started out on a great note….or actually many great notes – as in music notes:

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra performed holiday music for the Steelers to help kick off the holiday season.

Enjoy the video here.

It was followed by Ben’s Q&A with the media:

On if he feels like officials are doing enough to protect quarterbacks in the league:

Yes, I guess so. Got to be careful how I answer that, I guess, so I don’t get in trouble.

On if he would prefer Peyton Manning playing this game:

To me, I have enough to worry about with their defense. I can’t worry about who they have going at quarterback, because if I think for even two seconds about their offense, I’m going to be in trouble because their defense is that good.

On teams pressing Antonio Brown at the line:

Some teams try that. Sometimes it works, sometimes you fail miserably at it. He’s one of the best in the world for a reason. He can get open against press, or off. I’m happy he’s on my side.

On Vontaze Burfict:

He’s a physical football player. He gets after it and that’s what you love about the game, his physicality and getting after it. So, I’m done worrying about that. It’s behind us, we have to move forward now.

On his group of receivers now compared to before:

It’s another good group. A.B. is A.B. and I think the other guys are young guys trying to be great. Markus Wheaton sits in here every day and we talk and communicate, and Martavis is the same way. I think each one just brings something different to the table.

On what’s contributed to the success you guys have had in the two-minute drill this year:

Just everybody understanding what’s going on, the extra effort, the work, the communication. It’s really just a big part of it. If you can sync, communicate and work together and even just talk, sit down next to Markus or A.B. or Heath Miller and just communicate in the locker room. It can go a long way on the field.

On having the same coordinator for four years:

That helps a lot. The more comfortable you get, you start almost calling the same plays. You’re calling something, or he’s calling it in. So, the faith and trust the coaching staff has in me and in us as an offense helps too.

You can read more here & watch the video of his interview here.

And from‘s Andy Benoit today:

“The NFL’s Most Physically Gifted Quarterback”

112415Throughout his career, Ben Roethlisberger has been like a Quentin Tarantino movie: everyone knows he’s great, but no one knows exactly why. That remains true this season. Cam Newton has become the media darling. Aaron Rodgers remains the QB people would most want to build around over the next five years. Tom Brady is the resident icon, on his way to possibly being the G.O.A.T.

Roethlisberger has played as well as any of these guys. The Steelers are 6-3 in games that he’s taken the majority of the snaps, and his 332 passing yards per outing lead the league. And remember, he’s playing in an offense that’s lost star running back Le’Veon Bell as well as starters at the two most important positions up front: center (Maurkice Pouncey) and left tackle (Kelvin Beachum). Yes, others have stepped up. Running back DeAngelo Williams has been fantastic, doing everything Bell does albeit at a slightly less explosive level. Cody Wallace has been steady at center and undrafted 27-year-old Alejandro Villanueva has managed to stay above water at left tackle. Pittsburgh’s pass protection has been among the NFL’s best, particularly in recent weeks.

Effective as the backups-turned-starters have been, the Steelers would not be in playoff contention without Big Ben. Early in his career, Roethlisberger would post sterling numbers—not necessarily on a weekly basis, but fairly often. When he did, it was attributed to his unparalleled knack for extending plays. We’ve all seen him shed would-be sackers, create throwing windows with pump fakes and, like a bull who won’t be corralled, lumber outside the pocket to break down a defense. Roethlisberger has always been dominant if not unstoppable with movement.

But somehow we overlook what happens at the end of that movement: his passes. Roethlisberger is an unbelievable thrower of the football. His arm strength is among the NFL’s very best and so is his precision accuracy. It’s one thing for a quarterback to extend the play. It’s quite another for him to cap it off with a pinpointed deep ball or intermediate strike while under duress. In the early 2000s, Michael Vick was deemed the league’s most athletic quarterback. But it’s Roethlisberger who has always been the most physically gifted man at the position.

Because of Roethlisberger’s brutish style, it was presumed that his talents would begin to diminish by his mid-30s, much like it did for Steve McNair, who played the position in a similar way. Instead, Roethlisberger, at 33, is better than ever. That’s because he’s expanded his game in ways that few believed possible. Over the last five years, in fact, Roethlisberger has improved more than any NFL quarterback. And once again, people are failing to recognize the nuances of his greatness.

You can read more here.