When I thought about the media onslaught that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would face during Media Days at Super Bowl XLV, I cringed knowing full well that Big Ben would be subjected to all sorts of invasive and mostly vapid questions about his personal life. Not surprisingly, Roethlisberger faced just that during his Tuesday session with the media. Of course, the press is just doing their job, but honestly, it can't be much fun for Big Ben to have to repeatedly be asked 'if he's changed' or some other variation of that question time and time again. But when you're a $100+ million dollar franchise quarterback who screwed up like he did, that's to be expected I suppose. Hopefully Big Ben can just keep his cool throughout it all, and then get to the task at hand beginning Wednesday of preparing for the Green Bay Packers.
Let's hear what Roethlisberger had to say during his lengthy chat with the media on Tuesday.
Other Monday/Tuesday Press Conference Transcriptions:
- Brett Keisel (on SB Nation Pittsburgh)
- James Farrior (on SB Nation Pittsburgh)
- Mike Tomlin (on BTSC)
- Hines Ward (on SB Nation Pittsburgh)
- LaMarr Woodley (on BTSC)
- Dom Capers (on SB Nation Pittsburgh)
- Aaron Rodgers (on SB Nation Pittsburgh)
- Mike McCarthy (on BTSC)
- Rashard Mendenahll (on BTSC)
- Dick LeBeau (on BTSC)
QUOTES FROM PITTSBURGH STEELERS PRESS CONFERENCE
QB Ben Roethlisberger
(On his attitude about today) "Taking it in stride, enjoying the opportunity to film all you guys and play in another Super Bowl because you never know when it's going to be your last one."
(On his pre-game rituals) "I have a lot of them. One that everybody can see is that before the game I go around and shake everybody on my team's hand including the coach, coach Tomlin. So you can see that in the pregame."
(On why he picked number 7) "John Elway. One of my favorites growing up. I had a lot of favorites but I liked the number and I liked him and the way that he played the game."
(On if he wins Sunday he'll have more Super Bowl wins than Elway) "Wow. He's still the greatest, he's still one of the greatest to play the game."
(On finding peace) "If you have it and you know it, then it's an easy thing to talk about. I think it starts with my faith and I think when you have an understanding with what you want to do in life and the bigger pictures at times, which is life, family, faith, I think that's the peace that I'm talking about."
(On if he thought it was impossible to make it to Dallas) "I think that anything is possible if you believe in it and work hard enough."
(On if he is a different person than a year ago) "I think you always go through changes in life. I'm not going to keep hitting this over and over that it's a reflective question because it's not time to reflect because really it's about this game. When you're faced with challenges in life you find ways to try to overcome them. Just like when there are doubters and naysayers that challenged me in a football sense, it challenges me to rise above. So in the same way as me being a better person, people saying ‘you can't do it', it makes me want to rise to the occasion and be the best I can be."
(On his appreciation for the Super Bowl) "Yes and no, but it's the Super Bowl. If you don't have an appreciation for this regardless of what's going on in your life, something is wrong with you. I'm sure every player here and all you people out there when you were kids and you played football, you wanted to play in the Super Bowl. So to have that opportunity is awesome."
(On if he thinks he is a good guy) "I think so."
(On the Peter King retraction) "Well I got kind of hit with that one yesterday, that question. I had no idea where it came from or any of that stuff so I kind of was unaware of anything. So obviously it got built up real big yesterday. I don't really read a lot or any newspapers or magazine articles or watch too much TV sports things, so I don't get to see a lot of those things so a lot of the things I hear are either from my agent, the media people, things like that. I've heard a lot of the different things and how they have transpired."
(On how he wants to be perceived) "I think there are a lot of ways. I think that you're always taught, people ask you ‘what do you want on your obituary, your tombstone?' And I think, you know just to sit there and somebody to say that he's a good person, a God-fearing person that was loyal to his family and put family first, family and God first and enjoyed the way that he played the game of football, enjoyed football and just lived every day like it was his last."
(On if he is perceived that way) "I don't know, I think that's probably a question, that I know people ask, that people go out and ask people. I just try to go out and enjoy life and do the best I can to be the best person I can be, the best son, and Christian and everything like that."
(On predicting Aaron Rodgers would be good) "I'm pretty good aren't I? I might have a gig at ESPN as an analyst or something like that after that right? No, I've known it. I've always known that he's a great player, a great person, a great quarterback. He has all the tools and the intangibles and the things that you can't coach. He has football sense, football awareness, the quick release, the athleticism, he can throw on the run, he can make all of the throws. It's not just sitting in the pocket and being coached to throw this particular way. When a rush comes, you key up, you have to drop your elbow sometimes and throw sidearm. You have to be able to throw going to your left or your right, he can do it all."
(On being in the Brady, Bradshaw class) "That's unbelievable company. I don't put myself there, I think they are too good. I hate sitting there answering those questions because it's assuming we win you know? I hope we win, I'm going to do everything I can to win it, you just never know. That's why I don't want to think about that yet. Maybe that's a good question if we win and I'm sitting at the podium."
(On playing football again) "I love playing football. I love doing it, I love being around these guys and I wanted to try to get to this stage for those guys, for the Rooney's, for the fans. For me the easy part was playing football."
(On the team without him) "They're a great football team, they had some great quarterback play in Charlie [Batch] and Dennis [Dixon] and Byron [Leftwich]. I knew that they were in great hands. Those are great players and great quarterbacks."
(On the hardest part of it all) "You guys, you know what, every day you wake up there's always challenges that face you and it's how can you start your day and go throughout your day with the challenges that face you, whatever it is. Everyone has different challenges, whether it's illness, family issues, whatever it is. Every day challenges are always the hard thing."
(On the Steelers fans) "Great, the Pittsburgh fans are awesome."
(On the fan support) "Obviously you see them everywhere we go. I always say that Pittsburgh fans are the best fans in all of sport. I think that's what this game, why it's going to be so awesome because Packer fans, I know they travel and I know their passion about their Packers. That's why I think this is the ultimate game and the ultimate two teams playing in it."
(On cheeseheads versus terrible towels) "That's tough, I'm going to have to go with the towel, Myron Cope's towel, there's something about it."
(On winning the media award by Pittsburgh media) "It meant a lot to me. I talk to those guys and see them a lot, obviously the Pittsburgh local media. I wasn't always the nicest guy to them and I can admit that but I know that they're doing their job. It's nothing, I can't take things personal that they say and write. I just wanted them to know that I apologize to them for ever being difficult to work with and trying to be better to work with and I think that that, I hope that shows that I have been better this year to work with and easier to work with. That award really meant a lot to me."
(On Tim Tebow) "I think he's a good quarterback. I think that he worked really hard at trying to work on that, his release or throwing motion or whatever it was. Great athlete obviously, so it's just a matter of can he find that fine line between being an athlete and a quarterback, I think."
(On his quarterback style) "I just play the game the way that I know how. It's hard to really, I don't know why I do it the way that I do it. I just do it, truthfully."
(On playing hurt) "Kind of a lot of, I think it's a couple things. Resilience, how can you bounce back from an interception, from a bad game, things like that. Just being out there, wanting to be out there for your guys. You always hear people say ‘the difference between being injured and hurt'. If you're hurt, are you still out there playing? Are you out there with your guys and fighting to the end? I think that's part of toughness and obviously, like I said, being mentally tough is a big one."
(On winning a Super Bowl as a QB) "It depends on if you played as bad as I played the first time. It's an awesome thing. Like I said, everyone dreams about it as a kid, especially if you're a quarterback. To have the opportunity to go to one and then to win it is just an unbelievably awesome thing."
(On being close with his teammates) "I'm very close with a lot of the guys. One of my best friends [Brett Keisel] is sitting right over there next to me. There was a big group of guys I always had their support, real close, and there was just a couple that I maybe wasn't as close to as I wanted to be and needed to be and really worked hard to be closer with and be a better teammate with."
(On what worries him about the Packers) "I don't know if there's one concern, there's a lot of them. But I think it starts with, obviously they have a great quarterback in Aaron Rodgers, but for me it's probably going to be Clay Matthews and some of those guys on defense who are really, really good players."
(On escaping danger in the pocket) "I don't know to tell you the truth. I don't know where a lot of things I do came from. I just think it's playing the game. It's not like, obviously you do drills where you practice things like that. A lot of things I think it's just having that you know, they call it the clock, the clock that goes off in your head that says, ‘it's time to get out of here', get out of the pocket, run, scramble, do what you got to do."
(On Terry Hoeppner's impact) "A big impact. He was a fatherly figure to me. The hardest part about that is that like he would be here, I wish he could be here for me and with me and I know he's got the best seat in the house, better than Jerry [Jones'] seat, but it still would be awesome to have him here because he means a lot to me."
(On not putting himself in Brady or Manning's class) "I don't know, maybe it's my way of keeping me as the underdog. It drives Coach Tomlin crazy because he wants me to put myself in that category, but, I don't know, I guess I like being the hunter, not the hunted."
(On if it bothers him that Pittsburgh has never had to beat New England to get to a Super Bowl) "Just to get to a Super Bowl, I don't care who we play. Just to get a chance to get here is fine with me."
(On not being as picturesque as Brady or Manning) "I'm not pretty when I play the game, I'll be the first to admit it, but I don't try to be. When I say these things, I'm not trying to knock on any of those guys, you'll see I say they're the best. I just play the game to win it. Like I said before, I'll probably never win a passing title, probably never win the MVP of the NFL, and I'm okay with that, really I am. People may think that I'm crazy. For me, at the end of the day, it's about wins and losses and championships. That's the only stat that matters to me."
(On advice he got about this week) "Just have fun and be yourself, honestly. The people I talk to the most know me the best and they're like, ‘just be yourself and let people see who you are.'"
(On the weather in Dallas) "This is crazy. No, I don't know, I woke up and saw the snow out there and thought I was at home for a second."
(On how it feels to have a lawnmower and a snowblower in his garage) "Well, it gets a lot of use because I do it all myself."
(On his favorite video game) "Well, I was caught between Tiger Woods and Call of Duty. I couldn't figure it out, but those would be fun. It'd be really good."
(On Dallas' hospitality) "It's awesome, the people are great. I had a chance to go to an awesome restaurant last night, had a great dinner and everyone is really nice. It's a great place to be. We enjoy it."
(On his pregame meal) "Light. Gotta eat light."
(On if he has changed) "Just like I said at the top of the interview, just being calmer, just enjoying the day, waking up, counting your blessings and just being thankful for the day and thanking God for letting me wake up and have this opportunity. I mean as tough as this could be, and sometimes is, I mean I was going to bring a Twix bar up here if I needed a minute and ever got a tough question. But still just enjoy this because how many people get this opportunity? Like I said, this could be my last time to ever sit on this podium in front of you guys and if it is, it is."
(On anxiety about answering questions) "I don't know about anxiety, just trying to be prepared for some kind of, trying to have an understanding of what the possibilities could be."
(On Terry Bradshaw) "Well, Terry is a guy when I got to the Steelers, you know about him. When you get here it's about four Super Bowls and about him being the man, so you know, I've always said since day one, I'm not trying to be Terry Bradshaw, I'm just trying to be me and trying to win like he did."
(On his favorite reality show) "I don't watch reality TV other than the T-Ocho show."
(On if he got the bug that's going around) "I got it, absolutely. I lost my voice before the Jets game and now working its way up to my nose, I can't breathe. Everybody, I wanna know who started it, we're trying to find the culprit."
(On the ownership) I don't know the other owners, but in my opinion, that's where it starts with us. It was The Chief before I got there, I didn't know The Chief but Art Rooney and Dan Rooney are the best, and I think it starts with the top.
(On only having to hire three head coaches) "Yes, yes and yes, probably a little bit of all of it. I think part of it is just having faith in the person. There's times I'm sure in Coach [Bill] Cowher's long tenure there and I'm sure Coach [Chuck] Noll too that they struggled. And when most owners would fire the coach, I think they stood by him and said, ‘We're going to give you another chance and another chance,' and I think that speaks volumes of the Rooney family. That's just my opinion, to stand by them through thick and thin."
(On his faith) "Just going back to my faith, it's not like I found faith for the first time, it's just getting back to the way I was raised. It's such a blessing. That's where the inner peace starts is with your faith and my faith and like I said counting my blessings because every day is a blessing to be alive and to be able to do this."
(On the joy of being able to come back) "To have forgiveness, the ultimate forgiveness is awesome. To be able to just pray and to talk to, the main calmingness that I talked to was talking to God and reading the Bible before I came up here."
(On what Jesus Christ means to him) "Everything, honestly. Everything."
(On playing better when it counts) "I don't know what it is, I think it's probably the competitiveness, the drive to want to do whatever it takes to win the game that's on the line and the ball is in your hands, you wanna make the plays for your team and for your coach and the owner, everybody. You want to do it."
(On if it has always been that way) "I think so, in all sports, football, basketball and baseball, I want to have the ball in my hand at the end of the game because I want it to be on my shoulders. I don't do it for the glory, I don't want to be a hero, I just want to win the game."
(On Jay Cutler) "Well I don't know Jay very well but I would just tell him to just keep your head up. You know your body, you know what you're going through, you know all those things. People are going to attack you for whatever reason if he's hurt or not. I think he just needs to keep his head up and stay focused on what he needs to do to get healthy and get ready for another season because that's all he can do is to get ready for the next day and the next season."
(On playing better when it counts) "I don't know what it is, I think it's probably the competitiveness, the drive to want to do whatever it takes to win the game that's on the line and the ball is in your hands. You want to make the plays for your team and for your coach and the owner, everybody. You want to do it."
(On if he has always been that way) "I think so. In all sports, football, basketball and baseball, I want to have the ball in my hand at the end of the game because I want it to be on my shoulders. I don't do it for the glory, I don't want to be a hero, I just want to win the game."
(On Jay Cutler) "Well, I don't know Jay very well but I would just tell him to just keep your head up. You know your body, you know what you're going through, you know all those things. People are going to attack you for whatever reason if he's hurt or not. I think he just needs to keep his head up and stay focused on what he needs to do to get healthy and get ready for another season, because that's all he can do is to get ready for the next day and the next season."
(On other players taking shots at Cutler) "We talk so much about a fraternity, and especially quarterbacks, I don't think I ever have or I ever will talk negatively about a quarterback, just because you know what you go through and you know what they go through. So you kind of expect NFL players to feel the same way in general, but everyone is opinionated and you're allowed to have that opinion in this country, and that's what is awesome about the country. That's why I won't say anything about Jay because he's a quarterback and I know what he's going through and it's tough. Especially in a city that is passionate about sports, which Chicago obviously is, very passionate."
(On being a role model) "I want to be a guy that people look up to and I know it takes time to get that back but I want to be the best someday husband and father and grandfather hopefully if I'm blessed enough to be, and it starts with faith. You have to be able to instill that in your kids the same way it was instilled in me."
(On Byron Leftwich) "It's great. It's funny because we walk in the locker room and his locker is next to mine number-wise and a quarterback, and I said ‘it looks kind of familiar doesn't it, to Tampa,' because I have him and Charlie and Dennis who are literally like coaches. They almost coach me more than my quarterback coach does and that's not a knock on Randy [Fitchner] but when I come off the field they're usually the first ones I talk to, those are the guys that are going over the pictures with me, talking about game plans and it's great to have those guys and especially Byron with the experience he has playing this game. Plus he's a MAC guy, that's awesome.
(On so many players from the MAC in this game) "It's a dominant conference, that's what it says. 16 of us I think? That's awesome. That just shows that the MAC, and Miami University the Redhawks are becoming a dominant conference and should be considered in the BCS talk."
(On if Coach Hoeppner is with him) "I talk to him every game, literally every game I will talk to him. Whether it's reminiscing talking about a game we had in college or just being there. I miss him a lot."