It’s not a stretch to state that a giant portion of the Pittsburgh Steelers fan base still isn’t over the Super Bowl loss to the Green Bay Packers. Former Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall, who had a key fumble in that loss, doesn’t appear to be over it either.
Mendenhall took to Twitter over NFL Divisional weekend to share some thoughts on the game. Most notably, Mendenhall called out former Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s leadership.
“If @_BigBen7 is the “leader” you say he is, why hasn’t HE taken credit for the fall?” Mendenhall asked in a tweet while including a chin scratching emoji. “What manager of a company goes to HIDE in the shadows when the results come in? We win it’s him, lose it’s me… or Tomlin huh..”
Mendenhall also included a 3-minute clip from Any Given Sunday in the social media post.
Mendenhall Calls Out Roethlisberger
Presumably, by “the fall”, Mendenhall meant the Super Bowl loss in February 2011.
Roethlisberger didn’t play particularly well, throwing 2 first-half interceptions, including a pick-six in the first quarter of that Super Bowl defeat. With two minutes left in the first half, the Steelers trailed by 18 points.
But Roethlisberger appeared to be rallying the Steelers for a comeback. He threw a touchdown pass to Hines Ward before halftime, and then Mendenhall scored on an 8-yard run in the third quarter. At the start of the fourth, the Steelers were driving again, approaching the red zone, with an opportunity to take the lead with another touchdown.
That opportunity, though, ended with Mendenhall fumbling around the Packers 35-yard line. Green Bay scored shortly thereafter to reclaim an 11-point lead.
The Steelers still didn’t give up and had their chances in the fourth quarter. But the comeback effort fell short in a 31-25 loss.
Roethlisberger, who posted 263 passing yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions in the loss, had this to say about his performance against Green Bay:
“I don’t put the blame on anybody but myself,” Roethlisberger said. “I feel like I let the city of Pittsburgh down, the fans, my coaches, my teammates. It’s not a good feeling.”
Whether or not Roethlisberger was sincere with that answer could be debated. All 3 of Pittsburgh’s giveaways during that Super Bowl proved costly in the loss.
But given those comments and his place in Steelers history, Pittsburgh fans on Twitter didn’t react too kindly to Mendenhall’s tweet criticizing Roethlisberger.
Mendenhall Responds to Backlash, Remembers Super Bowl Win
The former Steelers running back probably won’t have time to answer all of his critics on Twitter, but he did respond to one who posted a picture of his Super Bowl fumble.
But before diving into the Super Bowl loss and Roethlisberger, Mendenhall actually had quite a few positive tweets over the weekend.
On January 18, he retweeted a video of the Troy Polamalu pick-six from the 2009 AFC Championship Game. That day marked the 14th anniversary of the win that sent Pittsburgh to its seventh Super Bowl.
On January 21, Mendenhall tweeted a photo of himself appearing to carry some of his teammates’ shoulder pads with the caption, “Earned my stripes.”
The former running back also tweeted a picture of his Super Bowl XLIII ring.
Mendenhall didn’t play after September that season but still earned a Super Bowl ring because football is a team sport.
Organizations win Super Bowls as a team. They should lose them as one as well.