A day after a TMZ report that Ben Roethlisberger and two of his teammates were witnessed partying into the wee hours of Tuesday night at a Fort Worth drinking establishment, things got decidedly worse for those whose delicate sensibilities were offended by such behavior.
According to none other than Roethlisberger himself, this sort of reckless behavior is actually a "tradition" among the Steelers.
"Well it was superstition and tradition," Roethlisberger said Thursday when asked about his nocturnal escapades. "Tuesday night I take my linemen out to dinner. We went out to dinner. We went to a great barbecue spot, which they wanted to do. Then they wanted to listen to some live music, so we went to a piano bar and just had an enjoyable night."
Ribs AND dueling pianos? The horror.
All joking aside, the Steelers spent part of their final media session before Super Bowl XLV (FOX pregame 2 p.m. ET, kickoff 6:29) laughing off the notion that a late evening early in Super Bowl week could possibly derail a team with as much postseason experience as this one.
"I’m not concerned about that one iota," Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said. "It’s normal for guys to eat dinner."
"It’s funny how people take the negative spin on things," said offensive tackle Jonathan Scott, who was a firsthand witness to Roethlisberger’s version of "Piano Man". "Like you’re not allowed to hang out, you’re not allowed to be a normal person."
It’s the second time this week that a high-profile member of the Steelers has been the subject of a TMZ expose. On Media Day, Hines Ward denied a TMZ and Dallas Morning News report that said he and several teammates were partying at a local strip club within hours of landing in Dallas.
Ward would admit to going out for "a little bit" and having "a good time" — two activities which seem just fine with at least one of his teammates.
"That doesn’t impact us at all," linebacker Lamar Woodley said. "Guys out late? Who cares? As long as they show up ready to play on Sunday. And definitely those guys right there. I don’t think they’re going to lose focus at all. They’re going to come out and play football."