PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – It’s a situation Ben Roethlisberger has relished for his career and probably every competition he’s ever been a part of: No one is giving me, or us, a chance.
No one really is, either. The Steelers are by far the biggest underdog for NFL Wild Card weekend. Kansas City is favored by a fluctuating number around a dozen.
That is right in Roethlisberger’s wheelhouse to play the underdog role.
“I would assume as a group you understand that we probably aren’t supposed to be here,” Roethlisberger said Wednesday. “Probably aren’t a very good football team. Out of 14 teams that are in, we are probably number 14.
“We are a double-digit underdog in the playoffs. Let’s just go play and see what happens.”
There is a freedom that comes with that. There have been several years, including last, where the postseason pressure was on the Steelers as home favorites. Not this season, especially coming off a meeting with the same team three weeks ago where you trailed 30-0 in the third quarter.
“I hope we don’t go in and get blown out by 20, 30 points,” Roethlisberger said. “Pat (Freiermuth) didn’t play in the first one. We will see what happens, they didn’t have guys that played in the first one either. From what I understand, both teams will be close to full strength as you can get this time of year.
“We will hope to keep it close.”
I hope you understand, it’s not a defeatist attitude to where the team won’t work or has given up. Rather, it’s the ‘no one thinks we can do it’ mindset that really tends to give athletes a drive to prove doubters wrong. It’s like fuel often for certain players, Ben chief among them.
“It’s special,” Roethlisberger said of being in the post-season. “No one knew if we were going to be here. All of these things we are lucky-we get another week of meetings, another week of practice, another week of working out together.
“All of this stuff, I try to never take it for granted and enjoy every minute of it because we won’t know if we will be here next week.”
The task is great and while Roethlisberger downplayed comparisons between this year’s team and the 2005 team that took a playoff road trip to a Super Bowl championship, it’s where Ben really established himself with his teammates, peers and fans, going to places you aren’t supposed to win and getting it done.
Now at the end of his career, another opportunity to prove people wrong.
“We are probably 20-point underdogs going to arguably the best team in football,” Roethlisberger said. “We don't have a chance, let's just go in and play and have fun.”