The 2020 Pittsburgh Steelers offense was confusing. It was dynamic at times, and painfully predictable at other junctures. Nonetheless, throughout the season there were moments when we wondered who was running the show.
Was it offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner?
Was it Ben Roethlisberger?
Throughout the season, there was a constant dispute about who was actually calling plays from time to time. You had receives talking about Roethlisberger drawing up plays in the proverbial dirt, only to have Fichtner dispute those claims when he met with the media the following week.
You would have times when Roethlisberger would talk openly about getting his receivers in position and running an offense off the cuff, only to have Fichtner suggest he was telling Roethlisbeger what to do via the coach-to-quarterback helmet system.
Unless you are in the locker room, or are a part of the organization, we will never truly know who was the one calling the plays/setting the offense on a weekly basis. Some say Fichtner was just Roethlisberger’s puppet and did whatever he wanted. Others suggest Fichtner was the one calling the shots, but he was just horrible at his job.
Either way, Fichtner is now gone as offensive coordinator, but that doesn’t mean the intrigue doesn’t remain. While joining the Bleacher Report Gridiron podcast, Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey told a story about playing the Steelers, and what he heard Ben Roethlisberger telling his receivers during the game.
Take a listen:
“Is he…telling them the play?”— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) May 11, 2021
Ravens CB @marlon_humphrey describes being able to hear Big Ben tell Steelers WRs what routes to run
(via @AdamLefkoe) pic.twitter.com/dU8F9Uf0nm
Yes, you heard him correctly. He heard Roethlisberger literally telling his receivers what routes to run as the game was going on. Now, this isn’t too uncommon, but typically the system is a little more sophisticated, even in a 2-minute drill. Think about it, did anyone ever see Tom Brady or Peyton Manning verbally telling receivers what to do? I can’t remember, but I know most of the time it is done via hand signals, etc.
This just puts a cherry on top of the 2020 Steelers offense. It was head scratching from start to finish, but we now can put it to bed and look forward to Matt Canada taking over in 2021.
It can’t be worse, right?
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the 2021 regular season.