Last season was a strange one in many ways, with a lot of big name- QB’s going down with injury for portions of the season. While most were able to return, Ben Roethlisberger was not. He was taken out of the game at half-time in Week 2 and did not return for the rest of the season. Big Ben needed to undergo elbow surgery, from which he is now fully recovered. It became very evident very quickly that the Steelers do not have an adequate back-up ready to take over, so there is sure to be real relief that he will be back this season. The question is, how much does he have left in the tank? Let’s find out so you can plan ahead your bets against their NFL odds.
The Return of Big Ben and the Steelers | NFL Analysis
A Brief History of Roethlisberger’s Career
When Roethlisberger was drafted by the Steelers, Tommy Maddox was still the man under center, but that all changed rather quickly. In 2004, Maddox went down in Week 3 and was replaced by Roethlisberger, who went on to win 13 straight games in the regular season. it was a fairytale start to his career, but one that came to an end in the playoffs with a loss to the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.
2005 proved to be better yet, with Roethlisberger leading the Steelers to an 11-5 regular season record before winning the Super Bowl as the #6 seed in the AFC. After a couple of down seasons for the Steelers, they were back in the Super Bowl in 2008, which they won against the Arizona Cardinals on a brilliant late drive that ended in a Santonio Holmes TD catch.
They were in the Super Bowl again in 2010, but they lost that one to the Green Bay Packers. Since then, Roethlisberger has continued to put up great numbers, but other than a couple of AFC Championship Game appearances, the Super Bowl has eluded him.
Through his career, Big Ben has over 56,000 passing yards and 363 TD versus 191 INT. Those are stats that will see him land in the Hall of Fame.
What Might This Season Bring?
When you have a 38-year old QB coming of a major surgery to his throwing arm, there are some legitimates causes for concern. Reports suggest that Big Ben looks as strong as ever, but training camp is a whole lot different than the real thing. Suggestions that he might be done need to be tempered a little, as he had a great season in 2018, throwing 34 TD passes, which was a career best. He definitely had a better receiving corps back then, but there are a lot of good young WRs on this team, plus he has one of the best O-Lines in the business protecting him.
The other good news is that the Steelers have what looks to be a high caliber defense. That was one of the reasons they were able to go 8-8 last season despite almost all of their offensive weapons out through injury at one time or another.
If Roethlisberger’s arm can hold up, the Pittsburgh Steelers have the potential to be a dark horse in the AFC. I would certainly not be ruling them out just yet.