You go as far as your quarterback. And you go as far as your leaders will take you.
For Ben Roethlisberger, both statements apply. His play and leadership has helped propel the Pittsburgh Steelers to be winners of seven straight and one of the NFL’s hottest teams at a time where being in a groove is critical.
Todd Haley spoke to those qualities Roethlisberger has and the effect it has on the team.
“He’s in it for one reason that I can to see. And that’s to put another trophy in the room,” Haley said of Ben, via Steelers.com. “We’re in this thing now. Every game is the most important game of the year. And he’s obviously acting like that. I really believe he doesn’t care if we do it by running, throwing, even if we call Wildcat out there, he’s going to do whatever gives us the best chance to win.”
Leading by example rubs off on the rest of the group, especially the young players who have never been in this position before.
“He’s the leader of our team. Especially with the young guys he has around him, a pretty good group of young guys, they’re watching and paying attention all the time. And listening to every little thing he says or does.”
That gives Roethlisberger hidden value even on days and games where he hasn’t played up to snuff, which, unfortunately, have been a bit too common in 2016. But Roethlisberger plays his best when the spotlight is on him and challenges the rest of the group to meet that moment.
Playing in the cold, and it’s going to be a chilly one Sunday, doesn’t bother him either.
“He’s a guy who grew up in this area of the country. He’s big, he’s got big hands. Some guys just enjoy it more than others.”
Rain, snow, cold, injury, Roethlisberger will be there for the battle and rally the rest of his team. That’d be a good place for Sports Illustrated to start if they want to find out how he’s changed over the years.