For the first time in almost 25 years, the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted talented quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the first round of the draft. Ohio-born Roethlisberger was the third drafted quarterback in the 2004 class, with Phillip Rivers selected fourth and Eli Manning first.
In less than six months after being drafted, Roethlisberger would make his mark and steal the spotlight when player injuries forced the team to put the young quarterback in to play. Whether you want to familiarize yourself with the highs and lows of this NFL legend’s career, or you want to find out more about NFL lines, there are lots of things to learn in terms of the National Football League (NFL).
Setting Rookie Records
Ben Roethlisberger took over for injured veteran Tommy Maddox in the second week of the regular 2004 playing season. During this time, Roethlisberger went 13-0 as a starter and managed to lead the Steelers to a 15-1 season record and also hold home-field advantage throughout the postseason.
In this winning streak over 13 games, Roethlisberger made a memorable start to his professional career. His prowess meant that the Steelers were able to end long-lasting streaks for both the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots.
The Steelers won the divisional round against the New York Jets. This set them up for a rematch AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots from three years prior.
Roethlisberger’s incredible run as a rookie ended at the hands of Tom Brady, falling just shy of the Super Bowl.
Only a year after the heartbreaking loss in the AFC Championship Game, the Steelers seemed to become a team to beat. They clinched many wins in a row to steal a place in the postseason.
Once they had defeated the AFC North Champion – the Cincinnati Bengals – the Steelers were headed to play the Indianapolis Colts in the Divisional Round. A fumble by running back Jerome Bettis led to one of Roethlisberger’s finest moments, even though he was not holding the football at the time.
Bettis’ fumble occurred less than a minute before the end of the game inside of the Colts’ 5-yard line. Nick Harper, Colts defensive back, picked up the ball and began to head the other way when he was tackled by Roethlisberger. This move put the game in the Steelers’ favor and they’d go on to hold onto their win. The tackle ultimately saved the Steelers’ entire season.
A win in Denver the week after in the AFC Championship meant the Steelers were on a direct path to the Super Bowl XL.
The Steelers Storm The Super Bowl
Only a year after falling short of getting into the Super Bowl, Roethlisberger and the Steelers franchise clinched their fifth–ever title after winning against the Seattle Seahawks.
At age 23, Ben Roethlisberger became the youngest ever quarterback to ever start and win a Super Bowl in the history of the NFL. He didn’t play his best in the game – throwing two interceptions, completing a small portion of pass attempts, and scoring a rushing touchdown – but nobody can take this record-breaking stat away from him.
To this day, he remains on a pedestal that seemingly nobody can knock off. This is because it’s almost impossible to follow up with such an encore that reaches similar levels of fanfare as winning in your early twenties.
An Accident Occurs
Only half a year after earning the title as the youngest quarterback to start and win the Super Bowl, the Steelers were forced to hold their breath as Roethlisberger became entangled in a serious motorcycle crash in Pittsburgh. He crashed into a car just outside of the Armstrong Tunnel and was not wearing a helmet at the time. As a result, he managed to break his nose and jaw. He required relatively extensive facial surgery to repair the damage caused by the crash.
It slowed Roethlisberger down for a little while, but he thankfully made a full recovery in time for the 2006 preseason. His accident also brought attention back to a critical issue: the choice to ride a motorcycle as a professional athlete.
What Happened Next?
Sixth Super Bowl Win
The Pittsburgh Steelers failed to defend their 2005 crown and missed the 2006 playoffs. But in 2008, the Steelers defeated the Cardinals 27-23 and made NFL history as the first team to ever win six Super Bowls. They remain one of the only NFL franchises to have achieved a six-win victory.
Roethlisberger was true to form this season. He made a touchdown pass late on in the fourth quarter that will go down as one of the greatest plays in the entirety of the Super Bowl history. Santonio Holmes caught the ball with just over half a minute left in the game.
The 2010 Season
Roethlisberger was suspended under the personal conduct policy after sexual assault allegations were made. However, he returned to the lineup during Week 6 in a game against the Browns and ended up joining the team to play in the remaining 12 games of the season.
Unfortunately, the Steelers just missed out on clinching a seventh Super Bowl title. This was the most recent Super Bowl appearance for the Steelers, who have not played in the title game since.
In 2019, Roethlisberger’s career came into question when an elbow injury that required surgery sidelined him for the remainder of the season. He was faced with a tough decision: face retirement or have surgery. It was an easy decision for the quarterback, and he later returned for the 2020 season.
Roethlisberger played for the Pittsburgh Steelers for 18 seasons. And in early 2022, Roethlisberger announced his retirement from football.
Ben Roethlisberger saw consistent success throughout his career, especially when tasked with facing teams within his home state. But he also saw his fair share of scandals and losses throughout his 18 seasons within the NFL playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Since his 2004 rookie season, Roethlisberger was a big contributor to the success of the Steelers.