The Pittsburgh Steelers finished the 2003 season 6-10. The following season, rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger took the helm from Tommy Maddox, guiding them to a 15-1 finish, with an eventual loss in the AFC Championship game.
Since then, it’s been a somewhat bumpy ride. This is especially true for Big Ben.
Yes, the Steelers have won the Super Bowl twice in the past five years and are now seeking to win it again. But along with the talk of legacies and records comes talk of news stories and scandals.
From the nearly fatal motorcycle incident in 2006 to the sexual assault allegations in two different states in 2010, we are constantly on our feet when it comes to this team and its star players. Even with a suspension at the beginning of this season, Roethlisberger has made it to the big game.
Since Roethlisberger entered the NFL with only three years of experience in the Mid-American Conference, he has managed to exceed the expectations placed on him.
He is the second youngest quarterback to win two Super Bowls (XL and XLIII). He threw the game-winning last-minute touchdown to win his second ring. He is one of the most efficient quarterbacks in history. He owns a significant amount of franchise records. He even has sandwiches named after him. He is a big force to be reckoned with.
With a third Super Bowl victory, his nickname “Big Ben” could take on a whole new meaning. He would move into a second-place tie with Troy Aikman and Tom Brady for Super Bowl victories. He would then be one victory shy of standing atop the leaderboard with legends Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana. He will be able to shake off his critics and doubters, Bradshaw among them, and finally have a chance to stand separate from the other high-profile quarterbacks of today.
The Steelers faithful expect nothing less than the best from Ben, and despite his transgressions off the field, he always delivers. His reputation will reach a new level with a victory in Super Bowl XLV.
Roethlisberger knows how to handle himself in these type of situations… will he be able to step up to an even bigger plate on Sunday?