Ben Roethlisberger says 'I don't question myself' days after questioning himself
Big Ben said 'maybe I don't have it anymore' and then criticized reporters for wondering just that
On Wednesday, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger passive-aggressively criticized "quote-on-quote professional talking heads" for questioning his ability to play quarterback in the NFL. Roethlisberger isn't the first athlete to go after reporters for creating their own narratives, but he might be the first to hand reporters a free narrative and then get mad when they actually run with it.
On Sunday, after Roethlisberger threw five picks in a loss to the Jaguars, Roethlisberger told reporters, "Maybe I don't have it anymore." Three days later, Roethlisberger said that he doesn't question himself and it doesn't matter to him how reporters -- I mean, "quote-on-quote professional talking heads" -- question him.
"That's fine," he said, according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. "They can question me. 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."
Wait, what? Big Ben is forgetting that it's he, himself, who created this storyline. He did that before the season by repeatedly hinting that he might retire. And then he did it again on Sunday, when he questioned his own ability to play quarterback.
And for the record, Roethlisberger's quality of play alone warrants questions about his future in the league. After five games, he has completed 61.5 percent of his passes, averaged a career-low 6.5 yards per attempt, a touchdown on 3.1 percent of his passes (another career-low), and an interception on 3.6 percent of his passes, and posted a 75.8 passer rating. Even though he has Antonio Brown on his team, he has been the league's worst deep-ball passer. According to Pro Football Focus, on passes thrown at least 20 yards downfield, Roethlisberger has gone 5 of 27 for 183 yards, no touchdowns, two picks, and a league-worst 24.5 passer rating.
He nearly singlehandedly lost the Steelers the game against the Jaguars, throwing a career-high five picks, which included two pick-sixes in a span of three minutes.
So, even if Roethlisberger himself hadn't made those postgame remarks, reporters wondering if this is the beginning of the end of his Hall of Fame-caliber career would've been justified in doing so. It just so happens that, in addition to playing poorly, Roethlisberger asked the question himself and in the process, incentivized reporters to look a bit deeper into his issues.
Of note: On Tuesday, our Ryan Wilson took an in-depth look at Roethlisberger's struggles. You can read that here.
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