PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – A shocking statement from former Steelers offensive lineman Max Starks when he told the PM Team on 93.7 The Fan this week they built a game plan for Super Bowl XLV to get ‘someone’ a MVP trophy. It was confirmed by a three-decade NFL writer on Wednesday.
“I’ve heard that from players on the team, after Super Bowl XLIII when it should have been Ben (Roethlisberger) instead of Santonio Holmes (as Super Bowl MVP), as the argument goes,” NBC Sports Mike Florio told Andrew Fillipponi and Chris Mueller on 93.7 The Fan. “This was the opportunity for Ben to be Super Bowl MVP. Him and his good friend (offensive coordinator Bruce Arians), who was retired one year later and would go on to win a Super Bowl with another quarterback a couple of years ago. They constructed a game plan aimed at making Ben the MVP of the game to the detriment of the team.”
Florio told 93.7 The Fan this isn’t breaking news to him, he’s heard about this for a while and talked to a number of former Steelers players about this. As he said the goal offensively between Ben and his coordinator was to get ‘a certain player a trophy irrelevant to the Lombardi Trophy and that’s one of the reasons the offensive coordinator retired a year later’.
There was a lot of mystery around the sudden Arians ‘retirement’ when it happened in January 2012. The Steelers felt like they needed to break-up the relationship. Obviously from what we are hearing now you could imagine how members of that team might feel robbed of championship because two guys had a more personal plan.
Wouldn’t Mike Tomlin have sensed this was an issue before the game? Did he try to make any adjustments to the game plan against Green Bay?
“It’s a great question, when does the head coach take over,” Florio told The PM Team on 93.7 The Fan. “When you are a defensive head coach how much of the offense do you delegate to the offensive coordinator? It’s a lot of power. I think Arians and Roethlisberger had a lot of power and it worked.”
The team was 12-4 that season, 12th in total offense (14th in passing, 11th in rushing). Steelers scored 31 points against the Ravens in the first playoff game-two Roethlisberger passing TD, two Rashard Mendenhall rushing TD. Scored 24 points in the AFC Championship win over the Jets rushing for 166 yards and two TD and throwing for just 121 yards.
In the Super Bowl, the Steelers did get behind 21-3 early thanks in part to a Pick-6, they threw it 40 times and Mendenhall rushed it 14 total times including a key fumble. Roethlisberger threw it nearly three times as much as their thousand-yard rusher ran it.
“The belief in the organization was they were too close and they had to break that up,” Florio said. “The biggest problem that relationship manifested, was Super Bowl XLV.”