Ben Roethlisberger Retires
For as long as I have been watching football, Ben Roethlisberger has been in the NFL. He has not just been in the NFL, he has been in the NFL playoffs… year after year after year. When it comes to the hall of fame, legacy is the biggest implication of whether or not a player is worthy of a gold jacket. Did this player leave the game better than he found it? Two Super Bowl rings and 12 playoff appearances later, I think it is safe to say that Roethlisberger has a winning legacy. He’s not only one of the greatest Steelers quarterbacks of all time, he is one of the greatest overall quarterbacks of all time. When it comes to toughness, it is hard to find a quarterback who has endured as much as Roethlisberger. Surgery after surgery, big hit one after the other, Roethlisberger was the true definition of grit.
With Roethlisberger retiring, there is just one remaining dominant quarterback from the 2000s, and that is none other than Tom Brady. When I think of quarterbacks that dominated that decade, I think of those two, Peyton Manning, Michael Vick, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, and Eli Manning. It feels like an end of an era, an end of a chapter, with just one page left, that being Brady’s career. If we are talking about resumes, Roethlisberger’s competes with just about all of those quarterbacks. Outside of being a two-time Super Bowl champ, he is the Steelers all-time passing leader, top-5 NFL passing yards leader, top-5 completions leaders, the 2004 rookie of the year, and a six-time pro-bowler.
There is no quarterback tougher than Roethlisberger. He’s played through excruciating pain including fractured ribs, nose, and foot to go along with torn ligaments in his elbow, knee, and hip. His ability to shed defenders while staying in the pocket is truly one-of-one. While Roethlisberger has never been an athletic quarterback, he has always had phenomenal pocket mobility. Defenders, no matter how big or small were never able to bring number seven down. The game that always stood out to me wasn’t either of his Super Bowls, it was a regular-season game in 2014 against the Indianapolis Colts. It was a good-old-fashion shootout between him and Andrew Luck. He and Luck combined for over 900 total passing yards, and the Steelers ended up winning 51-34. Roethlisberger threw for 522 yards and six touchdowns; two to Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant, one to Heath Miller, and one to Markus Wheaton. No player could ever rock the bumble-bee uniforms quite like Ben Roethlisberger.
Roethlisberger is one of the first players I had ever seen play football, and I believe he’ll be remembered as not only a winner, but also a player that showed persistence, toughness, and grit like no other.