It was a tense and emotional scene today as Steelers players and coaches took their seats on the dais to field questions from the media in the wake of Sunday's 35-7 thrashing by the Baltimore Ravens.
Moderator: First question, the good looking gentleman in the front row with the dreamy eyes and warm smile.
Artistry: Thank you. Pleased to be with you this morning. This one is for Coach Tomlin. Mike, taking a loss in Week 1, let alone a huge loss, is a first in the Tomlin era. How do you explain that the team looked so completely unprepared for the game?
Mike Tomlin: Let me begin by commenting that you are indeed an attractive man. I am entirely secure in my own manhood, so I do not hesitate in making that assessment. To your question, our goal every year is to maximize our performance on offense, defense, special teams, and things of that nature. I will get with the men, I will get with the coaches, and we will set about accomplishing that task of performance in all three phases of the football game. I understand that the Baltimore Ravens will join the Washington Capitals this week for a joint parade to celebrate their respective regular season accomplishments, to which I can only say, give my best to Ted Leonsis, and we will see you again on November 6, at which time we will be playing November football, not September football.
|Then we will play Dee-cember football.|
Finesse: I have one for Big Ben. Ben, do you think there's something to the notion that notorious cads like you and Tiger Woods lose something off your fastball when you give up your lecherous, and arguably criminal, ways?
Ben Roethlisberger: First off, all glory to God. Secondly, you're a great looking fellow in your own right. As far as your question goes, I need to be better. I would never compare myself to the heroes that put their lives on the line to defend our nation, but much like a general in battle, I can't leave my guys out on the field. I take the responsibility. Even if some of my guys can't block, like a Jonathan Scott, or can't hold onto the ball, like a Rashard, or appear vastly overrated based on meaningless preseason performances, hey Antonio, I need to pick them up. I need to put them on my shoulders. It doesn't even matter if I have a dislocated shoulder or twisted ankle or broken nose. I need to carry them off the field of battle, because I will leave no man behind. You know where I'm going with this. Band of brothers.
|"Jonathan, please escort the defensive lineman directly to me."|
Ben Roethlisberger (grimacing and flexing his throwing hand): That's a good team over there. Much like me when I wore a t-shirt to my rehearsal dinner, that Baltimore team exudes class. No matter what I'm going through, I need to be better for my guys. Offensive line.
Paul Hunter, CBC: This is for James Harrison. The defense couldn't stop anything yesterday. With 8 starters over 30, will you say what everyone else is thinking? That maybe none of you will ever be the same and should retire?
Ben Roethlisberger: James, no!
Mike Tomlin: James, put the weapon down! Holster your weapon.
[There is a brief pause as order is restored.]
Ron Cook: Rashard Mendenhall? He's a Bin Laden sympathizer. I mean, really. Don't get me started. Karma? I think so. I definitely think so.
Rashard Mendenhall: Is there a question?
Mark Kaboly, over-eager Trib beat writer: I just want everyone to know that I noticed Larry Foote replaced James Farrior for a couple of series. That's inexcusable. There is no way Foote has surpassed Farrior as a player. OK, there is no way Foote is that much better than Farrior. Coach Tomlin, I demand an explanation, because it makes no sense. Granted, Foote matches up better with speedy running backs like Ray Rice. Although, Ray Rice had something like 385 combined yards yesterday, so maybe he doesn't. I'm going to just stop talking now.
Mike Tomlin: [Shaking his head.] OK, last question. Ma'am?
Shelly Anderson: Good morning. I apologize, this isn't my normal beat. Dave Molinari ordered me to cover for him, I think he got confused, but that's neither here nor there. I just overheard some people talking in the hall. How much money did you guys throw at your defensive starters this offseason? They don't exactly look like Zybnek Michalek out there, if you know what I'm saying.
Ben Roethlisberger: Shelly, get down!
Mike Tomlin: James, no! Hand me the weapon!
Moderator: OK, thank you everyone. That's it for today. We'll see you back here next Monday after the Steelers dismantle Seattle to the tune of 29-3.