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Ben Roethlisberger Speaks on Bill Cowher’s Coaching: ‘He Treated Me Like a Crappy Rookie’

Former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger talked about his relationship with Bill Cowher and how it helped him grow.



Ben Roethlisberger Bill Cowher Pittsburgh Steelers
February 5, 2006; Detroit, MI, USA; NFL FOOTBALL: Pittsburgh's head coach Bill Cowher grabs his QB Ben Roethlisberger in the final three minutes during a time out during the second half of Super Bowl XL (40) between the Seattle Seahawks (NFC) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (AFC) at Ford Field.

Pittsburgh Steelers legend Ben Roethlisberger was just a player that the team took a swing on in the 2004 NFL Draft when they needed a clear uptick in quarterback play. Not everyone in the organization was behind the move to pick him, but two Super Bowls later, and it was the right move.

But while he came in as a rookie and led the team to a blazing 15-1 record, he may never have become the player he was without the hard coaching from Bill Cowher. Cowher treated Roethlisberger not like the first-round pick at quarterback, but another mediocre rookie who had to prove his worth.

“He treated me like a crappy rookie,” Roethlisberger said on the Alpha 5 Method Podcast. “He’s admitted it and we’ve talked about it. He’s like, ‘Ben, I could have treated you like the greatest thing since sliced bread and put you up there because you were winning games, or I could have treated you like I did, and I chose that route because I felt like that was what was best for you. It wasn’t like you were with Coach Tomlin. You were like, kind of buddies, could go talk to him or whatever. The old open door policy, I never went in the open door. I didn’t want go in and talk to Coach Cowher. That was the last thing I wanted to do.”

Cowher, a Crafton, Pa., native who served as Steelers head coach from 1992-2006, finished his coaching career with a 161-99-1 record. He guided the Steelers to victory in Super Bowl XL and won NFL Coach of the Year Awards in 1992 (Associated Press and Sporting News) and 2004 (Sporting News).

As head coach, his teams won the AFC two times, made it to six AFC Championships, won the AFC Central or North Division eight times and made the postseason 10 times.

He was selected as part of the Hall of Fame’s Centennial Class, an extra large class to represent the NFL’s 100th season. A blue-ribbon panel of comprised of Hall of Fame selectors, inductees, coaches, football executives and historians made the selection.

His coaching, like how he treated Roethlisberger, is a clear indicator of who he was and the type of coach he is, and that is why he was able to get the most out of his players.