By Colin Dunlap

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PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – I have officially lost all hope. It is over, done, kaput.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and offensive coordinator Todd Haley will just never get along. Their relationship has been — and will forever be — as icy as The Mon this time of year.

For me, yesterday was the drop-dead point of hope, as the Steelers fell to the New England Patriots, 27-24, in what seemed like the most-anticipated regular-season football game in the history of the National Football League. It pretty much lived up to the billing, too, with an absolutely crazy ending and more twists than the Thunderbolt.

Anyhow, we all know the Steelers’ offense had a chance until that fateful throw to end things by Ben Roethlisberger into what seemed like sextuple coverage. I didn’t mind going for it there; I really minded the throw though — simply, Roethlisberger should have chucked the ball 56 rows deep when he saw there was nothing there and allowed his team to live to fight on 4th down when Chris Boswell most likely would have knocked through a game-tying field goal and pushed things into overtime.

As we know, that didn’t happen.

Know what did? Big Ben had to tell everyone he never really wanted to run a true play on third down.

He just had to tell us.

Know what else happened? Big Ben had to tell us Todd Haley wanted to run a play while Ben’s preference was to spike it.

That’s what happened.

Ben felt the need to exonerate himself and put some of the focus of the blame on Haley. I’m a huge Roethlisberger fan and think he’s the greatest quarterback in franchise history. I also think there have been many times he has accepted blame to cover for teammates. But when it comes to the Roethlisberger v. “Coach Todd” situations, doesn’t it feel that Ben is always pretty darn quick to point at Haley if he feels Haley had a hand in something that didn’t work?

Maybe I’m off here, but that’s the way it feels to me.

In addition, Roethlisberger is the guy with the ultimate veto power at the scrimmage line. If he felt a spike was the best option, he should have simply, well, spiked the football. What would be the blowback for disobeying Haley in that instance? Are the Steelers going to bench Big Ben next week for insubordination? Let’s not be silly.

Again, in the postgame though, it just felt like an inane game of finger pointing that hammered home to me that these two guys will always be — to some degree at least — at odds.

On top of that, when there was a lengthy review after the first down play where many thought Steelers tight end Jesse James scored a touchdown — and the review kept going on and on and on — why didn’t Roethlisberger and Haley get together and plan the next few plays? Why were they not communicating like an offensive coordinator and quarterback should during that time?

To me, that is curious.

That speaks to a disconnect.

That is really fascinating and atypical in that situation.

Oh well. I think I am done trying to figure this all out. I think the real truth is that Ben and Haley most likely will never get along all that great. It just feels like they need to coexist. ​

 

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