“Embarrassing” isn’t a word often used in association with the Pittsburgh Steelers since Chuck Noll took over in 1969. But that’s how Hines Ward described the state of the franchise today.
“You know what man, it is embarrassing to be honest with you,” Ward said in an interview with Barstool Sports Wednesday. “That’s just not the culture. The Steelers’ culture. Look at what happened to [then Patriots corner] Malcolm Butler. Being late for a meeting and then missing the Super Bowl. That’s the culture, that’s the Patriots’ way. No one guy that’s bigger than the team. You do what Coach Belichick says and everyone else is held accountable.”
Ward went on to say he’s seen the culture shift from his playing days to where Mike Tomlin’s group is at today.
“I just think the culture in Pittsburgh has changed a little bit. It’s more about the production on the field, outweighs what the overall team aspect is. When you start to get a bunch of individuals worrying about how many catches they get or how much they make, it just sets up for disaster.”
He says a break point should’ve come after Antonio Brown’s Facetiming incident in January 2017, capturing comments Tomlin made about New England before their meeting in the AFC Championship game. Ward believes Brown shouldn’t have been allowed to play in the game and Tomlin allowing him to do so enabled his current behavior.
To be a little fair to Tomlin, Brown was benched for this year’s regular season finale against Cincinnati, a pivotal game with playoff hopes riding on it, but Ward points to an overall culture shift that’s done more harm than good.
Ward ended by praising the job Brady’s done with a lack of talent surrounding him, still getting to and winning Super Bowls without the glitz and glamour Ben Roethlisberger has to work with.
“Look at Ben Roethlisberger. They have all this talent and we’re missing the playoffs.”
Check out all of Ward’s comments below.