Time remains an undefeated opponent. It catches up to us all at some point, and we are left with memories of what used to be. That is why it's important to live life to it's fullest and leave few regrets.
Ben Roethlisberger has had a remarkable Hall of Fame career. Everything from the long winning streak to start his Rookie of the Year season, to his two Super Bowl titles in the first five years of his career, seems to have been taken directly from a feel good Hollywood script.
Even after Ben fell victim to the perks of being an NFL superstar and displayed an entitled attitude and a concerning lack of character soon after his prestigious success, he has rebounded in typical Big Ben fashion. Ben is now a husband and father of a beautiful family, a man of faith, willing to accept the responsibility of being the recognized face of the franchise. Young Ben often struggled with the leadership role, but like his immaturity and character concerns, that lies somewhere buried in the past.
Ben is the greatest QB in Steelers history. His statistics are scattered throughout the NFL record books and his multitude of incredible performances and big games are the stuff of legends. He has reached a level obtained by only the greats, when everyone knows you by just a nickname. You mention Big Ben and even the casual football fan knows who you are referring to.
Legacy cemented, Ben Roethlisberger plays the game for a singular purpose, to win another Super Bowl. Ben came to training camp in the best shape, and lowest weight, we had seen him in years. He said it was mainly the result of an improved diet. That commitment displayed the resolve of a man focused on performing at the top of his abilities. Sure enough, his movement in the pocket and ability to run when necessary seem much improved this season.
He has retained his elite arm strength, even at this advanced age, which has been made evident by a series of tremendous throws in recent weeks that few of his peers throughout history could have made.
Ben's season now resides in a very precarious position. He has struggled this season with highly questionable decisions at inopportune moments. Turnovers happen, especially when you are constantly competing to keep the play alive. This playing style often results in incredible game winning plays that Ben has become famous for, but can also lead to forced fumbles and costly interceptions.
Ben knows these possibilities, but he also knows who he is. Ben's penchant for the extended the play, resulting in too many miraculous plays to mention, has made him unique amongst his peers. Ben is often compared to John Elway, and to a lesser degree Brett Favre, and I think he is fine with those comparisons. Hall of Fame QBs who also won Super Bowls.
This season thus far has seemed anything but settled for Ben. He has achieved excellence at moments, but has been unable to sustain it for extended periods. Some of this may have been caused by new faces in new places, as there is always an adjustment period from one season to the next, but as the Steelers enter the fourth quarter of the season these adjustments should have already been made.
While it is Mike Tomlin's responsibility to set the tone for the team from the sidelines, it is Ben's responsibility on the field. As the field general of the offense, the other offensive players look to him for leadership and count on him to make the correct decisions necessary to win the game. Ben has admitted that he hasn't done that consistently enough this season, and needs to improve. He is more than capable of doing just that.
With great abilities comes great expectations. We all knew this season wasn't going to be easy, and it has proven to be anything but. Incredibly tough schedule for a Steelers squad filled with more questions than answers.
Stranger things have happened, but it would almost take a miracle for the Steelers to win it all this season. Wouldn't surprise me if Ben turned out to be the perfect man for the job.
Ben's story is far from finished, and he is in the process of writing the final chapters. I sure hope it ends with a Happily Ever After.