Whereas Rooney noted the Steelers "slipped" on defense, he believes the "arrow points up" for an improved offense.
"I certainly liked the way we finished. We, as far as I'm concerned, should be in the playoffs," Rooney told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. " ... (Roethlisberger) got better as the season went on, and that's certainly what we were hoping for ... I do think the way he performed over the last, let's say, three-fourths of the season, is what we were hoping for."
The two sides reached a happy medium over the final seven games in which Roethlisberger was sacked just seven times.
Offensive coordinator Todd Haleyfinally allowed Big Ben to take the reins in a no-huddle attack, taking control at the line of scrimmage in a manner similar to Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees.
"You have to like the fact that he stayed relatively clean in the second half of the season, and there's no doubt that's what we like to see," Rooney explained. "We'd like to see him last another five, six, seven years, whatever it is."