In the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft, with the 11th overall pick, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Ben Roethlisberger from Miami (OH). Big Ben has been a towering statue in the Steelers organization ever since, with some incredible accomplishments during his time in Pittsburgh.
- 2004 NFL OROY
- 6 x Pro Bowl
- 2 x Super Bowl Championships in three appearances
Not taking away any of his accolades, however, at 38 years old I am afraid the wear and tear of an NFL Quarterback’s career are starting to show. The Steelers were off to a great start in 2020, got Big Ben back from his elbow injury, everything was primed for a deep run maybe even a fourth trip to the Super Bowl for Ben.
Even with the wins continuing to pile up, the play was different coming from Big Ben. There were not as many deep passes, instead going with the short “hot reads”, and heavy doses of RB James Connor, keeping Ben safer in the pocket and not allowing opposing defenses to get hits on the Steelers QB1. The new formula seemed to be working well. But with the way this crazy year has gone, nothing is for sure in the 2020 NFL Season.
With the absurd NFL schedule literally bouncing the Steelers around like a rubber ball, the early bye week, making that game up, and extending the week to Wednesday to play the Baltimore Ravens, the wear was truly starting to show.
In week 12 the Steelers hosted a pieced-together Baltimore Ravens on Wednesday night. Even with the win, Ben did not look like the Big Ben we have come to expect, not comfortable in the pocket, rushing even the hot reads, hardly moving at all. To me, Ben began looking old and slow and for an NFL Quarterback, those two things are not good.
Week 13 and 14 were more of the same, only this time the losses came. The Washington Football Team’s defense really played havoc with the Steelers’ offensive line and Ben wasn’t able to be Big Ben.
The quick passes worked at first, however, the Football Team’s defense adjusted quickly, got good pressure on Ben, and gave other teams a blueprint on getting to Ben and beating the Steelers. And the Buffalo Bills followed it to a tee, only allowing the offense to score 15 points, as the Bills’ defense really got after Big Ben.
I am not taking anything away from what Ben and the Steelers have done this season, as an 11-2 record is nothing to sneeze at, and with Cincinnati hosting the Steelers in Week 15, getting back on track seems pretty easy. After Cincy, the defenses stiffen, as the Steelers host the Indianapolis Colts with their very stout defense, and then go into Cleveland for what could be for the AFC North title.
No matter how this season comes to an end. Ben and the Steelers may win the AFC North, run through the playoffs, and get Big Ben his third Super Bowl Championship. I truly hope Ben will take the upcoming offseason to really think about his body and how it didn’t allow him to play like Big Ben in the 2020 season.
To me, it wasn’t the statue of Big Ben we have come to expect, it was Ben Roethlisberger doing everything his body would allow him to do to win a football game. The defenses are getting tougher, this quick pass offense is on tape, and the DCs are starting to figure out how to beat that system.
We hate seeing any NFL quarterback show his age, and we always want to see them go out on top and on their terms, but I am afraid this jump around season, the lack of preseason and the normal wear and tear of a regular season, Ben’s body will make it on its terms! I feel Ben should retire at the conclusion of this season, wait his five years, and be celebrated as a first-ballot Hall of Famer!