The Steelers may only have a few seasons left with our franchise Quarterback
So I don’t want to sound like a pessimist, but the reality is this: The Steelers may have but a few years left with Ben Roethlisberger, our franchise QB who has brought us two Super Bowl victories since becoming the starter early in the 2004 season.
As fans, we know that all players eventually either move on to other teams via free agency or trade or move on to the next phase in their lives upon retirement. If you’re as old as I am, you fondly remember the Super Bowl teams of the 1970s. You also remember how sad it was to see the great Steelers players retire.
Hopefully, ‘Big Ben’ will not retire any time soon, but when he does, I think the younger Steelers fans, may experience what I and the older fans lived through after another Super Bowl-winning QB retired and that is a Super Bowl drought that lasted two decades.
Terry Bradshaw, the aforementioned Super Bowl-winning QB, played in only one game in 1983. It was against the New York Jets. I remember watching this game and remember watching the last pass that Bradshaw would throw as a Steeler. Had I known then that we would go 21 seasons until we found another franchise QB, I would have savored that game.
Instead, my initial thought was this: Bradshaw couldn’t finish the game, but he’ll be back because he’s tough. Similar to Bradshaw, ‘Big Ben’ has missed some games over his career but has always been able to bounce back and play through an injury. That was not the case in 2019.
Steelers in a closing Super Bowl window
Last season, Steelers fans got a taste of what life may look like without ‘Big Ben’. Ironically, we had a short window of opportunity to make the playoffs, but ultimately, we fizzled out and found ourselves watching the playoffs from the comfort of our homes. That was essentially what it was like to be a Steelers fan for the two decades between Bradshaw and ‘Big Ben’.
Yes, the Steelers made playoffs several times, made it to the AFC Championship game several times, and made it to the Super Bowl before ‘Big Ben’, but we did not win another Super Bowl until Roethlisberger arrived. The fact that the Steelers have won two Super Bowls with ‘Big Ben’ is a great accomplishment.
The reality is this: It is almost improbable for a team to win a Super Bowl without having a franchise quarterback. If Ben goes down again this year (obviously, I am not advocating for that to happen), but if he misses several games, who is going to lead us to another Super Bowl victory?
All I’m saying is enjoy the time we have left with Ben Roethlisberger because it may be a ‘long row to hoe’ before the Steelers are able to either acquire or draft another franchise quarterback who will be able to deliver another Super Bowl victory. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait another 20 years for that to happen.