We all know 2019 was a rough year for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Emotionally, physically, the entire years’ worth of events took a huge toll. One of the biggest pains was losing their quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, not only because of his skill at his position. He is a battle-tested leader who can bring a team together to focus on a bigger goal. Let’s take a look at how a healthy Roethlisberger may shape 2020 into a much different year than before.
Anyone who watches or knows Ben Roethlisberger knows that he is the prime example of tough as steel. Making him a perfect fit for the Pittsburgh Steelers and their dominating style of play. Of course, this kind of toughness comes with downsides as well. Roethlisberger is well known to stay in the pocket for a long time, taking a hit to keep a play going. Also when he takes a hit, he is quick to get back in the game. He isn’t one to let soreness stop him from playing. So last year when he was in visible pain in the second game of the season and couldn’t continue, everyone knew something major happened. This is the man who plays through everything.
That of course could have been his downfall had he not gotten the surgery when he did. As he said in interviews since his return and training camp opening, he had not one, not two, but three torn tendons in his throwing elbow. This is an injury that would have ended many careers. However once he was cleared to start throwing lightly again. Roethlisberger not only showed he was in no pain, but acted like he was years younger.
Players Rallying Around Their General
Ben Roethlisberger has a way of bringing extra fire to a team, whether it is a game or only practice. There is that special kind of fire going around training camp this year. In many interviews, players young and old, past and present are pointing towards Roethlisberger and being ready for this season. Third-year running back James Conner was quoted, “He’s confident. He worked so hard to get back to where he was playing confident. We’re excited for him. That’s our leader, that’s our guy. Just so thankful that we got our quarterback back.”
Eric Ebron, new to the Steelers after spending his last two seasons with the Indianapolis Colts tweeted this after the first week of training camp.
This shows how even people new to the team can feel the excitement and the drive the team has. In spite of all the restrictions, the threat from COVID-19, and the shaky season last year, this team wants to play and win.
Past Players Give Roethlisberger Praise
In other interviews, former Steelers’ players are still touting how good of a leader Roethlisberger is and their confidence in what he can do. Former cornerback Ike Taylor is one such guy who calls Roethlisberger “highly underrated”. He also goes on to say what a good fit Roethlisberger is the city and team of Pittsburgh, including having a toughness that other quarterbacks simply don’t have. “Big Ben is what Pittsburgh needs at quarterback. He’s hard-nosed. He’s blue-collar. I couldn’t ask Aaron Rodgers to play over there. I couldn’t ask Drew Brees to play over there. That’s not the mystique of the city. The city is blue-collar people.”
Former Steeler and current ESPN analyst Ryan Clark was also quick to defend his team and quarterback. Especially in light of co-host Mike Tannenbaum stating that Roethlisberger may be the third best quarterback in their league. After a defense of the team’s possibilities under a healthy Big Ben could be, he finished up by saying. “I think Ben plays great this year, has a chance to do some wonderful things, and they can win it all if things fall right.”
Whether you are a Steelers fan or not, you cannot miss the fact that there is a special feeling around the team this year. Everyone likes a good comeback story and this year poses to be a great one for the leader of the Steelers. Roethlisberger himself says that he wants to get more Lombardi trophies. He was also clear to specify he meant more than one. Now with an arm that more than likely feels better than it has in years. Combined with a talented arsenal of offensive weapons and an elite defense looking like days of old, hoisting another trophy in February doesn’t seem out of the question at all.
Follow me on Twitter @JanetCesanek
Follow Overtime Heroics Twitter page @OT_Heroics
Discuss this and much more on the Overtime Heroics forums!