Discussing the play of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger at home versus on the road certainly isn’t anything new. Heck, I know Matthew Marczi and myself have written a few posts on that very topic over the course of the last few seasons. This past weekend, however, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was once again back home in Virginia for the annual Hampton Roads Youth Foundation event and during a short interview on the Roto Experts podcast, ‘On Target Fantasy Football,’ he was asked if there’s anything specifically he would care to share as to why Roethlisberger hasn’t statistically been as good of a quarterback on the road than he’s been at home, on average, over the course of the last several seasons.
“You know, it’s not anything groundbreaking,” Tomlin said. “I’d imagine that every quarterback in the NFL, present and past, has been better at home than on the road. The hostile environment has got something to do with it, the silent count in which you have to work has something to do with it. I would imagine that all teams in the NFL are probably largely more effective running the ball at home than on the road.
“So, I think it’s a culmination of all of those variables that I just mentioned. We embrace playing and playing to win on the road. We understand that that’s kind of the recipe for greatness in our business and in our game. I don’t worry too much about statistics and things of that nature. I think Ben was probably six and two on the road last year. I’d take that. Or, seven and one.”
It’s a good thing Tomlin corrected himself at the end as Roethlisberger and the Steelers were most certainly 7-1 on the road in 2017 with the lone loss coming against the Chicago Bears in Week 3 at Soldier Field. Roethlisberger, by the way, completed 61.7% of all road pass attempts last season for 2,035 yards with 12 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. Those numbers equated to a 91.7 old school passer rating, which put him right near the middle of the pack when ranked against the other quarterbacks in the NFL who saw significant playing time. He also hadn’t registered a road quarterback rating that high since 2014 when it was 91.0.
It will be interesting to see if new Steelers offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner has any effect whatsoever on how Roethlisberger plays on the road moving forward. Will we see more no-huddle/hurry-up on the road than we’ve seen in recent seasons under former offensive coordinator Todd Haley? We’ll find out.
The most important statistic is of course wins and if the Steelers can go 7-1 on the road gain in 2018, Roethlisberger possibly registering disappointing road statistics along the way will really only be a big deal to us nit-picking bloggers, his long-time detractors and fantasy football participants, a group of people Tomlin certainly made clear last weekend he doesn’t care if he pleases.
“I could care less about fantasy sports, to be quite honest with you,” Tomlin said. “I’m like, wake me up when I care.”
The only way Tomlin might stat caring about Roethlisberger’s road statistics is if the Steelers drop more than just a few road games in 2018 and poor quarterback play played a biog role in those defeats.