Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is just oozing with optimism ahead of this Sunday’s wild-card game against the Chiefs.
“We’re probably 20 point underdogs and we’re going to the #1 team, I know they’re not the #1 seed but they’ve won the AFC the last two years, arguably the best team in football … we don’t have a chance,” Roethlisberger said Wednesday. “So let’s just go in and have fun.”
The Chiefs are nearly a 13-point favorite for Sunday’s opening round at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.
While the quarterback hasn’t discussed being the underdog team heading into the postseason, Roethlisberger told reporters, “I would assume as a group you understand that we probably aren’t supposed to be here. We’re probably not a very good football team.
“Out of the 14 teams that are in, we’re probably number 14. We’re double-digit underdogs in the playoffs. So, let’s just go play, have fun and see what happens.”
Roethlisberger knows how it feels to be the underdog in the postseason. He was part of the 2005 Steelers squad that won a Super Bowl as the sixth seed.
When asked if this season’s race to the postseason drew similarities to Pittsburgh’s 2005 run, Roethlisberger said, “That team was a really good football team. We’re not as good a football team as we were then.”
His remarks, sarcastic or not, didn’t paint a picture of confidence just days before the wild-card matchup. Roethlisberger, though, wasn’t wrong, as the Steelers have an uphill battle ahead.
The Chiefs have won nine of their last 10 games, and are coming off back-to-back Super Bowl appearances. Sunday will be the second time these teams meet, and Kansas City pummeled Pittsburgh, 36-10, on Dec. 26.
“I hope we don’t go in and get blown out by 20 to 30 points,” Roethlisberger said. “We just go in and hope we keep it close.”
The veteran quarterback said he had a talk with some of Pittsburgh’s “young guys” to explain that “every mistake is magnified” in the postseason.
“I’ve been in a lot of these games where the team that makes the fewest mistakes is going to win. You just try and tell those guys that listen, we got to go out there and you got to play free and have fun, play football but understand that it does get a little bit faster and that the intensity does pick up.”
The two-time Super Bowl champion has now been to the postseason in 12 of his 18 seasons as the Steelers’ quarterback. He has hinted that this year’s campaign is likely his last.
Pittsburgh secured a bid to the playoffs after a dramatic win against the Ravens in overtime Sunday – and a dramatic overtime win from the Raiders ensured they’d make it to the postseason.