With the departure of Bruce Arians as Steelers offensive coordinator last week, it was only a matter of time before Ben Roethlisberger shared his feelings on the matter. Not surprisingly, Big Ben wasn't exactly happy about Arians' exit, and he has stated that he wants to have a heart-to-heart with team President Art Rooney II to get a feel for what the boss wants, and where the owner sees the offense heading in the future.
What Big Ben said is not sitting well with many in Steeler Nation. I can't say that I'm surprised. Even before Roethlisberger weighed in with his thoughts, many Steelers fans were hoping he would keep his mouth shut about Arians' dismissal and just accept that his offensive coordinator was gone.
There are many who want Roethlisberger to just keep quiet, period, as if the title of franchise quarterback wields no power whatsoever. Well, nothing can be further from the truth, especially when it's a quarterback who has accomplished as much as No. 7 has in his first eight seasons.
Roethlisberger is 80-33 in his career as a starter and 10-4 in postseason games--including a 2-1 record in three trips to the Super Bowl. I'd say he's earned the right to voice his opinions and deserves to know what direction his bosses will want him to steer the ship in the immediate future.
You might say that other players like Troy Polamalu and James Farrior have earned the right to have an equal say, and to a point they have, but make no mistake, when you're an elite quarterback in the NFL, you have the most clout. In addition to those stats I just rattled off, there are 100 million other reasons why Ben Roethlisberger is more than just "one of the guys."
If I were the Rooney family, the front office, and Coach Tomlin, I'd want my starting quarterback to have the guts to voice his opinion.You want him to be the leader. Should he have gone through the proper chain of command and knocked on Tomlin's door first? Who's to say he didn't? Regardless of whether or not he kept his mouth shut, Roethlisberger was going to have that sit-down with Rooney, and sooner or later, it was going to come out. And I can almost guarantee you the reaction would have been the same: "Who does he think he is?"
I'll tell you who he is. He's a quarterback who is in the same class as players named Brady, Manning and Rodgers. And regardless of where he is in the pecking-order, he's part of an exclusive club, and every single one of those guys has power within their organization, and their opinion matters to their bosses.
Roethlisberger should be no different.
Some people think that Big Ben should be kept in the dark about the direction of the offense, that he should have no input at all. I don't agree with that sentiment. The franchise quarterback should absolutely be part of the brain-trust in finding the next coordinator and shaping the type of offense the Steelers are going to run.
I can't believe anyone would want it any other way.
You don't think Tom Brady has an influence on the Patriots offense? What about Drew Brees or Eli Manning in their respective systems? Of course they do.
There are also some that feel that Roethlisberger would benefit from having an offensive coordinator that he couldn't be close with. In-fact, people have said that a coach who is more a of disciplinarian is what Roethlsiberger needs. Maybe if he was 22 or 23 and right out of college, but Big Ben will be 30 years old the next time he throws a football in a meaningful game, and he's earned the right to have a coach that he can be comfortable with. It doesn't have to be someone that he takes to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl, but he doesn't need someone getting in his face at every turn. In my opinion, that would be counter-productive.
Dick Lebeau is one of the best defensive coordinators who ever coached in the NFL--he owns a yellow jacket that proves that much--but he's also one of the most beloved by his players. Coach Dad has proven that a coordinator can treat his charges with respect and still get them to play up to their highest potential.
Finally, a successful quarterback is like a star of a television show. Is he technically the boss? No, but there would be no show without the big star, and if you bring in a new director, the star and the director need to be able to work together in-order to get the best out of the character.
Regardless of what you think of him, Ben Roethlisberger was the single-most important ingredient in the team's recent Super Bowl success. Moving forward, he'll continue to be the most important ingredient in the organization's quest for future championships.
I think his opinion should count for something.