Jay C. Brandriet
Ben Roethlisberger played what was likely his last ever home game Monday night. In a scrappy effort, his team came out on top. Fans stayed after to cheer his name. He was feeling the love, and wanted to give some back. He took a lap around the stadium to slap as many hands as he could. I liked how he expressed deep appreciation for the victory formation in his on field interview.
Whenever someone of Ben’s stature retires, I often think about the timeline of my own life.
It was April 24th, 2004. I was pulling into my driveway while listening to the NFL draft. I could see my new neighbor David Schultz. He looked ready to throw the football. Russ Riggs calls and leaves me a voicemail. He wanted to remind me about my lack of my college football knowledge. He added, “Don’t forget the name Ben Roethlisberger. He will be a Hall of Famer in ten years.”
HOW I’LL REMEMBER BIG BEN
Number 7 could extend plays and shed defenders.
He was dangerous off script.
I think about him being a 13-0 as a rookie starter.
I remember him promising Jerome Bettis he would “get him to Detroit.”
Then later, delivering a tackle for the ages to help keep the promise.
Roethlisberger started in three Super Bowls, and won twice.
Many believe the best Super Bowl ever played was between Pittsburgh and Arizona in 2009. The final drive and throw by Ben, (and catch by Holmes) was a masterpiece.
WHAT LEVEL OF PLAYER WAS HE?
If someone attempted to poke holes in his resume a bit?
He was never THE best.
Six Pro Bowls is a lot, but not overwhelming.
He was “Second Team All-Pro” just once.
In his post season career, his TD to interception ratio is just 34 to 28.
Back to the good stuff.
His squads won 13 playoff games.
His ranks on most of the all time stats lists are impressive.
He was 164-81-1 as a regular season starter.
Ben had 52 game winning drives.
What matters most is, who were you compared to your peers?
Roethlisberger competed during a time where talented passers were plentiful. For the main belly of his prime, he was somewhere between the 4th to 7th best quarterback on earth.
Eli Manning was a unique level. If there was such a thing as a “low level Hall of Famer”, he would be the guy.
Ben played the most important position. That makes me assume his induction into Canton will come quickly.
Maybe he’s a “low level, first ballot Hall of Famer?”
This is what I know for sure.
Being a Pittsburgh Steelers legend, speaks for itself.
Jay C. Brandriet