Max Starks Says Steelers Were Too Pass-Heavy In Super Bowl Loss To Packers, Focused More On MVP Trophy Than Lombardi

Former Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive tackle Max Starks joined 93.7 The Fan Tuesday afternoon to help preview Sunday’s Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles. Starks is no stranger to Super Bowls, appearing in three over his ten-year career. Twice, he emerged a champion, winning it all in 2005 and 2008. But his final appearance had him on the wrong side of the scoreboard, the Steelers’ 2010 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Discussing that game with Chris Mueller and Andrew Fillipponi, Starks had some interesting comments about why the team lost and who might be to blame.

“I think we were trying to make sure that guys had opportunities for bigger trophies at the end,” Starks told the show as transcribed by Andrew Limberg. “I’ll just leave it at that.”

The Fan frames it around a shot at Ben Roethlisberger and the implied idea that the Steelers put more concern in boosting his numbers to win MVP than they did focusing on winning the game. Starks went on to say a pass-happy gameplan against the Packers’ strong secondary, a top pass defense but dreadful run defense, was a bad recipe to win.

Roethlisberger threw the ball 40 times that game compared to only 23 rushes, numbers that signal a pass-heavy approach. But Pittsburgh also played from behind throughout the game, down 14-0 after the first quarter and 21-3 right before halftime, forcing them to push the ball through the air. Still, Roethlisberger was picked twice in the first half before the game got out of hand, the first of which was returned for a touchdown by Nick Collins.

“If you take one less pick away from that game, we’re talking about seven-time Super Bowl Champions instead of just six-time,” Starks said.

He’s likely referring to that first INT. Facing 1st and 10 from their own seven-yard line in the first quarter, Roethlisberger fired deep downfield. Under pressure, he badly underthrew Mike Wallace and was picked by Collins, who returned it for a 37-yard score that gave the Packers a two-possession lead.

Many focus on RB Rashard Mendenhall’s fumble in that game as the turning point and it certainly played a role, a conversation seemingly brought up once every couple of years. Despite the early hole, Pittsburgh climbed themselves out of it to make it a 28-25 game midway through the fourth quarter. But the Packers used a long drive to chew up clock in the fourth quarter and Roethlisberger couldn’t find more two-minute magic, Green Bay holding on to win 31-25.

Starks’ comments certainly raise an eyebrow. I don’t know if it’s more of a veiled shot at the coaching staff, Roethlisberger, or both, but it’s a different perspective on the game than the narrative that’s been set for more than a decade.

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