“The ultimate goal is obviously the Super Bowl. In order to get there you have to get to the playoffs. To get here is an honor. You think of all of the teams that aren’t here and aren’t getting this opportunity. I just feel blessed to have an opportunity.” — Ben.
From Teresa Varley, Steelers.com:
It doesn’t matter how long Ben Roethlisberger has played, the playoffs are still exciting.
Experience. Don’t think for one second that when it comes to the postseason that it doesn’t matter.
When the Steelers host their AFC Divisional Round Game at Heinz Field on Jan. 14, Ben Roethlisberger will be playing in his 21st postseason game. And it makes a difference.
“The speed picks up a little bit, the intensity, and mistakes are magnified,” said Roethlisberger. “Being there before helps.”
Roethlisberger recalls his first playoff experience his rookie year, when he helped to lead the team to the AFC Championship Game. While he was young and inexperienced then, he relied on the experience around him and hopes the same will hold true for the young players on this year’s Steelers roster.
“It’s been a while, and being your rookie year everything is such a whirlwind,” said Roethlisberger. “It’s a neat experience for guys, your city is excited, your team is excited, and the media is a little more. It’s a lot of fun because you know if you lose you are going home.
“I hope some of the young guys will be benefitted by being on a veteran team. I consider us a veteran team now. Having guys that have been there before to talk to, lead the way by example, definitely helped me.”
Benefitting from the bye: With the first-round playoff bye the Steelers don’t know who their opponent will be yet, but they are still spending this week on the practice field, working on different aspects of their own game.
“We are going to go out and execute our stuff,” said Roethlisberger. “We’re going to practice the two-minute drill today, go through some no-huddle stuff. Those things wouldn’t change no matter who we are playing.
“For us to get that work and get the feel back for each other will be good.”
The schedule the team is maintaining is the same one they do during a regular season game week, the only difference being there isn’t a game at the end of the week.
“Same schedule, same routine. I think that’s smart,” said Roethlisberger. “I think that way it doesn’t appear to be an unusual week.”
One of the best aspects of the bye is it’s an opportunity for players to heal some, to let their bodies have at least a small shot at recovering from the season.
“It feels good to let your body get healed up this time of year,” said Roethlisberger. “Everybody is banged and bruised up. We all have dings and bumps and cuts and bruises. Things like that. To get some time to get as healed as you can. No one is going to be fully healed by the time the game comes. But to get an extra week, two weeks of healing, is definitely beneficial.”
Roethlisberger did say he will watch football this weekend and keep an eye on who the Steelers potential opponent will be, but he also will enjoy some family time.
“I will watch a little bit. It will be on,” he said. “I am not going to sit there glued to my television and tell my kids go to the other room, but we’ll be sitting there. I will probably be playing catch with the kids, but it will be on.”
Take nothing for granted: Roethlisberger said that it doesn’t matter how many times you make it to the postseason, it’s still an exciting experience and one that you don’t take for granted.
“I know I still get excited,” said Roethlisberger. “You should never take these moments for granted. I remember hearing that my first year here from some of the veteran guys that hadn’t been (in the postseason) in a while. Don’t take it for granted, embrace it. I don’t know that you fully appreciate it.
“The ultimate goal is the Super Bowl and it’s been a while since I have gotten one of those and that’s motivating.”
You can watch the video from Ben’s weekly Q&A with the media here.