Letter to Big Ben: Get Over It

Dear Ben Roethlisberger,

I hope that you are feeling better from all of those aches and sprains you suffered during the season. God only knows how high your pain tolerance is and although we in the Steeler Nation criticize you for many things, your toughness can never be questioned. However, your judgment has been muddled over the offensive coordinator Bruce Arians's "retirement." Sources tell ESPN that you fought for Arians's job once again but alas, could not save him. Reports say that you are not happy about it at all. In many aspects, this futile attempt at saving Arians was like this season you just had. Inconsistent and just falling short.

You definitely are aware of how many in Steeler Nation despised Arians. With weapons like Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Heath Miller, Rashard Mendenhall and you, the Steelers should have easily been one of the top ten scoring offenses in the NFL this season. Alas, that was not so. The Steelers had two 1,000 yard receivers in Wallace and Brown, a 4,000 yard passer (you), and nearly had a 1,000 yard rusher had Mendenhall not torn his ACL in the final day of the season. However, the Steelers inside the 20 yard line looked just atrocious. Touchdowns were tough to come by and Shaun Suisham was getting way too many chances for our liking.

Usually the coordinator job serves as a lightning rod for fanbases. In the case of the Steelers, Arians was the lightning rod. His NFL resume was not impressive. It looked like Arians's best trait was that he was really friendly with you and Hines Ward, among other members of the offense. That should have been the first sign of trouble. Most workplaces have rules and regulations against fraternization between supervisor and employee. Arians was your friend and that is clouding your judgment here.

Second, Arians was not very good at his job. Many times, you, Ben, were the best offensive coordinator. When you ran the no-huddle, the Steelers' offense looked like it was in rhythm, the much maligned offensive line looked able, and the team often scored touchdowns. You made many forget how bad the playcalling was with your scrambling ability. I seriously doubt Arians told you to scramble out of the pocket for five seconds, shake off two defensive linemen, and then heave the ball 40 yards downfield to Wallace. I seriously doubt that was in Arians's playbook.

You really liked Arians because you like having no one to answer to. It is no secret that Ken Whisenhunt and you had disagreements when Whiz ran the offense. Trust me when I say this Ben: Whiz's job was to coach you to become the best possible quarterback you could be and help the Steelers win games. If you felt hurt by Whiz telling you to do something you disagreed with, then you should seriously think about being a hermit where you don't ever have to hear anyone criticize you.

Arians, because he was your friend and was spineless, allowed you to play with nearly no accountability whatsoever. You take a sack that took the Steelers out of field goal range? Arians likely never said anything to you. You scramble around like a headless chicken, looking for the big throw when a back is open in the flats? Arians likely never said anything to you. If he did, then you did not listen, which is another article for another day. However, the lack of accountability should never stand at all. Not for you, not for Tom Brady, not for Aaron Rodgers, no one.

I know that you counted your blessings that Arians remained the offensive coordinator for five seasons without so much as a phone call from another team. However, did you not think that was strange? I mean, Brian Schottenheimer got head coaching interviews and he gets killed by fans on a daily basis! Cam Cameron even got other job offers after his disaster in Miami. Arians? Absolutely nothing. The rest of the league thought Arians was garbage. Don't tell me about age either. Romeo Crennel was just named to his second head coaching job and he is in his 60s.

The Arians decision could only come from one man: Art Rooney II. He is the custodian of the Steelers and the head of the Steeler Nation. You wielded so much influence that even head coach Mike Tomlin could not fire Arians. Neither could general manager Kevin Colbert. The decision to not retain an assistant coach had to come from ownership. That is just sad.

While you are no doubt one of the biggest reasons for the Steelers' success, you are not the only reason. The defense played well for most of your eight season career. You also had a Hall of Fame receiver like Hines Ward and Pro Bowl receivers like Wallace, Brown and Miller. Sure, the offensive line was not the best, but Arians never really took it into account while he called one receiver screen or a deep pass after another, often putting your health in peril. It seemed to me you would much rather lose throwing 40 times a game in high wind than win throwing 20 times a game.

I still think the term "game manager" and the fact that you are seldom mentioned with the elite QBs like Brady, Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Peyton Manning still bother you. Because of this, you want to throw the ball like they do. Arians allowed you to do that. You always say that winning is the most important thing. If Arians leaving the team brought another Super Bowl next season with you handing the ball off more with a fullback leading, would you be upset? Right now, I have doubts about where your head is. Please prove me wrong and be a team guy about this. After all, it is the Pittsburgh Steelers, not the Ben Roethlisbergers.


Steeler Nation

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