I think it’s safe to assume that the majority of people reading this are Steelers fans. So I don’t need to convince my fellow citizens of Steeler Nation on why our quarterback is special, but just in case you’re not a fan of the greatest franchise in the NFL, please allow me to explain why Ben Roethlisberger is special.
Last Sunday, Roethlisberger came off the bench and led his team to a 30-9 win over the Cleveland Browns. He threw for 379 yards, 3 touchdowns, and only 1 interception. In case you didn’t know, Ben wasn’t 100% going into this game. The week prior against the Oakland Raiders, Ben got his ankle trapped and twisted after he was sacked by Raiders LB Aldon Smith. The collective heartbeats of Steeler Nation stopped for a few seconds after Ben left the game. Thankfully, he only suffered a mild foot sprain. Ben said “My foot was basically black and blue [early in the week].”
This wasn’t the first time that Big Ben played while he was hurt. Allow me to share a short story with you.
Week 14 of the 2011-2012 regular season, Browns at Steelers. Ben was sacked and his ankle twisted and turned in ways that it shouldn’t. Everybody and their mother thought Ben was done for the night, but guess what? He wasn’t.
After halftime Big Ben came limping out of the tunnel and into the huddle. As I sat there and watched this man continue to play through the pain, I was in awe. Most quarterbacks would have packed it in and most people would understand, but not Ben Roethlisberger. Despite only having one good ankle, Ben went on to throw for 186 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. The Steelers won this game 14-3.
Now this is what sets Roethlisberger apart from a lot of other quarterbacks. This is what he said in his post-game interview.
“I don’t want to let my guys down, I can deal with the pain. I’ll be out there until they take me off in a cart.”
That quote has always comes back to me every time I see Ben play, or someone talks about him, or even when someone just says his name. His act of selflessness is something to be pored over.
Ben Roethlisberger is so adored by Steeler Nation that there is a burger named after him. Well, there are actually many different burgers named after him, but the original ‘Roethlis-Burger’ was born at Peppi’s in Pittsburgh, PA. It’s called ‘The 7’, it’s a sausage and burger juggernaut topped with scrambled eggs and american cheese.
Yeah, that sounds good.
Some of you may think that Steeler Nation are the only ones that love #7, but you’re wrong.
A few days before his Cowboys took on the Steelers, hall of fame head coach Bill Parcells had this to say about Roethlisberger.
“He is the best (quarterback) prospect I have seen in 10 or 15 years, I have not seen anybody come in the league like that. The only guy that I can say came in, and the first year started playing like he is playing, is Dan Marino.”
Obviously, when the great Bill Parcells pays someone a compliment like that, the NFL stops and listens.
Ben Roethlisberger isn’t only a leader on the field, he’s a leader off the field, too.
Meet Carson Boyle, he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer last November. Since then, he’s had quite a few surgeries, but Carson has been cancer-free since January. There’s still a slight chance that the cancer will surface in his lymph nodes. So through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Carson wished to meet his favorite player, Ben Roethlisberger.
The Boyle family arrived at the Steelers facility and had a pair of cleats signed by Roethlisberger waiting for him. Carson got to spend 20 minutes with his guy, his favorite player of all time.
I know a lot of NFL players do things like this, but I also know a lot of them don’t. It speaks volumes that Ben took the time to do something like this. He left an impression on Carson and the rest of the Boyle family that will last a lifetime.
To me, there’s a lot more that makes Ben Roethlisberger special, but this would probably turn into a book if I kept going. I’m sure the rest of Steeler Nation and the NFL have their own story or stories on why they think Ben is special. The way he plays, the way he leads the offense, the way he commands respect, and the way he treats people will stay with me until my last breath leaves my body.
Here we go, Steelers! Here we go!