Speaking at the Ignite conference last Saturday at Liberty University, Ben Roethlisberger was asked a number of questions about his time with Steelers and his plans now that he is retired from the NFL.
One of the more lengthy responses from Roethlisberger came when he was asked to talk about his top moments in his NFL career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. While Roethlisberger could have glazed over a large number accomplishments from his time in Pittsburgh, he chose to specifically outline two plays which he declared as his most favorite moments on the field.
Rather than employ my own narrative of how Roethlisberger told the stories, I will simply leave you with each account in his own words.
“I was in my second year in the league. We’re getting ready to make a Super Bowl run and we had to win the last couple games to get into the playoffs. We found a way to sneak into the playoffs. We go to Cincinnati and win that game, which we weren’t supposed to win.
“Then we go to Indianapolis. I think everybody knows what I’m gonna talk about. You give the ball to Jerome Bettis on the goal line. And Jerome never fumbles. He never does anything, but be great. And I pulled the cardinal sin– for any football coaches out there– I didn’t carry out my fake. You hand the ball off and get yelled out for not carrying our your fake. I didn’t carry out my fake and it was a good thing, because I turned around to watch Jerome score, because I knew Jerome was going to score a touchdown. And it was slow motion.
“As I turned, the ball just popped out and it was just kind of like, ‘Oh, no. OH, NO!’ I thought, ‘Okay, I can get it.’ But it bounced perfectly to one of the defensive backs. And so, then I’m like, okay. I have no choice but to start running backwards because I have to start thinking. Soon after that I realized I was the fastest guy on the field on the Steelers, and that’s not good. We were in a jumbo package, so we have no receivers, Jerome– he’s not going, so it’s pretty much me.
“Luckily I was still young enough I could run a little bit. And then it just turned into, okay. He’s a better athlete. He’s faster. He’s going to make me look silly. So I just have to find a way to outsmart him… or try. So I kind of turn, I started running and I give him one of these and then I just realized he had the whole field. If he would have cut across the field, I had no chance, but I was able to kind of keep them close enough and then it’s like, ‘it’s now or never.’ It’s just go and so it’s just trying to slow him down and hope someone gets there and I was able to grab enough of the foot to get him on the ground.
“Usually quarterbacks, their most favorite plays aren’t tackles, because that usually means you threw an interception.
“In doing that, then that obviously got us to Detroit to win Jerome a Super Bowl, which is what we all want to do. Because Jerome was so special and in his hometown. So that play was pretty special, obviously.”
The Super Bowl Winner
“I know as a kid, I would be in the yard– I see my son doing the same thing now– I was in the yard, I was Joe Montana throwing to Jerry Rice, on the curb, falling into the grass, catching a touchdown– Super Bowl win!
“To be able to live that same thing I was doing as a kid in the streets of Ohio, to do the same thing, it is unbelievable. To win a Super Bowl, is what you go for. But to be able to throw a pass to win the Super Bowl and, in my opinion, make it one of the best passes.”
Ben Roethlisberger left Steelers fans with a lot of great moments over his 18-year career. While these two examples would probably land at the top of most fans list, hearing Roethlisberger describe the moments himself is something special.