Not long after the Steelers' 2011 season ended with an agonizing playoff defeat in Denver -- a game in which Ben Roethlisberger rallied the team with two late scores to force overtime -- team president Art Rooney II said his two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback would have to "tweak" his game to continue to survive in the National Football League.
To help facilitate the process, the Steelers hired Todd Haley as offensive coordinator to replace Bruce Arians. The move was designed to get Roethlisberger to be more disciplined in the pocket and smarter with the ball.
At age 30, they wanted him to use his experience to be more of a cerebral quarterback than a gunslinger, a player who could surgically dissect a defense with play-calling rather than relying solely on a free-wheeling, playground mentality that Roethlisberger has had since he was a rookie in 2004.
And, for most of the first half of the 2012 season, it seemed to be working. The offense, while lacking the big-play signature of past seasons, became one of the most efficient in the league. It led the NFL in third-down conversions and time of possession by a large margin, mainly because Roethlisberger was leading the NFL in third-down passing. What's more, he was having one of the best seasons of his nine-year career.
The quarterback ... in Big Ben they trust
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | Mar 3