Ben Roethlisberger: A Look At the Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback's Past Year
Ben Roethlisberger had a lot of ups-and-downs in 2010 (and now into 2011). He didn't start the year due to a league suspension, but finished the year by leading his team to their franchises eighth Super Bowl berth.
He went from being ostracized to beloved again.
Let's take a look back at his journey over the past year.
Ben Roethlisberger started 2010 by not making it to the playoffs.
They finished with a disappointing 9-7 record for the 2009-10 season, just shy of making it into the playoffs in the No. 6 Wild Card position in the AFC.
So Big Ben's offseason began earlier than he would have liked and his 2010 started off on a low note.
In March 2010, it was released to the public that Roethlisberger was being investigated for his second accusation of sexual assault (the first was found to have not been true).
A woman accused Roethlisberger of sexually assaulting her at a nightclub, after inviting her into the V.I.P. section of the club.
Conflicting reports emerged. It was discovered that the woman and Roethlisberger had been a few different clubs that night and that the accuser had even posed for photographs with Roethlisberger during the evening.
Some good news came for Big Ben in April.
After carefully investigating the claims of sexual assault against Ben Roethlisberger, the police department announced that they could not find sufficient evidence to build a case or convict Roethlisberger of any wrongdoing.
So the criminal charges were cleared.
A Reputation Tarnished
Unfortunately, even though he was ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing, that didn't change public perception of Roethlisberger.
Being that it was the second accusation against him, many believed him to be guilty.
His sponsorship with Pittsburgh company PLB Sports was terminated.
He became a national mockery—his name coming up in a South Park sketch, an Eminem song and a Tosh.0 sketch.
On April 21, 2010, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Ben Roethlisberger for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy. The policy outlines the NFL player's responsibilities off the field.
Roethlisberger would be suspended without pay for the first six games of the Steelers' 2010 season and had to undergo mandatory behavior evaluation.
Roethlisberger's suspension was later reduced to four games.
Terry Bradsahw Criticizes Ben Roethlisberger's Behavior
In September, on an episode of Fox NFL Sunday, commentator Terry Bradshaw was critical of Ben Roethlisberger. Ever the Steelers' proponent, Bradshaw had seen enough and didn't like what he saw.
"The Steelers should have dumped you," chided Bradshaw. He cited Santonio Holmes as an example of the Steelers getting rid of a problem.
Return to the Field
Roethlisberger served his suspension and was able to return to the Steelers' during their Week 5 bye week. He would then start Week 6 through the rest of the season.
In the 12 regular season games he started, Big Ben and the Steelers had a 9-3 record.
AFC Divisional Playoffs: Pittsburgh Steelers Vs Baltimore Ravens
The Steelers' record qualified them for a bye week in the first round of the playoffs.
In the AFC Divisional Playoffs, they met the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens took the lead and held it until the third quarter. At 21-7 in the third, it looked like Baltimore would best the Steelers.
Ben led his team to a comeback victory, sending them into the AFC Championship Game.
AFC Championship Game: Pittsburgh Steelers Vs. New York Jets
The Pittsburgh Steelers took the lead and ran with it. They had the score 24-0 and looked like they would run away with the win.
The Jets tried to come back, scoring 19 unanswered points, but it wasn't enough.
With two minutes to go in the fourth, Big Ben faced a 3rd and long. He scrambled and made a pass to clinch the Steelers' victory and their third Super Bowl berth with Roethlisberger at the reigns.
The final destination in Big Ben's year is in Dallas, for the Super Bowl.
He will lead the Steelers in facing the slightly favored Green Bay Packers.
He started the season with a four-game suspension, then rebounded by leading his team to the Super Bowl.
Will they win it all again? We'll have to wait and see.