Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was noticeably upset this week about the team’s unplanned bye week, telling reporters the Steelers “got the short end of the stick.” As you probably know, Pittsburgh’s Week 4 game against the Tennessee Titans was rescheduled for Week 7 in the wake of a COVID-19 outbreak among Titans players and coaches, forcing Roethlisberger and his teammates to adjust to the unexpected schedule change.
On Friday CBS Sports radio host Zach Gelb went after Big Ben, telling him to “Stop your bitching, stop your complaining….! The last thing I need to hear … is Big Ben Roethlisberger complaining that their game got pushed back … and now it’s going to be in Week 7 and they lose their middle of the season bye week because of it. Ugh, please, I’ll grab out the small violin for you Big Ben….”
Eric Ebron, Vance McDonald Complained Too
Of course, Roethlisberger wasn’t the only Steelers player to express annoyance at the postponement of the team’s road game against the Titans. At one point tight end Eric Ebron said he was “confused about how this became our problem,” and said the Titans should be required to forfeit the game.
Meanwhile, fellow tight end Vance McDonald said he agreed with Roethlisberger in thinking the Steelers got the short end of the stick, and said he spent the weekend “being angry” about the whole situation.
McDonald said he and his family had to cancel plans they had scheduled for their expected bye weekend (October 23-25) and that he resented having to drive more than a hour each way (back and forth from his farm in Ligonier Township) on a daily basis just to get tested for COVID-19.
He insists that the Steelers—at the behest of head coach Mike Tomlin—are doing everything they can to avoid “having the finger pointed at us,” as he put it, for failing to adhere to the league’s COVID-19 protocols.
McDonald says the Steelers don’t want to be like the Titans, who are being investigated for ‘failure to follow’ protocols and are now at risk of a harsh new penalty that the NFL recently threatened to impose.
Still, Gelb doesn’t seem to want to hear any complaining from NFL players about having to adjust to a new bye week, but especially not from Roethlisberger, saying, “You have real-life issues this year—people losing jobs, people losing loved ones, people getting diagnosed with this virus and testing positive and I have to hear Big Ben [saying] ‘Oh, we got the short end of the stick.’ Boo hoo hoo hoo hoo….”
Gelb does admit, though, that “he likes the Steelers this week up against the Eagles,” as do most prognosticators, which explains how the Steelers are a seven-point favorite going into the game, with the over-under at 44 points.
For more information about the Eagles-Steelers matchup, here’s my Steelers Scouting Report & Prediction. Or see Heavy’s scouting report on the Eagles, with an alternative prediction.
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