Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will play what could be the last game of his NFL career on Sunday. And, if the comments he made Wednesday are any indication, he’s not worried about playing his last game.
The veteran caller pointed out to the media that the 7th-seeded Steelers are significant losers to the 2nd-seeded Chiefs (12.5 favorites, based on FanDuel). He also took note of the ease with which Kansas City demolished Pittsburgh 36-10 in the team’s Week 16 meeting – the final game in an eight-game winning streak in which Roethlisberger completed 23 of 35 passes for 159 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Your opinion? “We have no chance.”
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on the NFL wild card game against the Kansas City Chiefs:
“We don’t have a chance, so let’s go inside, play and have fun.” pic.twitter.com/FjLR8elIbs
– The Count (@therecount) January 12, 2022
One has to admire the introspection of Big Ben here.
And if you take Roethlisberger’s comments at face value, one might conclude that he believes his career will come to an end on Sunday. But the underlying message is painfully obvious: “The pressure is on Kansas City to win this game.” And why wouldn’t it be? The Chiefs, “possibly the best soccer team,” according to Roethlisberger, are looking to make their third place in the Super Bowl in as many seasons, a stage they have aspired to since they suffered a surprising 31-9 loss to Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. in Super Bowl 55.
Meanwhile, the 9-7-1 Steelers entered Week 18 of the NFL regular season and needed significant help just to make the extended playoffs. A Jaguars win over the Colts opened the door for Pittsburgh to sneak in as the seventh seed. The Raiders and Chargers created a close decision in their “Sunday Night Football” game, nearly ending the game in a tie that would have knocked Pittsburgh out of the playoffs.
Fortunately for Pittsburgh, kicker Daniel Carlson sealed the deal with a field goal to give Las Vegas a 35-32 victory. (It should be noted that Steelers coach Mike Tomlin fell asleep and missed the end of the game, although he determined whether his team would make the postseason.)
All signs point to a Steelers team being able to play freely in this game. And it’s not like Roethlisberger and Pittsburgh have never been here before: He has led the franchise to three spots in the Super Bowl, winning two in 2006 and 2009. The 2005 Steelers also became the top 6 seed in Los Angeles history. NFL playoffs in beating a 1 seed, reaching a conference championship game and winning the Super Bowl since the playoffs expanded to a 12-team format in 1990.
The only thing left for the Steelers to do, as Roethlisberger pointed out, is “have fun.”