Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger turned 31 years old Saturday, making any 30s-something Steelers fan pick up strains of their first "I remember when" recollections.
I Remember When Roethlisberger came off the bench against Baltimore in Week 2 of the 2004 season. Tommy Maddox went down with what looked like a fairly gruesome elbow injury. The game was out of hand anyway, but seeing the rookie out there felt more like a stop-gap until Maddox would return. The Steelers wouldn't lose another game until the AFC Championship game, a feat unlikey to be equaled by any Steelers team any time soon.
I Remember When Roethlisberger came out hotter than the blazes of hell in an AFC Divisional Playoff game at the highly talented Indianapolis Colts. In what could have been the best overall Colts team in a long line of outstanding teams, Roethlisberger did absolutely everything he could in those 2005 playoffs to ram the notion of it being a run-dominated team down the throats of those who insisted it was. Roethlisberger ascended to his throne in that game as well as the AFC Championship game a week later - even if he did arguably cement his legacy as being the only multiple Super Bowl champion quarterback whose biggest play was a tackle.
I Remember When Roethlisberger had a pretty poor first half against the Jacksonville Jaguars in a 2007 playoff game. In response to that, he led the Steelers to 24 points on four consecutive drives in the second half, nearly bringing the Steelers all the way back from an 18-point deficit. Roethlisberger's best statistical season was 2007, and perhaps he didn't play his best through four quarters in that postseason, but it would become the point where Roethlisberger put into place his ability to win or lose games on his own.
I Remember When Roethlisberger somehow threaded a needle with a back corner throw to Santonio Holmes in Super Bowl XLIII. An impossible angle. Some might even argue, if they had never seen Roethlisberger play before, he wasn't even trying to make a play; he was just putting the ball away from the defender on an otherwise well-defensed play. Those who had seen him play, however, know he had supreme confidence in that throw. And it was a beauty. Best throw of his career at the best possible time.
He starts his ninth season as the quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2013. Here's to many more positive memories from the man we call Big Ben.