Ex-Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger Admits To Rooting Against Kenny Pickett His First Year

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Once Ben Roethlisberger left the Pittsburgh Steelers after 18 seasons, it was only natural for him to want the team’s succeeding quarterback to fail. Ben just wanted the Steelers to miss him.

The guy who took on Big Ben’s mantle was 2022 first-rounder, Kenny Pickett. Expectations were high on the Pittsburgh native to succeed, and after a decent freshman outing, Roethlisberger’s now on Team Pickett.

Speaking with the second-year QB, Roethlisberger reflected on the ill will he had for Pickett last season.

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA – OCTOBER 02: Kenny Pickett #8 of the Pittsburgh Steelers jogs off the field after losing to the New York Jets 24-20 at Acrisure Stadium on October 02, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

Big Ben suspected he’d get criticized for wishing the Steelers a shaky season.

Ben Roethlisberger Warms Up To Being A Kenny Pickett Fan

“I’m going to be sure transparent about this. I’m going to get blasted, I probably shouldn’t say this,” Roethlisberger said, sitting down with Pickett on the “Footbahlin” podcast. “Early on, I didn’t want you to succeed. … That’s selfishness in me, and I feel sorry for that.”

Finishing with a 7-5 record in 12 starts, Pickett performed a steady job managing the Steelers’ offense, post-Roethlisberger.

Pickett started the year as a backup to Mitch Trubisky and had his first game as the official starter in Game 5 against the Buffalo Bills. In his debut, Pickett completed 34 of 51 passes for 327 yards and one interception. The game ended as his best rookie performance — tapering the hype as the season went on.

Staying afloat in the competitive AFC North, Pickett and the Steelers finished the year with a respectable 9-8 record. Pickett threw for 2,404 yards, seven touchdowns and nine interceptions in his rookie season.

Still fending off Trubisky and longtime Steelers backup Mason Rudolph, Pickett will be entering an early ‘prove-it’ season in 2023-24.

With George Pickens, Diontae Johnson and the newly acquired Allen Robinson, the Steelers hope to see an improved offense under Pickett in his sophomore campaign.

OCTOBER 02: Kenny Pickett #8 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the third quarter against the New York Jets at Acrisure Stadium on October 02, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

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Written by Alejandro Avila

Alejandro Avila lives in Southern California and previously covered news for the LA Football Network. Jeopardy expert and grumpy sports fan that has watched every movie.

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  1. Seems more likely Big Ben sees that Pickett might have a future in Pittsburgh and he is hedging his bets. Why you would be against a young QB that comes in after you are gone and retired is nonsensical.

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