NFL: « Big Ben » Roethlisberger (Steelers) retires at 39
It was an open secret and Ben Roethlisberger took no one by surprise. As soon as the regular season ended, he hinted that it would be « very probably » his last season. A little less than two weeks after Pittsburgh’s elimination in the first round of the playoffs against Kansas City, the Steelers quarterback formalized on Thursday what everyone had already endorsed: he is leaving the scene, a few days from his 40th anniversary, after an 18-year career.
He is one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history and one of the most prolific to retire. Winner of the Super Bowl twice (2006, 2009), he also took part in that of 2011, lost against the Green Bay Packers. « I cannot express how much football has meant to me and what a blessing it has been (to me). I know for sure that I gave my all to this sport, but I am overwhelmed with gratitude for everything it has given me. The journey has been exhilarating, defined by relationships and fueled by a competitive spirit« , he wrote on Twitter. « Still, the time has come to clear out my locker, hang up my cleats, and continue to be all I can be to my wife and kids. I retire from football, really grateful“, concluded the now ex-player.
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Drafted in 11th position in 2004, the one everyone in Pittsburgh will quickly nickname « Big Ben » took umbrage at the fact that Eli Manning (No. 1) and Philip Rivers (No. 4) were chosen before him. What he had experienced as an affront would be his driving force from the start. While he had to learn behind Tommy Maddox, the latter’s injury propelled him to the starting position at the start of his rookie year. Roethlisberger won his first 15 games as a starter but failed in the conference final against New England and Tom Brady. The following season, at 23, he would become the youngest quarterback to win the Super Bowl.
The pass for Santonio Holmes, his sesame for the legend
A tough player, well in the tradition of the Steelers, Big Ben distinguished himself by his ability to stand up, to escape opposing tackles, and to prolong each action until a solution was found. That was Roethlisberger’s trademark. Statistically, he has his place among the greatest. He finished his career ranked eighth in passing touchdowns (418) and fifth in passing yards (64,088) and completions (5,440). His 165 wins make him the second most successful quarterback with a single team, behind Tom Brady with the Patriots.
But he was also an exceptional competitor. With 54 decisive drives to lead the Steelers to victory, he is on par with Tom Brady and Drew Brees, only one unit behind record holder Peyton Manning. Big Ben became legendary in one of those famous drives for the win in Super Bowl XLIII in 2009. Just over thirty seconds from time, his touchdown pass for Santonio Holmes sealed the triumph of Pittsburgh, in what remains one of the most famous Super Bowls in history.
The golden generation of the 2004 Draft is therefore gone, since Eli Manning and Philip Rivers had already retired. Roethlisberger will have won as many Super Bowls as Manning, but his statistics are far superior. Rivers could compete statistically, but he never won a title or even played in a Super Bowl. In a few weeks, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady could also decide to hang up and it is a whole section of the history of the major quarterbacks of the 21st century which could close, while Brees also retired last year. pass.
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