"Unique" is a word often thrown around, but it appropriately describes Benjamin Todd Roethlisberger Sr., a generational quarterback specimen that the Pittsburgh Steelers had never seen before, and may never see the likes of again.
Prior to his arrival in the NFL in 2004, there were very few MAC Conference players who made an impact in the NFL; Roethlisberger was one of the few and, over time, became arguably the most accomplished player from that conference.
Roethlisberger was not perfect by any means. In the first few years of his career, he was often reckless off the field, which resulted in many unfortunate mishaps, one of which we know could have cost him his freedom. Yet, Roethlisberger did what any human being should do after committing these types of transgressions: he evolved, and eventually, with time, he would mold himself into a better human being. At the end of the day, that is what matters more than anything else.
Truth be told, Roethlisberger was not a natural-born leader. What made him special, however, was his willingness to learn and grow into one. With time, he became the leader his team needed. He always took the initiative to reach out to everyone, no matter their status on the team, and encourage them when needed. When wide receivers coach Darryl Drake died unexpectedly during the preseason in 2019, Roethlisberger consoled receiver Juju Smith-Schuster by embracing him. It was one of Roethlisberger's best moments not just as player, but as a person.
No matter what the masses think, Roethlisberger will go down as one of the most important players to ever wear a Steelers uniform. As fans, we saw the great moments he created and the ones that made us cringe. At the end of it all, he was our quarterback, and we loved every aspect of him. Finding a quarterback that will take his place will undoubtedly be a difficult task. One can only wish that whoever comes next could accomplish at least half of what Roethlisberger achieved in his 18 seasons. Until that happens, the man known as "Big Ben" should take his rightful place in Steelers lore.
All there is left to say is thank you, Ben!