When the Steelers welcome the Packers to Pittsburgh for alumni weekend on Sunday, it will bring up some hard memories. In Super Bowl XLV, Pittsburgh nearly captured their seventh Super Bowl title, but instead, a series of unfortunate events catapulted the team to the loss, 31-25. Ben Roethlisberger moved to 2-1 in Super Bowls and is still around the team. Meanwhile, the man who gets blamed the most for the loss is running back Rashard Mendenhall.
Mendenhall fumbled on the first play of the fourth quarter, precipitating a decline that would allow Aaron Rodgers to take over the game. Joining The Raw Room Podcast, Mendenhall sounded off on the criticism he receives from the game, specifically that he is the only one blamed while Ben Roethlisberger catches no slack. Roethlisberger threw two interceptions in the game.
“If we win the game and our quarterback’s so great, then if we lose this game,” Mendenhall said. “You know, like in the Super Bowl, how’s it on me? It’s me cuz I lost the ball….It’s always somebody else fault. If somebody getting credit, won’t they take the fall too? I want to keep saying, ‘I lost the game, okay, but like where the f***ing leader at?’ If he’s winning all those Super Bowls, how I’m losing them?”
Mendenhall blasted Roethlisberger’s leadership ability, saying that he distanced himself from the team and would not take accountability for his failures. It’s not that Mendenhall is against being blamed for the fumble as much as he is upset that Roethlisberger never took his share of the blame for issues, too.
“If he is the leader and he’s taking credit for the fall of the Super Bowl, then leave me the f*** alone,” Mendenhall said. “If he didn’t, then he’s not the leader you say he is. The only thing I’m saying is get your foot off my damn neck; I can’t breathe. I did my best. I wanted to win more than anybody because I didn’t get to play in ’08.”
Roethlisberger, as the quarterback, became the face of the franchise. Of course, Mendenhall gets most of the blame for what went down in that game, but Roethlisberger holds his fair share of it, too. Both deserve responsibility for the loss. Hence, that is what happens when you turn the ball over three times, leading to that loss. It was a game not far from Pittsburgh’s grasp, but those turnovers ultimately did them in. One of those interceptions Roethlisberger threw was for a touchdown. Mendenhall’s fumble killed the comeback attempt when Pittsburgh was driving, but Roethlisberger is not blameless in that loss.