Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ben meets the press

The week leading up to the conference championship games must be designed as training sessions for the Super Bowl. Suddenly players and coaches are meeting with the assembled press every day!

Here, through the auspices of the National Football League, is the transcript for Ben Roethlisberger's conference call.

AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

NATIONAL MEDIA CONFERENCE CALL

PITTSBURGH STEELERS QB BEN ROETHLISBERGER



January 20, 2011



Q: On benefits of postseason experience entering this weekend’s AFC Championship Game:


BR: It helps with being familiar with the atmosphere, the intensity of the game and knowing every play matters, every play counts and every mistake is magnified. Being here and having done this before, you don’t really get surprised with how big the game is.



Q: On his confidence in Steelers WRs Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and Mike Wallace:


BR: Those guys have done such a great job – speaking of Mike (Wallace) first – of really growing from last year to this year. Obviously, everyone talks about how fast he is. (Steelers head) Coach (Mike) Tomlin teases him and calls him a one-trick pony, but he has done a great job of being able to do more than just run fast down the field. He kind of takes pride in putting the extra work in to being a better all-around wide receiver. He is still growing. The sky is the limit for him. As for Emmanuel (Sanders) and Antonio (Brown), those guys both put in a lot of work and time because they know they have got to live up to the expectations of Mike Wallace and (Steelers WR) Hines Ward who has been here forever. It is really an awesome thing to see those guys work and really just blossom and grow every week.



Q: On recent success of road playoff teams:


BR: When you’ve got a veteran team, I think that really helps – a team that kind of has been down the road. It is not their first playoff run or they just have a lot of experience. You’re seeing that now with the Jets. They’ve obviously got a really good team and a veteran group. You kind of lean on those guys to get you through it. You take this ‘it’s us against the world’ (mentality) but it’s really you against the other team and the other fans and the hostile environment you play in. That’s probably the approach that those guys take because I know it is one that we took.



Q: On Steelers WRs Ward and Antwaan Randle El influencing the position group:


BR: Especially Hines, he has been doing this at a really high level for a long time. He is one of the best receivers I have ever played with. He takes those guys under his wings and teaches them the little things that he can help them with. The thing about Hines is the football style and some of the things that he does you can’t teach. You are born with it. He has that ‘it’ factor. As much as he can, he helps those guys out. It has been huge for those guys to have him and now Antwaan back helping out.



Q: On the Jets defensive success in the playoffs:


BR: Literally everything from their coverages to their blitzes to rushing two guys and getting sacks, it is truly amazing. I’ve said that. They can go into Indianapolis and beat (QB) Peyton Manning and go to New England and beat (QB) Tom Brady, who are the two best quarterbacks in the game in my opinion, I don’t know how I have a chance. I’m just going to have to try and get lucky and play the best I can.



Q: On his attitude toward reaching the AFC Championship game after missing games to begin the season:


BR: The great thing is that was so long ago I forgot all about it. Right now it is not about living in the past for me; it is about here and now and this game. We can’t really afford to look back and focus on the past. We have to do what we’ve got to do now, and that’s trying to win this game against a really good team.



Q: On the Steelers’ defensive performance enhancing the offense:


BR: It’s great. As a quarterback, when you have a defense like we have, it gives you some confidence that if you make a mistake or don’t score every time your defense is going to be there to back you up most of the time. I enjoy watching those guys play. I’m glad they are on my side.



Q: On if his competitiveness drives him to challenge Jets CB Darrelle Revis:


BR: It’s tough. You’re right. As a competitor, you don’t want to ever say you are scared of anybody or you don’t want to go after someone but you’ve got to use your head. Being a competitor is being smart as well. Knowing how good he is and with all those other guys they have over there, you can’t just be like, ‘Forget that, I’m a competitor. I’m going after him. I don’t care what happens.’ You have got to be able to use your head and know when to attack and when not to.



Q: On knowledge acquired since playing in the 2005 postseason:


BR: How much the intensity and how much faster – I remember from people telling me from the preseason to the regular season the speed changes. It kind of picks up and intensifies a little bit, and it did. Then you talk about how much it changes once you get into the playoffs from the regular season. Every week in the playoffs, it picks up a little bit more. I don’t think I realized that at first. Even when people tried to tell me, it really didn’t hit me. Now I see that and that’s why I try and pass that on to the younger guys. Every week your mistakes are magnified. There is no more ‘my bad, I’ll get it next time’ because there is not going to be one.



Q: On interest in playing a postseason game in London:


BR: That’s a long flight, I’ve heard. I’ve talked to some of the guys who have played over there. They say it is one of the most awesome things that they have gotten to do. If you didn’t have to travel all that time with the long flight, it wouldn’t be such a bad thing. I think it would be fun to go play in Ireland where Ambassador (Art) Rooney is. That would be kind of fun.



Q: On his growth as a player and person since last season:


BR: When it comes to play, the more you play in this league the more you mature, the better you get and the more things slow down for you. I just try and go out every week and every day and get a little bit better and help my team win football games. When it comes to being a person, I just try to be the person my parents raised me to be.



Q: On a formula for postseason success:


BR: Try not to make mistakes and score more points than the other team does (laughter).



Q: On competing with other quarterbacks for Super Bowl victories:


BR: I’m not going for my third Super Bowl. I’m trying to get an AFC Championship win here. That’s what is first and foremost in my mind. In the offseason, of course, you think about those things – how many Super Bowls you have compared to other people. Right now, that’s not in my mentality and my mind frame to think about where I am on the Super Bowl list because I’m not playing in the Super Bowl this week. This week is about playing this Jets defense, which may be one of the best we have ever played.

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