The 102 million dollar man of Pittsburgh has this to say about his city: "Pittsburgh is perfect for me. I dont want to go anywhere else. The first job I ever had is the one I have right now. Its working all right for me."
Well thanks Ben, its working all right for us Steeler fans too. Hey, Big Ben has such respect within the organization that when he called for a tall WR in the offseason, the Steelers drafted just that in the second round in Limas Sweed. The Steelers training camp has 4 WRs 6'3" or taller.
If you want to find Big Ben in the offseason, check the dive bars in downtown Pittsburgh. Why? Well lets ask Big Ben: "Pittsburgh is Iron City, Yuengling, and Rolling Rock. Its about the tough bars where the steel workers and coal miners hang out. Its great to have a beer with them."
Coming off his first Pro Bowl selection this past season, which saw him finish second to only Tom Brady in passing efficiency, he has shown the ability to take a game over by himself, as evidenced in week 9 when he had 5 touchdowns in the first half. His rating for that game? A statistically perfect 158.3!, one of two he got in 2007 and the third of his career which ties him with Peyton Manning for the league record.
Roethlisberger is a throwback: a sturdy, hard-nosed guy who can be relied on to make small plays as well as big. He is not the typical QB of his era if you want to think of guys like Tom Brady, Phillip Rivers, either of the Mannings. Ask ESPN's John Clayton: "He has got everything. He is tough, physical, and a good leader. Whenever he needs to make a drive happen, he can."
Big Ben drives a Jaguar XKR, likes to wear oversize T-shirts, and loves to wear his cap backwards. His favorite hobbies are grilling, hunting geese, and riding ATVs. He is a more blue-collar fit for Pittsburgh than Terry Bradshaw was.
Roethlisberger grew up 4 hours west of Pittsburgh in Findlay, Ohio, a factory town near Toledo. He didnt play quarterback until he was a senior in high school. That didnt stop him from being a QB leader in college at Miami University-in Ohio. "I am not a pretty boy. I come from a blue-collar mill-town background. That is why I fit in well in Pittsburgh", so says our beloved QB.
As a rookie, Ben led his team to 14 straight wins in 2004, and an AFC Championship game. His second year he led his team to a win in Super Bowl XL. Should he be worthy of Montana or Marino comparisons yet? Its too early in his career for that to be fair to Ben.
In 2006, Ben was on top of the Pittsburgh world, cruising around town on his crotch rocket Suzuki Hayabusa, which can go upwards of 185 mph. He appeared in a music video with a local country group called the PovertyNeckHillbillies. You could find his name on BBQ sauce and beef jerky, and its a well known fact he had his own hamburger named after him, "the Roethlisberger", a hoagie stuffed with ground beef, Italian sausage, scrambled eggs, fried onions, and American cheese at Peppi's, a local Pittsburgh sandwich shop.
On a Monday morning in June 2006, Ben was riding his cycle without a helmet when a Chrysler New Yorker turned in front of him. Ben's head smashed against the other vehicle's windshield. He broke his jaw and nose, lost two teeth, and almost bled to death from a cut to his throat. "I was 30 seconds from dying", he says.
He went on to play in 15 games but threw 23 interceptions-more than his first two years combined. The Steelers finished 8-8 and Ben was no longer a national media darling. His only consolation was going home to his two dogs, Zeus, his Rottweiler, and Bernese, his mountain dog. They are his only children. "When I come home from a game, no matter how good or bad I play, these guys dont know the difference", Ben laments.
Here we are 2 years later and Ben is back at the top. He is coming off his career best season when he threw 32 touchdowns to only 11 interceptions. He finished with a QB rating of 104.1, despite getting sacked 47 times, which is the second most in the entire NFL behind Jon Kitna's 51 times sacked.
Any thoughts of your own below regarding Ben would be much appreciated.