It's 3rd and 7 on the Jacksonville 42 yard-line. The ball is snapped and the rush is on. Pittsburgh's offensive line, as it usually does, leaves it's QB open for the kill. With 2 defenders hanging off of him, the strong-willed #7 fires off a shot to his favorite receiver for an unbelievable first down. But as the camera pans back to our hero, it finds him writhing in pain on the ground. This real-life Ironman, however, will not be defeated. He gathers himself up and brings his team to the line, leading them on a game winning drive to defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars who had so wronged them a year before in the Playoffs.
If you haven't figured it out by now, I am of course talking about the Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, a player surrounded by controversy this year. But first, let me take you back to last year. Big Ben, as he's know by his fans, had a career year in 2007. He threw for 3,154 yds, 32 tds, and just 11 ints while leading his team to a 10-6 record and another AFC North Division title.
All of these numbers had analysts screaming for Ben to have another huge campaign in 2008. But what i haven't mentioned was Ironman's kryptonite.... his offensive line.
Unmentioned to this point has been he brutal beating Big Ben has taken over the past 3 seasons. In 2006, Ben was sacked 46 times. He went down 47 more times a year later in 2007 and in 5 games this year has been dropped 18 times. This all comes after the Pittsburgh Steelers' refusal to re-sign it's Pro Bowl guard Alan Faneca or draft a competent offensive lineman to replace him.
The worst part of it all is Roethlisberger is playing hurt through all of this. So far this season, Ben has seriously injured his shoulder and throwing hand and has had a handful of nagging problems not listed on the teams injury report.
Throughout it all, though, the 6'4" 240lbs Steelers super-hero has his team off to a 4-1 record and in real contention for the AFC title. When it comes down to it, Roethlisberger may take a beating, but he'll do everything within his power to win the game for his team. Not once this year has Ben talked down about his offensive line. He has great faith and trust in them, himself and this city.
All of this earns Ben Roethlisberger the title of Pittsburgh's Man of Steel.