Every NFL team has traditions, but few revere them like the Pittsburgh Steelers do. Ben Roethlisberger, however, fears that may no longer be the case. 

Pittsburgh's former quarterback and future Hall of Fame inductee doesn't think that the team's traditions have been passed down to current members of the offense, who are part of a unit that has been under siege seemingly all season. Roethlisberger, who retired after the 2021 season, said the team's traditions were not passed down to the offense's new leaders when he left the way they were given to him when Jerome Bettis and others left the locker room early in his career. 

"Maybe the tradition of the Pittsburgh Steelers is done," Roethlisberger said on the latest edition of his podcast. "Maybe it needs to be formed a new kind of way. I don't know." 

Specifically, Roethlisberger wants someone on the offense to carry on the Steelers tradition. 

"Who is grabbing someone by the face mask and saying, 'That's not what we do,'" Roethlisberger said. "Is that happening? Yes, you have guys on defense doing it, but you need guys on other sides of the ball doing it. … You need someone to stand up in that room, on offense, and be like, hey, this isn't what it means to wear the black and gold. This isn't what has been handed down from those teams of the '70s. The Steel Curtain, the four Super Bowls, the Nolls, the Bradshaws, the Blounts. All those people, it's unbelievable.

"I understand the further you get away from that, the harder it is unless it's being passed down and carried the right way." 

Roethlisberger said that he had no option but to listen to the team's leaders and follow in line during his initial years with the team. He doesn't think that the case now, at least on the offensive side of the ball. 

"It just feels like that's something that's been lost on this team," he said. "I've felt that certain guys on the team aren't in it for the team, they're in it for themselves. Well, now some of the guys on the team are saying the same thing." 

Roethlisberger was alluding to recent comments made by running back Najee Harris and free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. Harris vented his frustration with things following Pittsburgh's 13-10 loss to the Browns in Week 11. His comments, unbeknownst to anyone at the time, came shortly after Diontae Johnson and Fitzpatrick got into a verbal alternation after Johnson was yelling at members of the coaching staff. 

Fitzpatrick, who played with a broken left hand during Pittsburgh's Week 14 loss to the New England Patriots, called out some of his teammates' lack of effort. 

"In order to see the fruit, you've gotta toil for it," Fitzpatrick said, via ESPN. "I think too many people don't want to toil for it. They just want to walk out here and think that they're going to make plays and think that they're going to perform at a high level. I think we need to have more people who want to work for it, not expect it to be handed to them." 

From the outside, it does appear that the Steelers have offensive leaders. But Harris would rather have his actions speak for him. Kenny Pickett, who was voted team captain, is just on his second season. It doesn't help that both players have dealt with on-field challenges this season. 

Along with losing tradition, Roethlisberger feels the Steelers have lost something that he feels they had during most of his years with the team. 

"I think our defense is still very intimidating, but I feel like people aren't afraid to play the Pittsburgh Steelers anymore," he said. 

Roethlisberger is probably right about some of the team's tradition being lost. But I've seen Cam Heyward (not so subtly) ask players to turn their music off in the locker room. But Heyward is a defensive player, which is on cue with what Roethlisberger said. 

Even Roethlisberger acknowledged that playing music doesn't lose football games. How the Steelers have built their roster, however, might be. 

"They've sunk a lot of money to the defense, and it's starting to show a little bit on offense," Roethlisberger said. "You don't have any high-priced players on offense. You've got some really talented guys on offense in George [Pickens] and Diontae and some young guys. But you're going to have to start getting some money in the other direction too." 

At this point, any criticism directed at the Steelers is elevator music. That's what happens when you become the first team in NFL history to have a winning record and lose consecutive games to teams that are at least eight games under .500. Winning, as Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has often said over the years, can be a cure for a lot of ills, which is what makes the rest of Pittsburgh's season so critical. Wins can help erase a lot of the negativity currently surrounding the team. 

More losing, however, will only make things worse.