Mike Tomlin Can Thank Ben Roethlisberger For Pittsburgh Steelers Culture Demise

Things are bleak in Pittsburgh these days as the once promising season for the Steelers is hanging by a thread following their third consecutive loss.

For a team that’s lost four of five games to drop from 6-3 to 7-7, things don’t look promising going forward. This team looks disjointed and completely undisciplined which are two things you usually don’t associate with Steelers football.

The offense is as stale as the league has ever seen, and even with former offensive coordinator Matt Canada out of the picture, things don’t seem to be improving.

Last week former Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger went on an epic rant where he questioned if the Steelers tradition as we once knew it was dying.

That was followed by Saturday’s ugly 30-13 road loss to the Indianapolis Colts, a team they’ve historically owned with a 26-7 record versus them since 1957.

That meant nothing in NapTown on Saturday, and it now leaves head coach Mike Tomlin searching for answers and trying to salvage the season. 


A Dejected Tomlin Talks Changes

Speaking in his postgame interview, Tomlin was unusually sullen as he talked to reporters. 

“Let’s be honest. We’re a fundamentally poor football team right now,” Tomlin said. “We’re playing losing football. I take responsibility for that. By losing football I mean we’re just not doing fundamental things well enough. We’re not. We’re turning the ball over. We’re highly penalized. We don’t play good in situations. So, I’m just acknowledging that.”

Tomlin also made it clear that “everything’s on the table,” as it pertains to possible changes. One change he likely should look into is at quarterback, and with second-year player Kenny Pickett injured and not showing much progression this season, and former No. 2 overall pick Mitchell Trubisky looking like the lemon he is, he should go back to Mason Rudolph, who can’t be any worse.

It looks as if the Steelers took the wrong QB in the 2022 NFL draft in Pickett, a first-round selection. That brings us back to Ben Roethlisberger questioning the team’s tradition. 

Ben Overstayed His Welcome, Hated On Pickett

Hearing Big Ben complain about his former team is warranted in some ways. But in retrospect he’s to blame for some of the team’s inability to move forward with their offensive plan.

The six-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time Super Bowl champion played 18 seasons for the Steelers, and, honestly, it was two to three seasons too long.

That in some sense hindered the team from moving forward with their succession plan to find their next signal caller.

During a recent episode of ESPN’s “First Take,” Stephen A. Smith — a Steelers fan himself — fired back at Big Ben for his comments, using the same analogy. 

“Your hands ain’t clean in all of this,” Smith said. “Aren’t you somewhat responsible for the transitioning as it pertains to culture? Particularly when Mike Tomlin was there? And you’re there … you stayed too long. Last three years in the league, Ben Roethlisberger should’ve been gone. He was a statue.”

Roethlisberger’s reluctance to hang up the cleats stunted the team’s ability to bring in a young QB to be his successor, which is a huge problem right now.

While he’s earned the right to speak, he must also know that he’s not completely absolved from the stuff he’s complaining about as pertains to the Steelers’ struggles. 

If things don’t change the Steelers will likely miss the playoffs and even Tomlin’s record 16 consecutive non-losing seasons to begin a coaching career will come to an end in a year it looked certain to reach 17 seasons. 

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