Steelers News

Ben Roethlisberger ‘So Happy’ To See JuJu Smith-Schuster Get A Ring, But Hates Late Holding Call In Super Bowl

It seems that a lot of notable former members of the Pittsburgh Steelers have had the opportunity to collect a Super Bowl ring recently. Former wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster was the latest, claiming his title with the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday over the Philadelphia Eagles. And his former quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, couldn’t be more pleased about it.

“I was really happy for JuJu. So happy for JuJu”, he said on the latest episode of his Footbahlin podcast. “I was so happy for him to get that. I loved the way in the second half it’s like they just started giving him the ball and he was making plays”.

A second-round draft pick in 2017, Smith-Schuster had a great rookie season and followed it up with a Pro Bowl performance in his second season. His career was never quite the same after that, due largely to injuries suffered by himself and by Roethlisberger.

He re-signed on a one-year deal to play one more season with his former quarterback in 2021, but the Chiefs offered him a tempting, incentive-laden one-year contract to jump ship this past year. He produced in their egalitarian passing offense with 98 catches for 933 yards and three scores. He had seven catches for 53 yards in the Super Bowl, most of it coming late in the game in key moments.

Yet for many the ‘key’ moment of the game was a defensive holding call on third down late in the fourth quarter. Smith-Schuster was breaking to the outside on a route when Eagles cornerback James Bradberry by his own admission tugged his jersey. The broad consensus seems to be that even if it was a hold, it should not have been called in that moment. For that large audience, Roethlisberger agrees.

“If I was the Chiefs, I’d probably be yelling, ‘I want the call. That’s a holding call’. If I’m the Eagles, obviously I’m like, ‘No way’. And as a football fan, I’m really mad at the call because I think things like that happen every play”, he said.

“I don’t think it was egregious enough, and I don’t have it on JuJu, like I said, I’m happy he won it, but if you were to have saw him tackle him or something”, he added, it would be different. “I hate that that great game ended that way. I hate that”.

I’m not even going to touch on the stuff that went down on social media yesterday with the meme and the response and all of the other nonsense. I’m sure those who care about that angle will have already read about it elsewhere by outlets more interested in covering tangential gossip material.

Smith-Schuster is the fourth starting wide receiver Roethlisberger has watched get a ring elsewhere, the first being Plaxico Burress much, much earlier in his career with Eli Manning and the New York Giants. Emmanuel Sanders eventually landed one with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, then Antonio Brown got his ring with Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Now Smith-Schuster has his with Patrick Mahomes.

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