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Farewell Big Ben 

Farewell Big Ben. In what should be viewed as a sad moment given we have just witnessed the end of what is undoubtedly a first ballot Hall Of Fame career we now see Ben Roethlisberger riding off into the sunset and all I can say is thank you. 

Ben is someone who for me truely changed the way quarter backs are looked at, you may laugh at me for this but hear me out. As you go back through Ben’s time in the NFL there is one thing that to me stands out and that is his style of play and the physical nature of his play. 

Big Ben with the Lombardi trophy after winning Super Bowl XL. credit JEFF HAYNES/AFP via Getty Images

Just look at the way he has personified the Pittsburgh way of just getting in the tough stuff and putting in the work while never quitting. You just need to look at his work post any snap  in the face of any defensive side and how he would never let the play die unless he took 3 looks across the field and would unleash copious amounts of pump fakes to try open up any passing lanes. 

For me though he is the reason I’m a Steelers fan. Admittedly it looks like I’m a “Trophy Hunter” as I began watching the in 2005 season when they won Super Bowl XL against Seattle. But the reason I’m a a fan of Pittsburgh is because of Roethlisberger’s nick name that was the same as what I had grown up with so for me that was my in. 

Alas back from my diversion and back on to discussing one of the greatest career’s we have seen the only two who in my lifetime that are better are Tom Brady and Eli’s brother (also known as Payton Manning) who are like Ben in being unlucky to have not been able to have their own generational time in the league by themselves. I though think as much as Big Ben would have maybe won more Lombardi trophies it makes the 2 threat he won in Super Bowl XL and XLIII even more special given he he had to overcome such special players. 

The 2004 draft produced three QBs — Eli Manning, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger — who may be Hall of Famers someday. AP Photos

The major thing for me though is how he has been able to come back from major injuries that very well could have and in reality should have ended his career. Admittedly the first major injury in 2006 wasn’t that serious and could have been avoided had he been riding his motorcycle correctly but that’s neither here nor there. Although the signs of Ben as leader were already there as he owned up to the mistakes he made and moved on to be a bigger and better player. 

The closest he came to having to give the game away came in week 2 of the 2019 season when he had to leave the game early against the Seattle Seahawks due to an elbow injury. The injury was so severe even his own family tried to convince Ben that he had nothing left to prove but as he would not m the field he wouldn’t take no for an answer. The best way to emphasise what he went through to get back to the game he loved is to tell you to check out the mini-series on YouTube about the elbow surgery and recovery. 

On top of all that is the fact that he was drafted behind Eli Manning and Phillip Rivers yet he leads the three of them in wins, winning % and postseason appearances, as well as having as many Super Bowl rings as them both combined (yes Rivers didn’t win one but that doesn’t take away from Big Ben). You can also add the fact that he was offensive rookie of the year as a 3rd string QB in 2004 is incredible. 

Ben Roethlisberger @ 2018 Pro Bowl. Photo Credit: Yahoo.com.ca

So after 18 seasons of which none was a losing season, 2 Super Bowl wins, 6 Pro Bowl selections, 2x NFL Passing Yards leader and current NFL records holder for most career 500 yard passing games (4) and also the most completions in a regular or post-season game (47) now does seem like the right time for Big Ben to set sail on the next chapter. I for one hope he isn’t lost to the game and imparts his football knowledge on whoever takes the unenviable task of following in his boots. 

Yet for us all it is time to look back on Roethlisberger’s playing days with fondness and a rie smile because of what he has done for the game and the way quarter backs are going to play the game now as well as the way big men play with mobility. So as I said I hope Ben sticks around and dables with the white board for the next man in but if not, this isn’t farewell it’s just a see you in Canton. 

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