback that is shaking his fist at the younger quarterbacks playing in his front yard, I think that the Steelers quarterback is just trying to keep them all grounded and keep everything in perspective. Context is everything, however, and unfortunately we don\’t have the full audio or transcript of the interview to objectively judge the comments. Like it or not, others already are.
Although the Top 100 Players of 2013 show that is currently airing weekly on the NFL Network means absolutely nothing, we already know that Roethlisberger was ranked the 12th overall quarterback on the list this year. Of the four other quarterbacks listed above, the only one that ranked lower than Roethlisberger is Kaepernick. Perhaps that is what has the Steelers quarterback a little miffed, but we are only speculating. If he is indeed miffed, he has a right to be.