The Steelers were heading into a three-game losing streak just two weeks ago. Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense were sputtering. They looked like they had no answers to their struggles. Then Ben Roethlisberger decided to call for an only players meeting. He didn't call the meeting to scream at his offense. He called it because he wanted to get his guys back into the game of football. Ben realized playoff time is approaching. He also realized the Steelers were heading in the wrong direction going into the playoffs as well. So as a leader he called for an only player's meeting.
Ben Roethlisberger on the Players only meeting: "The sole intention was just to let guys know that, like we do every year about this time, if we are getting ready to get in the postseason or the last couple of games of the season, just how important every game is, every play is, every rep in practice," Roethlisberger said. "I felt like today was another time we could reemphasize that and just let people know how special it is. Half of the teams in the NFL aren't playing this week, so it's an honor to have the opportunity."
Roethlisberger has been in 21 playoff games during his 18-year career. This weekend will be his 22nd playoff game. Ben realized half of his team has not played in a playoff game. In fact, 26 players on the Steelers currently have played in a Playoff game. There are 27 players on the team who have never experienced the NFL playoffs. That is why Ben Roethlisberger wanted to express the importance of taking advantage of the opportunity that was presented before them.
"I was talking to JuJu this morning and I didn't realize the only time he has been in the playoffs was that Jaguars game his rookie year," said Roethlisberger. "There are a lot of guys that don't understand what it's about. I get it. When I was a young guy people tried to explain to me to take advantage of this, that and the other. You're thinking I am young; I'll get back. It's not guaranteed. I think all of the veteran guys as we are winding down our careers, we understand we don't know what is next. If there is going to be a next for some guys."
Ben is right. The NFL playoffs are not a guarantee. It is hard to get into the playoffs. It is even harder to win the Super Bowl. So he wanted his guys to take the opportunity to soak it all in this Sunday. More recently Ben sat down with Diontae Johnson during his struggles to catch the football. Ben gave him advice and wanted to lift him up while he was benched during the Bills game. Ever since Johnson has been back to his old self.
"That gave me confidence, had me playing good out there again," Johnson said. "I feel like myself again. I want to continue to show the world that is what I am capable of each Sunday. However far we go, this offseason I am going to work my tail off to come back stronger next year."
Even Chase Claypool is starting to get into the mindset of playoff football. This is his first season and Sunday will be his first NFL playoff game. He doesn't want the playoffs and the game of football to get into his head during preparation. He wants to just keep preparing the way he prepares for a regular-season game.
"I don't want to say it's just another football game, because obviously there are a lot bigger things on the line," Claypool said. "You don't want to let the game get to your head, to your preparation. Just keep doing what you have been doing every week."
This Sunday the Steelers will begin a new season. It is a new slate. Everyone who earned the right to end the Playoffs will start 0-0. That is why Ben Roethlisberger is taking his young wide-receivers under his wing. Ben realizes how important it is to take advantage of this opportunity. This could be the last time he gets a taste of the playoffs. The urgency is there and the Pittsburgh Steelers need to take full advantage. Leave the past in the past and take it one game at a time this time of year. If you look in the past or ahead it could end up biting you. Ben knows this. That is why he is taking time out of his way to help his young wide-receivers to prepare them for a difficult journey ahead. Will it pay off? Only time will tell, but Ben Roethlisberger is on the right path in what could be his last journey into the NFL playoffs.