Big Ben at the Steelers, well where do I begin? 2 Superbowls, 3 Superbowl Appearances, and many 4th quarter comebacks. His last regular season game was just what Big Ben is all about, can be totally irrelevant all game but still be there to get the team over the line in the end. An unbelievable career for our Number 7.
We have doubted him, and some even doubted his leadership after the 2018 season when Antonio Brown sounded off, but Big Ben got his head down and carried on. When even the most hated rivals in the Baltimore Ravens respect you, you know that you’re a supreme talent.
Speaking of divisional opponents, Ben’s record against them is nothing short of ridiculous. He is 71-24-1 against divisional opponents, a win record of nearly 75%. Say what you like about Ben but he is truly the King of the AFC North, and although Joe Burrow will be eyeing that crown beyond Ben’s retirement, it’s huge shoes to fill. The most memorable of these clashes naturally come in the playoffs, from the drive down the field to win the Wildcard game in the 2015 season in Cincinnati to that crazy AFC Championship game against the Ravens. But I want to touch on my very favourite of the rivalry games. It happened Christmas Day in 2016, where whichever team won the game had the division all bar wrapped up. The Ravens came into Pittsburgh full of confidence and with less than a minute remaining they led. Down the field came the Steelers with that memorable immaculate extension play by Antonio Brown sealing the win, and the AFC North with just 9 seconds left.
There are so many examples of clutch Ben, just look at Superbowl 43 as a prime example, where he threw arguably the best pass in Superbowl history to Santonio Holmes to seal the Steelers 6th and Ben’s 2nd title. Unfortunately, no Superbowl glory has come since, but in an era where Tom Brady and Payton Manning has shared the division, 2 Superbowl titles and 3 Superbowl appearances isn’t too shabby. The best of Ben though was almost always in Primetime, where he was at his best. The Steelers haven’t lost a home MNF game in the Ben era, and his primetime record is one of the very best in history.
One thing that Ben brought the Steeler Nation as fans though is consistency, belief and over the years our fan base has become greedy. We moan about Ben and Tomlin, but ultimately this team has finished 8-8 or better ever since Ben was drafted in 2004, and since 2010 the lowest placed finish in the AFC is 7th. Consistently being a top half team in the NFL, and yet we still moan!! Even down late in games, we believed Ben could galvanise the team and bring us back into it and ultimately win them. And more often than not he did!!
Thank you, Ben, here’s to a healthy retirement.