When describing Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the word “pretty” rarely comes to mind.
For example, there’s Roethlisberger’s running style, one that I summed up recently as “athletic” but also with a lot of “lumber” to it.
Roethlisberger has often said he could care less about personal statistics or style-points. Winning is the only thing that’s important to him, which is a good thing, since his career record as a starter is 138-65.
Roethlisberger has won football games in the snow, the rain and the mud. He was the winning quarterback of Super Bowl XL, despite having a 22.6 passer rating. He defeated the Dolphins in 2007 by leading the offense on one field goal drive...the entire game. He quarterbacked Pittsburgh to a Super Bowl championship in 2008, despite being sacked 46 times and throwing just 17 touchdowns to go along with 15 interceptions. He won a very important AFC North game against the Ravens in 2010 despite suffering a broken nose earlier in the evening.
Roethlisberger has suffered many injuries throughout his career. He almost died in a motorcycle accident. He had to have his appendix removed not long after that.
He’s feuded with offensive coordinators and receivers. He’s been suspended.
There’s sometimes something a little off or misleading about the interviews he grants reporters.
No, Ben Roethlisberger isn’t pretty, but he sure knows how to get the job done.
And “pretty” certainly wouldn’t describe his winning touchdown dive against the Jaguars in the game’s final seconds on Sunday.
On an option play in-which he said he was the final option, he rolled to his right hoping tight end Vance McDonald, his first option, was open for a shovel pass. But he wasn’t, as defensive end Yannick Ngakoue quickly diagnosed it. Neither running back James Conner or receiver Antonio Brown were open over on the right side, and he clearly didn’t have enough time to wait for rookie receiver James Washington to race across the back of the end zone after starting the play on the left side.
Roethlisberger had to go with his final option—himself—and run it into the end zone. Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack, who eluded the block of right tackle Matt Feiler, was the only person standing between Roethlisberger and the end zone.
Roethlisberger did manage to get by Jack as he dived for the goal line and really should have crossed the plane easily. But in typical Big Ben fashion, he took a Feiler elbow to the facemask before falling just over the goal line. Also, in typical Big Ben fashion, the very tip of the football just barely broke the plane before his knee hit the ground.
Oh, and let’s not forget the momentary loss of possession of the football as he landed in the end zone, giving me flashbacks of that game against the Dolphins in Miami in 2010, when Roethlisberger fumbled the football right as he was about to score a touchdown. Even though he fumbled and it appeared that Miami had recovered the ball, the referee determined that there was no clear evidence of which team recovered it, a conclusion that led to a game-winning field goal for Pittsburgh and then someone taking to YouTube months later and not only calling the ruling the FumbleRefsky (pretty funny) but the worst call in South Florida sports history (seemed like an overreaction to a call that went against a team that finished 7-9).
Anyway, Roethlisberger’s game-winner against the Jaguars was far from pretty, but it certainly captured the essence of “Big Ben.”