The Making of a Legend: Ben Roethlisberger, the Rookie

Nick SignorelliSenior Writer IJune 19, 2009

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 18:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers passes the ball as Corey Chavous #21 of the Minnesota Vikings pressures on December 18, 2005 at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota.(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images).

After being drafted with the 11th overall pick, the Steelers intention was to allow Ben Roethlisberger to sit and watch Tommy Maddox his rookie season.  The biggest knock on Ben was that he was going to take at least a year, maybe two before he was ready to start.

After defeating the Oakland Raiders in a week one matchup, the Steelers headed to play their divisional rivals, the Baltimore Ravens.

During the game, Tommy Maddox was lost to an elbow injury, forcing the Steelers to put Roethlisberger in the game.

Roethlisbergers first pass attempt was intercepted by the Ravens, making the rookie look just like one.

As friends of mine were screaming for Charlie Batch to be put into the game, I said we drafted him to be our guy, so lets take our lumps now, rather than later.

I believe my exact comment was, I don't care if we lose every game, get his experience now so next year we can make a run at the Super Bowl.

Baltimore went on to defeat the Steelers 30-13.

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The questions started swirling, would Ben be good enough to overcome such a tough loss in his first game of the season?

The next week against the Miami Dolphins, Roethlisberger would get his first start, and it was the kind of game that Steelers fans love the most, in the mud.

In Miami, the game was postponed and almost canceled due to a hurricane that would possibly effect the area.  Even though the hurricane did not hit Miami directly, the winds and rain were hard and steady through the game.

Ben threw for 161 yards en route to his first victory of the season and the first victory of his young career.

As the season went on, Big Ben continued to do what no rookie signal caller had ever done, win.

In week eight, the Steelers hosted the New England Patriots, who were not only undefeated, but carried in a 21 game winning streak.  The Patriots streak came to an end in Pittsburgh, 34-20.

In week nine, the Philadelphia Eagles took an undefeated streak of their own into Pittsburgh, also losing to the rookie led Steelers 27-3.

This marked the first time in the NFL that a team had defeated previously undefeated teams in consecutive weeks this late in the season.

In his 13 regular season starts, Big Ben did not lose a single one of them.  The only game that Ben did not start after taking the reigns was the season finally against the Buffalo Bills, with Bill Cowher giving the rookie the day off.

Having secured home field advantage with a 15-1 record, the Steelers hosted the New York Jets in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Taking the game into overtime, the Jets missed two crucial field goals that would have ended the season for the Steelers.  Ben drove the Steelers into field goal range to take the first playoff victory of Bens young career.

This marked the first time any rookie quarterback ever won in the NFL Playoffs.

Things would not go so well the following week against the New England Patriots.  The Patriots changed their game plan from earlier in the season, and their vaunted defense made Roethlisberger look like what in reality he was, a rookie.

The Steelers did not make it to the Super Bowl that season, but it was not a total loss for Roethlisberger.  The records that he set that year may never be broken.

Roethlisbergerreceived the Offensive Rookie of the Year award to go along with the records he set.  But it is what happened after the loss that began his trip to legendary status.

The promise.