Here’s one of the fun things about sports. And by “fun” I mean “something that wants me to rip the hair out of the thing that I paste to my bald scalp.”
It goes like this. Player performs poorly. Player then admits he played poorly. Reporters point out that: (1) he played poorly; and (2) he admitted that he played poorly. Player then gets upset with reporters.
The latest example of this dynamic is Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who threw five interceptions on Sunday against the Jaguars and who then declared to the media, “Maybe I don’t have it anymore.”
During his Wednesday press conference, Roethlisberger fired back at those who noticed that he didn’t play well and that he then admitted he didn’t play well.
“They can question me,” Roethlisberger told reporters on Wednesday, via Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. “I don’t question myself. . . . No offense to any of you guys, but it doesn’t matter to me how you guys question me or not or quote-on-quote professional talking heads.”
Of course, it’s Roethlisberger who questioned himself, just three days ago. And for good reason. He threw five interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns.
Some players attributed the struggles of the offense to game planning, which pushes blame away from the players and toward the coaches. Coach Mike Tomlin said it’s not a game-planning problem, pushing blame away from the coaches and toward the players.
Regardless, the dysfunctional Steelers seem to have found unity in taking on the media. Roethlisberger was, we’re told, short with reporters on Wednesday. (He’s apparently miffed with ESPN because Stephen A. Smith went after Ben on Monday on First Take.)
Also, cameras were instructed at one point not to film Roethlisberger during the portion of practice that was open to the media, both by Roethlisberger himself and separately by offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Roethlisberger has been sitting out Wednesday practices; it will be interesting to see whether he puts in a full workload this Wednesday as the Steelers dedicate themselves to performing better on offense — and to taking on those who have dared to notice that, at times this year, they haven’t.