Ben Roethlisberger knew it was coming. He just didn't know that it would happen during the Steelers' first home game without him under center.
It happened with about six minutes to go in the third quarter of Pittsburgh's 17-14 loss to the Patriots, after Mitch Trubisky threw a short pass on third-and-8. Boos rained down from the Acrisure Stadium crowd as the Steelers' offense trotted off the field. Chants for rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett shortly followed.
"I just don't think it's fair," Roethlisberger said of the situation during the most recent edition of his new podcast. "I wouldn't blame Mitch for the performance (on Sunday). Did he miss a couple throws? Yes, every quarterback does. I just saw Aaron Rodgers miss a throw and he's one of the greatest to ever play. It's going to happen sometimes. I don't think that he deserved the fans getting on him today, because sometimes you're playing within the system. And I'm not trying to say that it's on Matt Canada, either.
"I thought it was a little early, a little unfair to start booing. I think the boo birds were more for the offense in general. But I think, just the fact that they were starting to chant some Kenny stuff. ... I hate it for Mitchell because I just don't think it's fair yet. But that's just my opinion."