AFC North: Ben Roethlisberger wanted Kenny Pickett to fail
By Randy Gurzi
Every Cleveland Browns fan was hopeful that Ben Roethlisberger would retire following the 2020 season. They finally had the advantage over their AFC North foe following a win in Week 17 as well as in the Wild Card Round. But then, Big Ben came back for one more year and got two more wins against Cleveland.
He finally retired ahead of the 2022 offseason with a record of 26-2-1 against the Browns. For his entire career, he led his team to a 165-81-1 record with 12 playoff appearances and two Super Bowl rings. Due to those numbers, the Dawg Pound was ready to see him go.
Eventually taking his place was Kenny Pickett, the only quarterback taken in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Pickett replaced Mitch Trubisky in Week 4 and while Browns fans wanted him to fail in this role, apparently Big Ben did as well. Or at least, he initially felt this way.
On his own podcast, Footballhin, Roethlisberger said he would be transparent — while admitting he would get blasted for his take. He said that he didn't want Pickett to do well because it was tough to see someone else in his shoes.
It's true that he's going to be criticized for this but if we're all being honest, this is probably a normal respone. He occupied that job since 2004 and while he knew it was time to go, the end wasn't what he expected as the front office seemed ready to move on as well.
This was a very human reaction and Big Ben deserves some credit for being honest. He also said he feels bad for this take and offered an apology.
Having said that, Cleveland fans surely want Pickett to be a shadow of Roethlisberger. A few years of mediocre play would give this franchise some much-needed humble pie.