I immediately rush to my computer to begin writing a post-game article at the conclusion of any Steelers game that kicks off at 1 p.m.
I already had an article fully formed in my mind (mostly) the second Pittsburgh finished off the Browns, 15-10, on Sunday afternoon at FirstEnergy Stadium, but I wish I hadn’t. Why? Right after quarterback Ben Roethlisberger ran out the final six seconds by rolling to his right and throwing the football out of the end zone, he hugged his teammates, pumped his fists and screamed in such a fashion as to suggest he wanted to stick the victory right up Cleveland’s you know what. You could tell it meant more to him than any win in recent memory.
I took note of this immediately, and even though I didn’t have a fully-formed article in my cranium at the moment, I ran to social media to Tweet about it:
“Ben Roethlisberger was super emotional at the very end. Good to see. Way better than the last time he was emotional at the end of a #Browns game.”
What I was taken by more than anything was the contrast in emotion on display by Roethlisberger on Sunday compared to the last time he faced the Browns; I’m talking about the 48-37 loss in a wildcard game at Heinz Field last January 10 and the tears that rolled down the big guy’s face as he watched the final seconds of that disappointing contest tick away.
An image of Roethlisberger crying on the bench at the end of that aforementioned playoff loss to Cleveland was captured and has been used to mock and ridicule No. 7 ever since, especially by Browns fans and other such Roethlisberger/Steelers’ critics.
Do you think anyone will capture an image of Roethlisberger screaming “Bleep, yeah!” or whatever he yelled at the end of Sunday’s game and create some sort of meme? Maybe. Maybe not.
I’ll never forget it, though, and how it differed from the sad one that was used for evil all throughout the offseason and up through Sunday by a bunch of people who never had a quarterback bring them the kind of memories Roethlisberger has helped to create for Steelers fans over the past 18 years.
If the image of Roethlisberger crying last January perhaps signified the end of his career as an NFL quarterback (spoiler alert, it didn’t), the vision of him wildly celebrating a victory over the Browns in Cleveland on Sunday clearly signifies that he’s not done yet, at least with the team that didn’t draft him back in 2004.
Ben Roethlisberger may not be the player he once was, but he still knows how to defeat the Browns.
Maybe that’s why Roethlisberger was crying back in January—he probably thought he would never get a chance to do it again.
Crying Ben might have been the image Browns fans found great joy in during the offseason. But Beat Browns Ben, well, that’s a vision they’ll likely be dealing with for the rest of their lives.