Thursday was a day most fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers saw as just another day. They woke up and went about their days, not knowing there would be something significant happening with their favorite football team around mid-morning.
At 10:01am ET on Twitter a video came through via Ben Roethlisberger’s verified Twitter account. The video was a message from Roethlisberger, and it was his official retirement announcement.
In case you haven’t seen it, check it out:
A message from Ben:@steelers #NFL #SteelersNation #ThankYou#HereWeGo #LoveAndHonor pic.twitter.com/pUbKGO1nUs— BigBen7.com (@_BigBen7) January 27, 2022
I can’t speak for anyone reading this, but let’s just say I didn’t wake up thinking about getting emotional before I even ate lunch. Yet here we are. Nonetheless, the message from Roethlisberger was both well done, and well timed.
I was happy Roethlisberger didn’t hold a press conference to make his announcement. The way his season ended, from the Monday night win vs. the Cleveland Browns, to the road win over the Baltimore Ravens and a surprise playoff appearance, Roethlisberger was able to leave on his own terms.
He had answered all the questions. There was nothing left to give. We weren’t owed anything from him. His message was sincere, pure and heart felt. It was the right way to end such a legendary career.
On top of Roethlisberger’s message was it’s overall timing. No, not the fact it was released mid-morning, but the fact it came on January 27th. While almost everyone was moving into the offseason with the assumption of Roethlisberger’s retirement, he had never officially said he was done. He never said, “I’m done after this season/game” and this resulted in speculation Roethlisberger might be done with the Steelers, but not football.
In his season ending press conference, Mike Tomlin acknowledged the team was moving forward with the assumption Roethlisberger would not be back in 2022, but that too didn’t answer the question many fans had remaining in the back of their minds. While the team was moving forward knowing they’d need a quarterback, the last thing any fan wanted was a Brett Favre type situation where every passing day was a “will he, or won’t he” in regards to his future. No one wanted to see/hear the talking heads on ESPN’s many shows speculating Roethlisberger’s return to the game of football.
Roethlisberger calling it a career puts a bow on a fantastic 18-year career which saw him capture two Super Bowl titles and provides a clean break between the quarterback and the game of football. Roethlisberger moves on with his life, while the Steelers forge ahead in search of their next quarterback.
It is likely neither will be easy, at least early on, for both sides, but it was good to see the announcement be made, and in the fashion with which it was delivered. It is at this point where Steelers fans can look back on everything Roethlisberger has provided to the fan base in his time with the Steelers. The message, and the delivery, was on point, and I, for one, am thankful for that. I wish Roethlisberger nothing but the best in “his life’s work” and hope he remains a part of the organization and a visible part of the Steelers culture.
Other than that, the team now moves onto their next chapter. Who will write that has yet to be determined, but that’s half the fun of the journey. Buckle up, it could be a bumpy ride.