If Ben Roethlisberger retires after the 2017 season, where is he going to be remembered in Pittsburgh Steelers’ history?
This is a loaded question. For starts, it depends on your generation. While millennials will say he’s the greatest quarterback the Pittsburgh Steelers have ever had, people who lived through the Terry Bradshaw days will say different.
For me, I grew up watching Big Ben tear up defenses, out-muscle half of the NFL, and secure his spot as Pittsburgh’s greatest quarterback of all time. Although the only Terry Bradshaw action I’ve ever witnessed is highlight reels, I’d still make a strong argument that Roethlisberger is the GOAT.
Then, you have to consider off the field issues. While personally, I don’t believe actions off the field, good or bad, should be a factor to your legacy on the field, some people feel differently.
Obviously, Ben has had his troubles. With more than one incident involving accusations of sexual assault (none of which he was found guilty for) and other problems that have caused tension throughout his career, it’s easy to see why people have a hard time liking the quarterback.
His off the field stuff may hurt his reputation, but it shouldn’t hurt his rank in Pittsburgh history. You can hate the guy, but that doesn’t mean you don’t award him the honor he deserves. Half the NFL hates Tom Brady, but there’s absolutely no denying that he’s the greatest quarterback of all time.
Through 13 years; Terry Bradshaw’s final full season with Pittsburgh, he threw for 27,912 yards, 210 touchdowns, and 210 interceptions. For Roethlisberger, he finished his 13th season last year and is currently at 46,814 yards, 301 touchdowns, and 160 interceptions. Even if Ben has thrown 2,031 more attempts than Bradshaw, he’s still putting up numbers Bradshaw was never able to.
Honestly, the entire argument is made through perception. I will sit there and argue stats and success during his career; others will say Bradshaw played in a better era. While I don’t necessarily believe that’s true; with today’s game being much more pass-happy and defensive backs being 10-times better than they were in the past, people will say I’m wrong.
Look, Ben’s arguable the best quarterback in Pittsburgh history. For people born after the Bradshaw era, he is the best. Heck, for many who lived through the Steel Curtain and Bradshaw, Ben is still the best ever to wear Black and Yellow.
Others will disagree, though, and like every sports argument, you’ll never convince them they’re wrong. Either way, he’s a future Hall of Famer and one of the best players to ever come through the Steel City.
Whether this is his last year or he plays the next five, Ben Roethlisberger is one of the best of all-time. 10 years from now, people will look back and remember how Big Ben dominated the NFL for years and earned the respect of Steelers fans everywhere.
At the end of the day, no matter you see him, Big Ben is a legend. If this is his final year, he’ll leave the greatest city on Earth as one of the best, and for some, he’ll leave the greatest.