Last night the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Cleveland Browns in a division matchup 26-14. For many teams it’s their last regular season game on their home turf but as for Big Ben, it’s the last in his pro career.
The Steelers finished 8-7-1 on the season. And for the 39 year old quarterback, he’s doing the best he can. Now that he’s no longer tying up his cleats for the gridiron in Heinz Field we can take a look back on his career.
Fighting injuries, changes happening almost every week, and father time taking it’s toll has certainly hindered Roethlisberger’s career during the later years. Remember Antonio Brown? Or how about Le’Veon Bell? Those are just a few guys that took headlines for-off-the field issues while being a teammate of Big Ben. But when Ben did have his weapons… he knew how to use em! Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes helping get those two Super Bowl rings in 05’ and 08’. Even Mike Wallace there in 2011 helping them get to the Super Bowl before losing to the baaaaad man Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
But that’s just the thing. Amongst the average quarterbacks, Ben stood in the elite column as he would scramble around and shake off defenders with his huge frame and deliver a strike. He was a ‘ok’ version of Brett Favre the way he would just run around and throw it. Had a good arm but never the best accuracy in the league. And when it was time to face elite quarterbacks, things never panned out well. Him and his team were embarrassed a few times at the hands of Tom Brady and the Patriots, losing in the Super Bowl to Rodgers, and never being considered the best in the league.
That’s not to take anything away from his 18 year long NFL career. He had ups and downs just like any quarterback. But when we look at what quarterbacks are doing now, it may overshadow what Ben was able to do. Quarterbacks now are faster, more agile and can throw the ball at so many different angles. And the fact that Roethlisberger made it to 39 in the league is remarkable. However, Drew Bree’s and Tom Brady have and are playing into their 40’s which may make Ben’s milestone seem unimpressive.
But Ben finished with 2 Super Bowls compared to Rodgers 1 so why is Rodgers acknowledged as better? That debate is for another day. As for now, Ben deserves his flowers.
Ben Roethlisberger’s career will be looked at by football historians as a remarkable one. He’s a Hall of Famer no doubt. As to the young fans, they may see him as a old guy who used to be good. When he had talent, Ben knew how to get the ball to them. But later years often would involve the Steelers dropping the ball in some dramatic way which wasn’t always Ben’s fault. Nonetheless, he’s respected to the true football fans. As to others, he may be overshadowed as stars such as Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes II, and Tom Brady change the way the game is being played.