Tim Benz: It’s not smart, but Ben Roethlisberger might continue radio show
Ben Roethlisberger’s 93.7 FM radio show is widely heard and often quoted.
Plus, it has been the source of consternation for current and former teammates, namely Antonio Brown.
The program has also been the catalyst of speculation when it came to Roethlisberger’s relationship with Todd Haley, his thoughts on retirement and his opinions on the team drafting Mason Rudolph.
Roethlisberger went so far as to apologize for criticisms of Brown he made during the show after the loss to Denver last season.
Except he didn’t do that until Monday. The game was over Thanksgiving weekend.
When he was critical of Brown during that interview back in November, it didn’t sit well with the combustible receiver. That on-air segment seemed to touch off the demise of their relationship.
So will Big Ben ditch the program this year? There’s been much speculation about that potential. I’ve suggested Roethlisberger do so in the past. However, it appears the quarterback is still considering keeping the program alive.
“I haven’t made a final decision yet,” Roethlisberger said in a KDKA-TV interview Monday. “We talk a lot about it with my family and my agents and the Steelers. I think people like it. That we can give some inside access. We’ll make a final decision moving forward.”
Maybe it’s been too “inside” for the Steelers’ liking. I say that from a front-office point of view and that of his teammates in the locker room.
One thing is clear: Roethlisberger prefers giving his own spin, in a controlled environment, on his terms, on Tuesdays, before speaking with the general media once a week on Wednesdays.
It’s also obvious he likes being able to speak before Mike Tomlin does, since the program airs an hour before Tomlin’s weekly news conference. So his narrative is the first word out in the public, as opposed to Roethlisberger having to answer questions about how his coach described events from the previous weekend’s game.
I get the impression Roethlisberger doesn’t want to give up the air time unless he absolutely feels the need to do so from within himself.
Or from within the walls of the Steelers’ front office.
“If we do (the show), it’ll be the best we’ve ever done,” Roethlisberger continued. “If we don’t, there will probably be a reason, too.”
Yeah. And that reason is Roethlisberger can’t help himself.
If Big Ben feels a certain way — particularly “a way” that can make him look better when a controversy flares up — he’s going to say it in his own voice.
And he’ll do so even if a watered-down, politically correct opinion may be the more expeditious way to go.
That hasn’t gone so well in the scope of muting controversy. But it’s gone great for the phenomenal traction the show gets on air and online.
If Roethlisberger keeps doing the show, both patterns will continue. And this column will benefit as well.
Even if it’s not the smart thing for the quarterback to do.