On Wednesday Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger offered his own thoughts on playing in the AFC North. Asked by Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the three Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks in the division and whether he gets “any extra juice” when he plays against them, Big Ben joked, “No, I’m going to have a fake Heisman made so all four of us can have them.”
Then he turned slightly more serious, saying, “No, it’s cool. That’s the top honor in [college] football and those guys [were] all deserving of it. It’s pretty cool. I’m the lone man out so that’s alright. It’s an honor to play against those guys.”
Roethlisberger was referring to the fact that all three of the other starting quarterbacks in the AFC North—Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals (2019), Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns (2017) and Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens (2016)—are Heisman Trophy winners. While Big Ben had a strong career at Miami (Ohio) he never won the Heisman, nor was he ever a runner-up. In 2003, the year before he was drafted, quarterback Jason White (Oklahoma) won the Heisman, while Pitt Panthers wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and Ole Miss QB Eli Manning were second and third in the voting, respectively.
Of course, Roethlisberger has something that none of the other AFC North quarterbacks have yet—a Super Bowl ring. Two of them, in fact, which he won after the 2005 and 2008 seasons vs. the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals, respectively.
Ben Roethlisberger on AFC North Football
As for whether this weekend’s game against the Browns has a different “feel” because there are three teams within a half-game of first place in the AFC North, Big Ben mostly dismissed that notion.
“You know what, it truly doesn’t matter,” he said. “When we play AFC North football … that’s why we say you can throw records out the window because everybody is vying for that top spot and everyone is going to give the other team their absolute best. It doesn’t matter what the record is. It doesn’t matter what the season record is, what the past record is. It’s really about trying to win the division.”
Along those same lines, Roethlisberger didn’t want to assign himself too much credit for his 23-2-1 record against the Browns, including a perfect 12-0 mark at Heinz Field.
“I’ve been a part of some really good football teams that have helped us win games against a lot of opponents,” he offered.
Roethlisberger Sidesteps ‘Keeping Receivers Happy’ Question
There was at least one query that Roethlisberger really didn’t really want to answer today. That particular question came up after Big Ben talked about how the Steelers have an unselfish locker room, where the players are concerned with winning and not their own stats. He admitted that he wasn’t sure how the other receivers were going to feel in the wake of Chase Claypool’s record-setting game, and said he was happy to see “No. 1 receiver” JuJu Smith-Schuster smiling and enjoying the win.
But when he was asked, “What is the pressure on a quarterback when you have to make sure everyone in the wide receiver’s room is happy?” he didn’t want to get into detail.
“There’s definitely more to it than everyone understands and maybe someday I’ll write a book and talk about it,” he stated. “It’s not always easy, but I feel for other quarterbacks at times.”
You can watch Roethlisberger’s media session in its entirety below:
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