Why in the world would Steelers fans want Ben Roethlisberger to retire?

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Steelers fans should not be clamoring for Ben Roethlisberger to retire

With the uncertainty surrounding the future of Ben Roethlisberger, I cannot for the life of me fathom why Steelers fans would want ‘Big Ben’ to even contemplate retirement.  Yes, we did not achieve our goal of bringing a seventh Lombardi Trophy back to Pittsburgh, but is that really the fault of ‘Big Ben’?

Before we get to that, allow me to take a trip down memory lane, as it were.  In 1983, I was 14 years old.  I had been watching football, and coincidentally the Steelers, since 1978.  I knew our team was getting older by that point and I knew that one day, Terry Bradshaw, our Hall of Fame QB, would eventually ‘hang up the cleats’.

What I did not know is that I would witness Bradshaw’s last game and would endure what turned out to be two decades of ultimately futile play from the QB position.  Yes, the Steelers were able to garner efficient and sometimes great performances from our QBs who followed Bradshaw, but it was not until 2004 that we found our next franchise QB.

For those of you as old, if not older, than I am, I think you understand the point I am trying to convey.  Yes, ‘Big Ben’ has had some not so great years, but if you look at it in totality, he has been consistently a great QB.  Like Bradshaw, I never really felt like we were out of a game and had no chance of coming back to win it.

The Steelers are much better with ‘Big Ben’ than without him

Do we really want to venture into the 2021 season with a question mark at the QB position?  I don’t.  No disrespect intended to our other QBs, but unless or until one or all of them can prove that he or they can bring us back from a double-digit deficit to win a game, I will choose ‘Big Ben’ any day of the week.

I won’t tell you how you should feel, but I will tell you that if ‘Big Ben’ is the only QB you have known since being a Steelers fan, don’t be so quick to want him to retire.  If you grew up in the Bubby Brister, Neil O’Donnell era, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Again, no disrespect intended toward Misters Brister and O’Donnell, I liked both of them, but they did not bring us to the ‘promised land’ like ‘Big Ben’ has…twice.  For an organization that prides itself on being and remaining competitive, our best shot at bringing another Lombardi Trophy back to Pittsburgh lies with ‘Big Ben’.

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To answer the question we posed at the outset, it was not the fault of ‘Big Ben’ that we withered at the end of the season and it was not the fault of ‘Big Ben’ that we could not overcome a 28-point deficit to the Browns.  It was, however, everyone’s fault as football is the ultimate team game.   I will end this discussion by saying this:  Be careful what you wish for as you may just get it.