Entry from an unconcerned Steelers fan
If you think for one moment that I am just a tad bit concerned about Big Ben’s time in Pittsburgh coming to an end, let me be the first to tell you, I’m not. I mean I haven’t even thought twice about it, and here’s why:
First, if you think for one second, that after winning nine straight games after losing four straight, that Ben’s going to walk away from the game of football after getting beat like a drum in Gillette Stadium, YOU’RE CRAZY!
Now granted, Big Ben is 34 and leads the NFL in active quarterbacks sacked at 456. Would you believe me if I told you the runner up was Tom Brady? You don’t have to because it’s true (at 417). Anyways, however, Ben is also coming off of his best season of number of times sacked at 17, so I know he has to be feeling much more intact than in season’s pasts.
Second, look at Roethlisberger’s embarrassment of riches on offense: Brown, Bell, Bryant who was suspended for this season, Jessie James and Eli Rogers who are emerging talents for the Steelers, Sammie Coats if he can learn more than the fly route, and newly acquired tight end Ladarius Green if he can stay healthy. No way he goes to sleep at night okay with some fresh out of college rookie quarterback coming in and orchestrating HIS offense (because it damn sure won’t be left up to Landry Jones nor Zach Mettenberger).
I mean despite getting embarrassed in the biggest AFC championship game for both franchises, the talent is there, and could be Roethlisberger’s best offensive unit since the 2009 Super Bowl team. Speaking of team, how about that defense? Of course it’s not the Steel Curtain, heck it’s not even the fearsome unit that featured Joey Porter, Foote, Farrior, Hampton, and Polamalu, but they are starting to find some heart and aggression. Overall, there’s too much talent on both sides of the ball, and to think that Ben and the Steelers couldn’t put themselves in the same position next season, is balderdash.
Last but not least, his accolades and accomplishments. Roethlisberger was, and still is the youngest quarterback to have won a Super Bowl, leading the Steelers to a 21-10 victory over the Seattle Seahawks, and it only took him his second season. He’s been to the Super Bowl three times winning twice, selected five times to the Pro Bowl, and even has an Offensive Rookie player of the year award under his belt. While that may be enough to go to sleep to at night…it’s just that, something to go to sleep to. Not saying it’s not good enough, but with his legacy left suspended in the air, there’s more left in the tank and more work to be done on the field.
Ever watch NFL Insiders on ESPN in the beginning of the season? When it comes to “Tier 1” quarterbacks, they always give Ben his respects, but never seem to confident on solidifying him in that group. Obviously he’s not going to get ahead of or even, even out the series between him and Brady which is currently at 3-6, he has to get one more, specifically when it counts (assuming they’d meet again in the playoffs). Yes, Roethlisberger can be like a well-built roller-coaster through the course of the season, but he’s still a very solid quarterback and is the engine to the car that the Steelers have built.
Overall, I just don’t see Roethlisberger calling it quits after falling just short of the big game. Not to mention, James Harrison who’s 38, said “he’s not done yet,” making him and Roethlisberger the only players left from their most recent Super Bowl back in 2011 (young Antonio Brown was on the team; had one catch for one yard). Let’s not forget, this is the Roethlisberger that once convinced an aging Jerome Bettis to come back for just one more season and promised him a Super Bowl (which he delivered on) over a two hour phone conversation, don’t think Coach Tomlin and maybe team owner Dan Rooney aren’t going to do the same.
See ya next season number 7!