Is Ben Roethlisberger in the Golden Age of his career?


Greek philosophy describes the Golden Age of humanity as a great time of achievements and prosperity.

For Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, it can be argued that he has entered the Golden Age of his illustrious career. Season after season the signal caller has endured criticism of his play style, injuries, a retooling of his offense, unfounded rumors of being traded…you name it. That all changed for him in 2014.

In his eleventh year in the NFL, Roethlisberger had, by far, the best statistical season of his career. He tied with Drew Brees for most passing yards in the league (4,952), matched his career high for touchdowns (32), and posted his best passing completion percentage (67.1) since the 2009 season (66.6)

Lets not forget when he became the first quarterback in NFL history to record two 500 yard passing games, and also the first to throw six touchdown passes in two straight games. If you wanted a perfect example of being “In The Zone”, you would be hard pressed to find one better than Big Ben.

After much waiting, the two time Super Bowl champion was awarded a contract extension that will keep him in the Steel City until after the 2019 season.

The overwhelming joy that he would be finishing his career in the city he has come to call “home” could be seen on his face and heard in his words at the press conference where the deal was announced.

Even with the all the accolades and the fact that Pittsburgh has their best quarterback to step under center locked up for the next five years, one burning question still lingers: Will he be able to continue having the recent success he has displayed heading into the future?

Its no secret that Roethlisberger’s career on field has been a harsh one. Blame it on his “backyard” style of quarterbacking, poor offensive line talent or even a little of both, but the man has sustained many injuries over the past decade.

2014 marked only the third time he has played all sixteen regular season games in his career. The other two being in 2013 and 2008. The human body can only take so much abuse. How long will he be able to hold out?

The organization has taken steps to ensure Roethlisberger stays healthy. Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley‘s schemes, while still questioned by many, have proven to be effective in the past two seasons. The fact that Roethlisberger has not missed a game due to injury in two straight years is a testament to that.

His age may be an issue to some, turning 33 this past March, but think back to the careers of many other great quarterbacks who are playing/have played into their mid thirties.

Joe Montana and Steve Young both won Super Bowls at the same age, and quarterbacks such as Tom Brady, Brett Favre, Dan Marino, Fran Tarkenton and Jim Kelly (the final two appearing in multiple Super Bowls well into their mid thirties) are all fine examples of successful signal callers in the same age group.

Roethlisberger faces a series of difficult tasks ahead of him in 2015. Nine of the sixteen games this coming season will be against 2014 playoff teams, including both who appeared in Super Bowl XLIX.

If the defense continues to struggle the way they have, Big Ben and the offense may be called upon to bail them out from time to time. Head coach Mike Tomlin believes the offense “has the goods to be the best in the league, and could be their best chance at repeating as division champs, and making a deeper run in the postseason than last year.

Dec 21, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) looks to pass against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers’ offense will also be without Le’Veon Bell for the first three games due to suspension. Granted that only one of the three teams has a winning record from 2014, it still takes away a dimension of the offense.

Not only is Bell a very capable of moving the chains on the ground, but he is talented in pass blocking schemes, something the Steelers missed when he was out due to injury in the AFC wildcard game against the Baltimore Ravens in January.

Despite all the obstacles life, and the league, can throw at him, Roethlisberger will meet them head on as he done so with any other challenge in his career. Nothing short of a broken back can stop this can from being successful on the football field.

Is Roethlisberger in the Golden Age of his career? It would certainly seem so. With young play makers like Bell and Martavis Bryant at his disposal, and veterans such as Antonio Brown and Heath Miller continuing to perform at high levels year after year, he has everything in he needs to be the best quarterback in the NFL.

What better way to prove that he is by traveling to Foxborough in week one of the 2015 season to take on Tom Brady and the Patriots?

This is the year for Ben Roethlisberger to assert himself after years of being swept under the rug or ignored because his last name wasn’t Brees or Manning. People started taking note when he did things they could not, and should look for him to do so once again as he leads the Steelers in their quest for a seventh Lombardi trophy.

Next: Steelers 2015 Regular Season Schedule

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