Terry Bradshaw has come to Ben Roethlisberger’s defense after Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell’s recent criticism of Big Ben’s leadership. Bradshaw, Pittsburgh’s quarterback from 1970-83 and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, was recently asked by TMZSports about the recent criticism that’s been thrown at Roethlisberger.
“He’s a great leader,” said Bradshaw, who was also critical of Roethlisberger earlier in his career. “He is. He’s solid.”
Bradshaw was also asked what he thought of Brown and Bell’s criticisms of Big Ben. Brown said that Roethlisberger has an “owner’s mentality”, while Bell said that he didn’t feel that his relationship with Big Ben was genuine. Both players have made it clear that their relationships with Roethlisberger played a factor in their decisions to leave the Steelers.
“That’s their opinion,” Bradshaw said. “That’s their opinion. I’m not there, I’m not in that locker room, I can’t answer that. I don’t know.”
“I don’t understand it,” Bradshaw continued. “All I know that the Steelers lost Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, Jesse James, the tight end, they’re going to lose the safety (Morgan Burnett). I’m worried about our team.”
Bradshaw was asked if Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin’s leadership style should be what’s really being criticized. Bradshaw, an NFL analyst on Fox Sports, has been very vocal in his criticism of Tomlin’s coaching style in the past.
“Once again, I’m not there,” Bradshaw said. “From what I’ve seen outside, the coach I had was the kind of coach you needed to win championships, and that’s what we did.”
Bradshaw’s coach, Chuck Noll, inherited arguably the NFL’s worst franchise in 1969 and turned it into a Super Bowl champion just five years later. Noll’s Steelers went on to become the third NFL franchise to win two Super Bowls and the first franchise to win three and four Vince Lombardi Trophies. Noll’s Steelers remain the only team in NFL history to win back-to-back Super Bowl championships twice. In all, the Steelers won four Super Bowls in a six-year span in the 1970s while going 4-0 in Super Bowl competition.
The irony in Bradshaw’s new comments on Noll is the fact that Bradshaw loathed the way Noll treated him during his years with the Steelers. Bradshaw has said on numerous occasions that he wished that the Steelers would have traded him so that he could have played for another coach. Apparently, with time, age and maturity, Bradshaw now understands that Noll was simply trying to get the best out of him as well as his teammates. The fact that they are arguably the greatest team in NFL history is proof that Noll’s coaching style paid off.
Bradshaw, who earned MVP honors in Pittsburgh’s victories in Super Bowl XIII and XIV, is still the only Steelers quarterback that has won a league MVP award, doing so during the 1978 campaign. While he doesn’t know if Roethlisberger will even win an MVP award, he does believe that Big Ben will get his contract extension at some point this offseason.
“He’ll get the contract,” Bradshaw said. “He deserves it.”