When it comes to the human body, and the way it looks, I tend to look at things through a different lens than most. As a certified personal trainer for the past decade, plus some, I have learned that when it comes to athletes, performance matters...not looks.
I bring this up because Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been absolutely ripped to shreds by the black-and-gold fan base, and the national media, when it comes to his weight.
But let’s not pretend this is something new.
The only thing new about the latest body weight allegations is the beard Roethlisberger has been sporting since his season ended in Week 2 of the 2019 regular season.
Roethlisberger has always been a large human being, hence the nickname “Big Ben”. His 6’4” frame holds 240 pounds, and while he didn’t always weight 240, he has never been a quarterback people labeled as trim, ripped or even well-conditioned.
However, before going any further, let’s not fool ourselves into thinking every quarterback who laces up the cleats on Sundays is the picture of perfect conditioning. Did we forget about Tom Brady’s NFL Draft photo coming out of Michigan?
I have the body of draft day @TomBrady and I dont know how to feel about that pic.twitter.com/qzYO04DI6r— Doughboy (@MillsAuston) May 12, 2020
Or how about this gem of a photo of Peyton Manning after he was accused of using Performance Enhancing Drugs.
I'm as shocked about this PED allegation as you are, but I think we can all admit Peyton Manning has the body for it pic.twitter.com/I4awiXbmQa— Tyler Stafford (@tylercstafford) December 27, 2015
Every sport has their position specific players. Think of pitchers in baseball. CC Sabathia and Bartolo Colon looked more like bar flies than world class pitchers, yet they were able to get the job done for a very long time.
Now back to the crux of this conversation.
Roethlisberger has never been the Brady Quinn type quarterback with six pack abs and ripped arms, but you know what he does have? Success. He always has had success, yet fans, and media, continue to bash him for his physique.
I am not going to lie, I have poked fun at Roethlisberger worrying more about golf in the offseason than getting his body prepared for the upcoming regular season, but the one thing I never could knock Roethlisberger on was him winning. And this is confusing with the narrative surrounding him entering the 2020 season.
The talk should be about his elbow, being able to make all the throws, and ultimately being able to lead the Steelers to victory on a weekly basis. History has shown us he can do this at 240 pounds, regardless of the optics.
So, with that said, I tend to focus more on Roethlisberger as a winner, and less about him as a cover model for Men’s Health magazine. Which by the way...he has already done that in 2006:
After all, him winnning games is all that matters. Even if he keeps the beard and the extra layer around his midsection.
Just win baby!