If there is a man who knows the inner workings of Ben Roethlisberger, it would be his former offensive coordinator, and friend, Bruce Arians. Although now the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and preparing for the Super Bowl, Arians was asked about his time with Tom Brady in 2020.
Of course, leading up to the Super Bowl more questions are asked, and Arians was asked about all the quarterbacks he has worked with in his career. For those that don’t know, Arians has worked with the likes of Brady, Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning and even Andrew Luck.
When asked what he has learned about quarterbacks he has come across during his time as a coach, and his comment about Roethlisberger raised eyebrows. When it comes to learning/game prep, Arians was candid.
“Ben, he didn’t want that. Didn’t want to overload him. He just wanted to go play.” Arians said.
This per Brooke Pryor of ESPN:
Bruce Arians talking about what he's learned about QBs he's working with, says of Ben Roethlisberger, there wasn't the same kind of learning/prep style as Brady/Manning/Luck— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) February 3, 2021
"Ben, he didn't want that. Didn't want to overload him. He just wanted to go play."
As you can imagine, when this hit social media, the Pittsburgh Steelers fan base wasn’t pleased. The comment wreaked of a similar story Emmanuel Sanders sang when he left Pittsburgh and started catching passes from Peyton Manning with the Denver Broncos.
However, before fans jump to conclusions, if they haven’t already, reading the full quote and getting the full context of Arians’ comments is needed.
This per Jon Ledyard, who covers the Buccaneers for the Pewter Report:
Interesting quote from Bruce Arians, contrasting the preparation of QBs he’s coached like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady with Ben Roethlisberger pic.twitter.com/DqwiGZhqYf— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) February 3, 2021
For those who might not be able to see the full quote, here it is:
“With Tom [Brady], there’s not much to tweak, it’s just a matter of verbiage. When he came in when we were talking in free agency about one guy learning the language versus another 20 guys learning the language, because they had been in the system. He was all in as far as learning the system. There’s not much to tweak, he definitely knows how to take care of himself, he’s a great great player, his preparation reminds me so much of Peyton Manning, those two guys set the bar as far as preparation for the guys that I have coached.
“Ben [Roethlisberger] didn’t want that stuff, he just liked to go play, and he knew what he was doing, but didn’t want to overload him. Andrew Luck was the same way, he was so smart. But all these guys have a grit about them that they can will themselves on other people and make them win.”
It is possible fans expect their football players, especially quarterbacks, to be the Manning and Brady types. The quarterbacks who eat, sleep and breathe football. The film junkies. I think it has been well-documented how this hasn’t been Roethlisberger’s style. He has become more of an analytical player as a veteran, but never to the point where fans would be happy.
If you are honest with yourself, you didn’t need Arians’ most recent comment to tell you this about Roethlisberger, but that won’t stop it from creating a firestorm of criticism among the global Steelers fan base.
What do you think of Arians’ comments? Let us know in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the new league year, NFL Free Agency and the 2021 NFL Draft.