The problem with players who turn into media members after their retirement, fans expect them to remain loyal to the franchise they used to call their employer. When a former member of the Pittsburgh Steelers criticizes the Steelers, fans scream treason and become agitated with their behavior.
Some former players, like Jerome Bettis, toe that line with grace, while others, like Ryan Clark, have no problem calling out the Steelers for missteps along the way. You can chalk former Steelers CB Rod Woodson into the latter grouping, and he most recently criticized the black-and-gold on an episode of the Zach Gelb Show.
Woodson’s criticism spanned from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to head coach Mike Tomlin, and while some of his comments were off base for a myriad of reasons, some of them were certainly justified.
First, his remarks regarding Ben Roethlisberger’s leadership as the quarterback of the Steelers:
“I would like to see (Ben) be a leader of Ben first,” Woodson said. “Great leaders normally take the responsibility when things go wrong, even if it’s not their fault. Once you do that, everybody else falls in line. I’d like to see him do that more often.”
What Woodson might want to check into is how many times it is Roethlisberger saying he has to be better after a loss. Sure, Roethlisberger’s comments on his weekly radio show are controversial, but those shouldn’t negate all the times he fell on the sword after the team failed to live up to the standard of expectation in Pittsburgh.
As for Mike Tomlin, even he wasn’t immune from Woodson’s criticism:
“The one thing I can say about Mike: He’s a good coach,” adde Woodson. “The only thing I would like to see him do more is have a little more thumbs-down on his players. It’s like having 53 teenagers. If you’ve got 53 teenagers, you’re not going to let your teenagers just run the roost in your house. If they do something wrong, you have to discipline them in some type of manner to catch their attention. I think the same thing has to happen in the locker room. If he does that, he’s going to be fine. I think the football team is in a good position.”
This very well could be the truth considering the stories we have all read, and heard, regarding how Tomlin holds certain players to different standards when it comes to discipline.
Woodson continued on how Tomlin could utilize discipline to help the team win more:
“Players want the discipline. Players want to be challenged. But you have to do it in the right manner,” he said. “Every player can’t be spoken to the same way. As we said in Oakland, you always have to learn your learners. Bill Belichick is a no-nonsense guy – and the players now it. They know what they can and cannot do around Bill. I think they have that same mindset with Mike. I would just like to see Mike (discipline more). When Antonio did his Instagram live feed in the locker room several years ago, the next week he would have been suspended for me if I was the coach.”
Easy for Woodson to say, considering he isn’t the head coach of the team, but there is some truth to his words. But the underlying factor here is when you are the head coach, and you are someone who has a job where you are celebrated, or chastised, on whether you win or lose, you want to have your best players available to you. If Tomlin suspended Brown for the Facebook Live video, he would have been without one of his best players in the AFC Championship game.
Think about the criticism if that would have happened...
Just to reiterate what was stated earlier. There is a lot of truth to Woodson’s comments, and some comments were not warranted. Nonetheless, fans can’t be upset with Woodson for his opinions. He is no longer employed by the Steelers, so his thoughts and opinions on the team are his, and his alone.
Do you agree, or disagree, with Woodson’s comments? Let us know in the comment section below!