The Pittsburgh Steelers dealt with a lot of adversity this season. Whether it was the four game suspension of their starting quarterback and captain at the beginning of the season or injuries on the offensive and defensive side of the ball, the Steelers had many obstacles to overcome this season. Despite that, Pittsburgh is heading back to the Super Bowl looking for their seventh Championship after beating the Jets this past weekend. Just like many times this season, the Steelers head into a game as the underdog thanks to the impressive playoff run of the Packers. But if there’s one thing that the Steelers were able to prove this season it’s that doubting Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers is not the smartest decision. Hines Ward joined WCNN in Atlanta with the Rude Awakening to talk about not getting very much respect at all this season, how it feels to get back to the Super Bowl, why there wasn’t much trash talk before the Jets game this past weekend, and whether or not he sees a change in Ben Roethlisberger.
On being the underdog again heading into the Super Bowl:
“Yeah. We’ve kind of been the underdog all year long. Nobody put us in this position especially not having our quarterback for the first four games, losing half of our offensive line, playing musical chairs with those guys, losing Troy (Polamalu) for about three or four games, and it’s just the make up of our team. We’re not a flashy team. You look at Ben’s stats, they weren’t really impressive, but one thing about him is he’s a winner. I don’t know why a lot of people don’t put him up there on the map. As a quarterback all you’re measured on is wins and losses, Super Bowls. I don’t know what his playoff record is. I think it’s 10-2 with two Super Bowl rings. That’s pretty impressive to me. We’re always like that, we’re always the underdog because we’re not a flashy team. We are a blue collar team that just shows up and finds a way to win ball games.”
Why there was no trash talk before the Jets game:
“Well I just think in their division, they’re kinda like the bullies in their division. Especially going against the New England Patriots, going on the road, and physically taking it to them. Then doing the same thing with the Colts. As far as if you wanna bully somebody, we’ve been there before. We play in the AFC North. We have to face Baltimore twice and Rex (Ryan) used to be the coordinator at Baltimore and knows the makeup of our team and what we’re all about. We’re not going to go out there and trash talk and be in a war of words with people. We’re just going to show up and play smash mouth football.”
Whether or not he has seen a change in Ben Roethlisberger:
“He’s changed. Like I said you get a greater appreciation for the game when the game is taken away from you especially with an off-the-field incident. He’s happy to be out here. For him it was more emotional considering how the season first started and here we are in the Super Bowl. The guys just rally around him, go out and make plays, and he’s just leading the way.”