“If you’re gonna tell me that Ben Roethlisberger is not an elite quarterback then you don’t know what you’re talking about!” – HOF player, former NFL head coach and current football analyst Mike Ditka on ESPN’s Mike & Mike Show, February 2009.
Ben was born on March 2, 1982 in Lima, Ohio and grew up just outside of Findlay, Ohio in an area called Cory-Rawson. Surrounded by the love and support of his family, Ben became very active in sports at a young age, focusing primarily on basketball and football.
“My favorite thing (as a kid) was playing backyard football. I’ve always loved that. I guess that’s what I’m doing, just out there playing ball. I try to play the game with a lot of heart and passion. I hope it shows.”I absolutely hate to lose in anything. Hate it. It burns me, drives me crazy.” – Ben, from an interview/article in the November 25, 2009 issue of USA TODAY Sports Weekly.
High school –
Before becoming a nationally known phenomenon, Ben was a thin, lanky wideout at Findlay High School. It wasn’t until the fall of 1999, his final high school season, that Ben earned a chance to be the No. 1 quarterback after the graduation of the starting QB one grade ahead of him.
Ohio’s Division I Offensive Player of the Year and runner-up for Mr. Football honors in Ohio in 1999.Ben set state records by throwing for 4,041 yards and 54 touchdowns during his senior season. He also scored seven touchdowns. He was named league, district and Toledo Blade Player of the Year.
Findlay went 10-2 during 1999, advancing to second round of state playoffs before losing to Grove City. Ben played in both Ohio North-South and Ohio-Pennsylvania Big 33 All-Star games. He threw two touchdown passes, including the game-winner, in the North-South game. He was coached by Cliff Hite.
As for basketball, Ben averaged 26.5 points, nine rebounds and five assists per game as a senior point guard. He was a .300 hitter as a shortstop for Findlay’s baseball team.
Ben was named all-league and all-district performer in both basketball and baseball. He was the team captain in all three sports.
College Career -
Ben’s talents weren’t a secret to the Miami (Ohio) University staff, which invited him to its summer camp before his senior season. Ben performed well but left with no scholarship offer.
“We waited until he played a game,” Miami head coach Terry Hoeppner said. “I didn’t want to be the genius to offer this guy who never played quarterback a scholarship.”
In that first game, Ben threw six touchdowns. “I said, ‘That’s good enough for me,’” Hoeppner said.
Ohio State University also went after Ben, who set state high school records for yards (4,041) and touchdowns (54) playing in a high-powered offense similar to Miami’s.
In the end, Miami won. Ben saw a shot at being a four-year starter after then-No. 1 QB Mike Bath’s eligibility expired. “It came down to what would be comfortable for me and what felt right,” Ben said. “I prayed a lot about it, talked to my family about it, and it seemed like the right fit.”
Ben took a redshirt season in 2000, but won the starting job in 2001. After struggling in his first two games – trips to Michigan and Iowa – he fared better in his first home game, completing 20-of-25 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns as the RedHawks beat rival Cincinnati.
“It might have helped to be thrown into the fire that early vs. Michigan and Iowa,” Miami offensive coordinator and QB coach Shane Montgomery said, “because really, the light turned on.”
Ben threw for 3,105 yards with 25 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He followed that with a solid second season as a starter in ’02, throwing for 3,238 yards and 22 TD’s. It was as a redshirt sophomore that he said he “started to feel comfortable with the way things were going in the offensive system and everything that was unfolding at Miami.”
Ben’s junior season represented a “quantum leap forward” with regard to his comfort and command of the offense, according to Hoeppner.
After a season-opening loss at Iowa, Ben was dominant. He completed nearly 70 percent of his passes and set just about every Miami passing record, some of which he had broken before. The RedHawks rolled to the Mid-American Conference Championship with a victory over the Bowling Green State Falcons 49 – 27 on December 4, 2003. Ben set a title-game record with 440 passing yards.
Ben returned to Oxford in October of 2007 for the honor of seeing his college jersey retired (above). It was the first time in 34 years Miami has retired a football jersey number. Ben became only the third athlete in Miami football history to have his jersey number retired, joining John Pont and Bob Hitchens. The RedHawks also honored their former coach Terry Hoeppner with a plaque to hang in the Cradle of Coaches Plaza. Ben’s beloved coach had passed away that June after losing his battle with brain cancer.It was fitting that Ben and Coach Hoeppner shared the focus. The two are forever linked through both the success they produced at Miami and the close relationship they forged.
“He was a father. He was a role model. He was a leader. He brought out the best in me every week.” – Ben on the day of his jersey retirement ceremony, talking about his beloved college coach, Terry Hoeppner.
The Pro-Day Workout of former RedHawks quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was the main attraction on March 25th, 2004.
Scouts or assistant coaches from nearly all 32 NFL teams made their way to Oxford. Two head coaches, Green Bay’s Mike Sherman and the Giants’ Tom Coughlin – along with Giants’ general manager Ernie Accorsi and three of the club’s scouts – were there, too.
Charting each of the players’ moves with stopwatches and clipboards, scouts watched them lift weights, jump, sprint and run agility drills before congregating in Yager Stadium for the main event: Ben throws.
He threw long and short, soft and hard, down the middle and toward the sideline – showing off his impressive arm and timing on the deep out pattern.
“It’s a dream come true,” Ben said of the day. “I’ve always wanted to play in the NFL. Everything I get to do, meet all these coaches…it’s a dream coming true. It’s hard to believe. I have to pinch myself and make sure it’s true.”
Ben ran 4.76 seconds in the 40-yard dash. And he clocked an 11.8 – considered fast for a quarterback – on a three-cone agility drill.
“He’s probably going to be gone before we pick, but I always want to cover our bases in case something happens – he falls or we move up. I thought he had an excellent workout. He did everything here he does on tape. You have to watch the game tape to really appreciate what kind of quarterback he is and what kind of leadership skills he has.” – Mike Sherman, former coach of the Green Bay Packers, to the Cincinnati Enquirer after attending Ben’s pro-workout, March 25, 2004.
Miami of Ohio 2001-2003
Record as Miami Redhawks starting quarterback: 27-11
Ben holds 21 different school records at Miami (OH) including completions (854), passing yards (10,829), touchdown passes (84), and 300 yard games (14).
Three time team MVP (2001-03).2003 MVP GMAC Bowl.2003 Vern Smith Award.2003 MAC Offensive Player of the Year.2003 MAC All Conference (1st team).2002 MAC All Conference (2nd team).2001 MAC All Conference (2nd team).2001 MAC Freshman of the Year.2001 Sporting News All Freshmen Team.
The NFL -
Ben announced he would file for the draft after the RedHawks dispatched Louisville in the GMAC Bowl on Dec. 18th.
The now 6-foot-5, 240-pound QB is blessed with a strong arm and athleticism that is rare for his size. Seeing such a prize, the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Ben in the first round of the 2004 NFL draft with the 11th pick.
On drafting Ben, Steelers Coach Bill Cowher said, “If you have an opportunity to get a good, young quarterback who has a tremendous upside, it’s too golden of an opportunity to pass.”Ben’s fans couldn’t agree more.
On August 4, 2004 Ben signed his first contract with the Steelers, a 6-year, $40 million contract, and was touted by Steelers coach Bill Cowher in a press conference as a franchise quarterback.
“I’m not Tommy Maddox; can’t be Tommy Maddox. I’m just going to do the best I can.” – Ben, to reporters after his first NFL game against the Baltimore Ravens, September 19, 2004.
Ben stepped into the starting role after an injury to quarterback Tommy Maddox in the second game of the season and became unquestionably the best rookie quarterback to ever play the game. He led the Steelers to a 15-1 record as a starter, losing only in the AFC Championship game, and set many rookie passing records, including best passer rating (98.1), and highest completion percentage (66.4%). Ben received much praise from coaches in the NFL, including Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells, who compared him to legendary QB Dan Marino. On January 5, 2005 Roethlisberger was unanimously selected as The NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press (AP), the second quarterback to achieve the honor.
The “Trip” to the Super Bowl – Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Seattle Seahawks…
Following his rookie season, Ben convinced running back Jerome Bettis to return for one final season. Ben’s promise: Give me one more season and I guarantee you a Super Bowl ring. Despite injuries to his knee and thumb, almost ending Ben’s season, he was able to rally the team to four straight wins to finish the season and earn a wildcard birth in the playoffs. Ben and the Steelers continued their run in the playoffs, defeating Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Denver all on the road. Ben elevated his game during this run, even making a game-saving tackle of the Colts’ Nick Harper in Indianapolis to keep Jerome’s hope alive for a championship.
On February 5, 2006 in Detroit’s Ford Field (Jerome’s hometown, and coincidentally, where Ben played his first pre-season NFL game in 2004), the Pittsburgh Steelers earned the elusive “One for the Thumb!” They defeated the Seattle Seahawks 21-10, allowing Ben to deliver on his promise to Jerome, and making Ben Roethlisberger the youngest quarterback to ever win the Super Bowl!
“The 2004 draft brought Roethlisberger, but the veteran coach wanted to stick with a veteran passer. It took both Maddox and Charlie Batch getting hurt to get Roethlisberger on the field, but once he got there, the Steelers took off. They won every game he started in the regular season. The next year, they won the Super Bowl. Three years later, another one.” – Darin Gantt, from his editorial in the Charlotte Observer, December 23, 2010.
The start of the 2006 season was a tough one for Ben. After recovering from an off-season motorcycle accident in which he was seriously injured, he attended training camp but was sidelined for the first game of the season after an emergency appendectomy on September 3, 2006.Ben had his first “big” game of the season in Week 6 against the Kansas City Chiefs. He completed 16 of 19 passes for 238 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions during a 45-7 rout of the Chiefs. He continued his success in Week 7 going 16 of 22 for 237 yards and three touchdowns. However, during the third quarter, Ben suffered a concussion following a hit by Falcons defensive end Patrick Kerney.
Although Ben bounced back from the concussion to play out the rest of the season, another playoff run was not in the cards for the Steelers.
“He ain’t no drama queen! I love everything about him. I mean he could have played in the ’20′s, the ’30′s, ’50′s, 80′s…you know, he’s one of those guys that hangs in there.” – HOF player, former NFL head coach and current football analyst Mike Ditka on Ben, during ESPN’s Monday Night Football Countdown.
In the first game of 2007 season, Ben reached a personal milestone: his first career four-touchdown game after the Steelers defeated the Cleveland Browns 34-7. He followed that up with solid performances against both the Buffalo Bills and the San Francisco 49ers. In Week 9, Ben threw for a career-high five touchdowns against the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football. He tied a team record held by Terry Bradshaw and Mark Malone in the 38-7 victory. All five touchdowns were thrown in the first half, making Ben one of only two quarterbacks in the 2007 season to accomplish such a feat, and only the fifth quarterback since the 1970 merger, to do so. He also posted a perfect 158.3 passer rating in that game.In Week 12 against the Miami Dolphins, Ben completed 85.7% of his passes (18-21) setting a new Steelers record. In week fifteen against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Ben broke the team single-season touchdown pass record when he threw his 29th touchdown pass, to Nate Washington. The record was previously held by Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw.
2007- 08 also saw Ben make his first trip to the Pro Bowl, joining five other Steelers teammates on the AFC squad. He was 5 for 9 for 42 yards and a one-yard touchdown toss, while playing in the second quarter of the game, which the NFC won 42-30. He also led the AFC in rushing with one carry for 18 yards. As for the overall season, Ben’s 32 touchdown passes ranked third in the NFL, behind Tony Romo and Tom Brady, while his 104.1 passer rating was second only to Brady. On five different occasions during the season, Ben led his team back from a double-digit deficit to a lead or tie in the fourth quarter. However, the Steelers would lose four of those five games as the defense in the end could not hold off Denver, New York and Jacksonville (twice), respectively. Ben also set a new Steelers single-season record with 32 touchdown passes in the 2007 season.
“I make the argument that Ben Roethlisberger is the Most Valuable Player at this juncture in the NFL. To me, when you say MVP, there is the word ‘valuable’ in there. He has been that for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He has had some wonderful stat years and won a Super Bowl. But the way things have transpired this year has to be one of the most rewarding stretches of football he has ever had. He has had back-to-back-to-back incredible fourth quarter rallies. To play as well as he has played late in fourth quarters – as an NFL quarterback you hope to have one-or-two games like that a year. He is at a stage now when you say he has absolutely matured. He understands everything about their team. He understands his role and he carries it out perfectly. It is a great honor to him that he is getting it done mentally and is also good enough to get it done physically.” – Phil Simms, NFL analyst and CBS sportscaster.
Analysts called it the toughest schedule of the 2008 season. Ben and the Steelers weren’t listening!
Despite playing most of the season with an injured right shoulder suffered in Week one, Ben started all 16 regular season games for the first time in his career. He solidified his reputation as one of the NFL’s most clutch quarterbacks with 4th quarter comeback victories at Jacksonville, vs. San Diego, and at Baltimore, capping off a 12 play 92 yard drive with a 4 yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes to clinch the AFC North Division title for the third time in his five NFL seasons as the Steelers finished the 2008 regular season with a 12-4 record.
AFC Divisional Playoffs:
In the first head to head playoff matchup of two quarterbacks from the heralded 2004 draft class, Ben completed 17 of 26 passes for 181 yards and a touchdown as the Steelers defeated Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers 35-24 to advance to the AFC Championship game for the third time in Ben’s career.
Ben became the second Steelers quarterback (O’Donnell, 1994) to defeat the same team three times in one season as the Steelers defeated the Baltimore Ravens 23-14 to advance to Super Bowl XLIII.
“I have no intention of trying to extend a play; it just happens that way. It comes from not ever wanting to quit. I hate to quit on a play or on my team. I don’t want to give up a sack and I’m always going to fight for extra yards. Sometimes it can demoralize a defense when you fight through a sack or you extend a play and pick up a first down. That’s tough on a defense. But it’s just never wanting to quit.” – Ben, during a phone interview with the Philadelphia press, October 6, 2012.
Super Bowl XLIII – Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Arizona Cardinals…
Ben led the Steelers to one of the more dramatic victories in Super Bowl history. On the first two offensive drives, he passed for 122 yards on seven of eight passing attempts. The Steelers led 10-0 and went into halftime up 17-7. The lead grew to 20-7 before Arizona mounted a comeback. Trailing for the first time in the game, 23-20, with 2:30 remaining in the game, Ben took the field to start the winning drive. After a holding penalty on the first play, Ben marched the Steelers 88 yards in eight plays, hooking up with game MVP Santonio Holmes four times for 73 yards on the drive, including the six-yard TD pass that put the Steelers ahead with 0:35 remaining. That clutch throw to Holmes in the corner of the end zone is a classic, and will be seen on replays for years to come. Overall, Ben finished 21 of 30 for 256 yards, one TD, and one INT. He had a passer rating of 93.2
The win gave the Steelers an unprecedented sixth Lombardi Trophy.
As sports journalist Mike Bires said, “every time he steps on a field in his game-day uniform, it seems Ben Roethlisberger achieves another milestone.”Ben is one of only two active NFL quarterbacks to win multiple Super Bowl titles (Tom Brady is the other).
Ben joined Roger Staubach, Bernie Kosar, Tom Brady and Donovan McNabb as the only quarterbacks to lead their teams to the conference title game at least three times in their first five seasons as the starting quarterback.
“If you chase him, he just gets to play sandlot football. That’s what he likes. He wants you to rush him so he can run around and make plays…Just back off and keep him in the pocket and make him play regular football. Not recess. You’ll have a better chance.” – Baltimore Ravens’ Trevor Pryce advice to the Cardinals defense prior to Super Bowl XLIII.
Although there was no return to the playoffs in 2009, Ben set career highs in passing attempts, completions, completion percentage, and passing yards as the Steelers went 9-6 with him as their starting quarterback. His 337 completions, 4328 yards, and 66% completion percentage are all Steelers single season team records. He also set a new Steelers single game record with 503 yards against the Green Bay Packers.
“He’s just, in my opinion, one of the best in the league. He’s the real reason why we’re in this position. He’s one of the greats, and I’m glad he’s in here with us.” – Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel, on Ben’s performance in the clutch, December 23, 2009.
On December 31, 2009, Ben was chosen as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Most Valuable Player by his teammates for the first time in his six-season career.
“This means more to me than any other award. It tops them all,” Ben said during his short press conference after the award was announced. “It was touching. I had to hold back some emotions when coach said it.”
At the time of the honor, the Steelers had a game remaining (at Miami) but Ben had already thrown for a team-record 4,108 yards, had 23 touchdown passes, and a 98.9 passer rating for the season!
Ben was selected as the 1st alternate for the AFC Pro Bowl team but did not participate due to nagging injuries from a long regular season.
“I’m never going to be satisfied with where I’m at. I’m always going to try and get better, whether it’s reading defenses better, knowing what’s going on, on offense. There’s a lot of little things I’d like to do to get better.” – Ben.
Ben made his 2010 regular season debut on October 17th against the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field. After an early interception on his first series, Ben threw three touchdown passes in the 28-10 win.
December 5th at Baltimore: Despite playing on a fractured right foot that was injured the week before in Buffalo, and then breaking his nose on a hit by the Ravens’ Haloti Ngata in the first quarter, Ben’s nine-yard touchdown pass to Isaac Redman following a sack and forced fumble by Troy Polamalu spearheaded the Steelers 13-10 win to give them control of the AFC North Division.
January 2nd, 2011 at Cleveland: The Steelers clinched their third division title in four years with a convincing 41-9 win over the Cleveland Browns. Ben completing his first pass of the day for a 56-yard touchdown to Mike Wallace as the Steelers offense scored 31 first half points. Ben completed 15 of 22 passes for 280 yards and two touchdowns in the game. He was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week.
“Considering everything that transpired, Ben Roethlisberger’s on-field performance might have been the best of his career. His command of the offense and understanding of opposing defenses is one of the reasons he threw a career-low five INTs. His comeback victories vs. the Ravens, especially in the playoffs, were the pivotal points of the season.” – Gerry Dulac, from his Steelers Report Card in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 13, 2011.
On December 31, 2010, Ben was unanimously selected as the “Chief Award” winner – an honor that is given annually to the Steelers player that is most helpful and cooperative with the media.
“I said I need to be more cooperative with people, be a better person,” said Ben. “It’s just a change I wanted to make in my life…anything named after ‘The Chief’ or the Rooney family is an honor.”
The award is voted on annually by the Pittsburgh chapter of the Pro Football Writers Association. The award is named after Steelers founder, Art Rooney. It was the first time in 23 years that a quarterback has won the award.
“I have learned a lot over the past several months about myself as a person. I am committed to continuing on this path of being the type of person my family raised me to be, and exceeding what is expected of me as the quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers.” – Ben, on heading into the 2010 season and beyond.
AFC Divisional Playoffs: For the second time in three seasons the Steelers hosted the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Playoffs. After two Steelers turnovers put the Steelers down 21-7 Ben threw touchdown passes to Heath Miller and Hines Ward, his 58 yard bomb to rookie Antonio Brown on 3rd and 19 set up Rashard Mendenhall’s game winning 2 yard touchdown.
AFC Championship game: The Steelers avenged an earlier home loss to the New York Jets by racing out to a 24-3 halftime lead before holding on for a 24-19 win to advance to Super Bowl XLV. Ben scored his third career post season touchdown with a two yard run near the end of the first half. With the victory Ben became the 10th quarterback to win three at least conference title games.
Super Bowl XLV: The Steelers dream of a 7th Super Bowl Championship fell short as the Green Bay Packers defeated the Steelers 31-25. After falling behind 21-10 the Steelers led by Mendenhall’s running and Ben’s passing staged a furious rally that cut the Packers lead to 28-25. After a Packer field goal increased the lead to 31-25 the Steelers come-from-behind effort ended as Ben’s 4th-down pass to Mike Wallace was incomplete. Ben finished the game 25 of 40 for 263 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
“It’s all about team – offense, defense and special teams. It’s about how close this locker room is. Maybe a better word, team is a sub-word, family is better. You start with the coaches, owners, and the Rooney family. We are family. That is the better word.” – Ben, on the success of the 2010 team.
After a slow start to the season that left their record at 2-2, the 2011 Steelers won 10 of their final 12 games to finish the season at 12-4 for the second consecutive year.
October 9th: For the second time in his career Ben threw 5 touchdown passes in one game as the Steelers defeated the Tennessee Titans 38-17 at Heinz Field to earn AFC Player of the Week honors.
October 30th: For the second time in four weeks Ben was named AFC Player of the Week following the Steelers 25-17 victory over the New England Patriots. Ben threw for 365 yards and two touchdowns. It was the 8th time in his career that Ben has won the award.
December 4th: In a little over three quarters of work Ben completed 15 of 23 passes for 176 yards and two touchdowns as the Steelers beat the Bengals 35-7 at Heinz Field. Ben set a new franchise record for completions in a career, the mark previously held by Terry Bradshaw (1970-1983). Ben finished the season with 2,090 career completions after his first 8 seasons as the Steelers starting quarterback.
“I might never win the passing title or be the league MVP. But I’m OK with that. I just want to win championships. I’ve got a lot of fingers left for rings and I want to win a lot more championships. When I’m done and they look back on my career, I want them to be able to say he won the big games. That will mean more to me than anything.” — Ben, from an interview with Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 14, 2011.
About Ben’s 2011 Season:
His 3,856 yards entering the final week of the season rank second in team history for single-season passing yards and his 301 completions also rank second on the team’s single-season list. Ben was twice named AFC Offensive Player of the Week in 2011 and broke the team’s all-time record for completions in Week 14 versus Cincinnati.
The Steelers hopes of a return trip to the Super Bowl fell short in Denver as the Steelers lost 29-23 in overtime to the Broncos at Sports Authority Field in the first round of the AFC playoffs. After trailing 20-6 at halftime the Steelers, behind strong performances by Ben, Isaac Redman, Antonio Brown, and Emmanuel Sanders rallied to tie the score at 23-23 after Ben hit Wide Receiver Jerricho Cotchery with a 31-yard touchdown pass.Ben finished the game completing 22 of 40 for 289 yards, with 1 touchdown and 1 interception.
“It’s fun. It’s neat to come out here, it’s an awesome honor and a privilege to be out here with some great players, and guys that you compete with, and to have fun with some of the defensive guys that you get into it with during the season (laughs).” – Ben, during an interview in Hawaii with NFL Network during Pro Bowl Week, January 22, 2012.
2012 NFL Pro Bowl:
The annual contest of the AFC and NFC’s best took place on Sunday, January 29, 2012 at Aloha Stadium in Hawaii. Voting began on October 25, 2011 and concluded on December 19, 2011. Ben (935,535 votes) finished second behind New England’s Tom Brady (1.45 mil votes). Ben was also in the Top Ten in overall votes, finishing 8th.Ben completed 6 of 11 passes for 181 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. His 34-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green cut the NFC’s lead to 14-7. Ben’s final pass of the day was a 74-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall that tied the score at 14-14 near the end of the first quarter.This marked Ben’s second Pro Bowl selection. In 2008, he was a reserve quarterback along with the Colts’ Peyton Manning and behind the Patriots’ Tom Brady, who was the No. 1 vote-getter. Ben became the back-up to Peyton Manning on the field when Tom Brady opted out.
“I want to take a second to say thank you to all the fans who voted for me and helped me get back to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl. It is an awesome honor to be voted by my peers and coaches, but even more by the fans and that’s all of you! I wouldn’t have been able to go if it weren’t for all of your votes (no matter how many times you voted, haha). I also want to say thank you for all of you who voted for my teammates, it will be awesome to throw to 2 of my receivers!”– An excerpt from Ben’s message to his fans that appeared on the home page, January 15, 2012.
October 7th: Steelers win 16-13 vs. Eagles -
Trailing 14-13 with 6:33 left in the game Ben and his offense enginered a 14 play, 64-yard drive that set up kicker Shaun Suisham’s game winner from 34 yards out.
Earlier in the game Ben hit Rashard Mendenhall for a 13 yard touchdown pass that gave the Steelers a 7-0 lead.
Ben finished the day completing 22 of 38 passes for 220 yards, 1 touchdown and no interceptions.
October 11th: Titans win 26-23 vs. Steelers in overtime -
The Steelers lose a heart-breaker in Tennessee in overtime, but Ben’s 24 of 40 passing for 363 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception night moved him past Terry Bradshaw as the Steelers All-Time leader in passing yards (28,065). Ben set the milestone with a 17 yard pass to Heath Miller in the 2nd quarter. Ben’s best pass of the night was an 82 yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace that gave the Steelers a 10-3 lead. Ben ended the 2012 season setting the new Steelers team record with 29,844 career passing yards.
October 28th: Steelers win 27-12 vs. Redskins -
In a much anticipated match-up between Ben and the Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, Ben threw three touchdown passes to three different receivers as Ben completed 24 of 33 passes for 222 yards, with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Ben’s 4th down, one yard pass to Leonard Pope gave the Steelers a 7-0 lead. Ben later threw a 2nd quarter 7-yard touchdown pass to Heath Miller, and later connected with rookie fullback Will Johnson for another one yard score that gave the Steelers a 27-9 lead. With the victory Ben improved his career record to 3-0 vs. the Redskins.
“Ben says, ‘Not so fast young man, I’m pretty good too!’”. – FOX NFL Sunday‘s Howie Long on what Ben was thinking after the first half playing against rookie phenom Robert Griffin III.
From ESPN Stats and Info after the game:
“Ben Roethlisberger’s extraordinary record when starting against a rookie QB is 14-0. He has thrown 20 TD passes and only seven interceptions in those 14 games, and his victims have included Eli Manning, Joe Flacco (twice), and Andy Dalton (twice).”
Steelers win 24-20 vs Giants -
For the third time in their careers the two best quarterbacks from the 2004 draft class met head to head and for the third time in three meetings the visiting team won. Ben’s 4 yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders gave the Steelers a 7-0 lead. Trailing 20-10 in the 4th quarter Mike Wallace took Ben’s slant pass on 3rd and 5 and raced 51-yards for a touchdown that cut the Giants lead to 20-17. Taking over at the Steelers 49 with 8:55 to play, Ben’s 14-yard pass to Heath Miller, and 12-yard pass to Jerricho Cotchery help set up Isaac Redman’s 1-yard touchdown run for the winning score. Ben finished 21 of 30 for 216 yards and two touchdowns.
On November 13th, Ben suffered a serious rib injury during the Steelers win over the Kansas City Chiefs. He dislocated his top rib — the first rib — that protects the aorta, the largest artery in the body, while being driven to the turf Monday night by Chiefs linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali. He immediately knew something was wrong, saying he heard “a crunch and a crack.”
If the rib had punctured the aorta, it could have been dangerous. “Get Well” wishes poured in for Ben from Steeler Nation. Ben did not play in the next three games. The Steelers were 1-2 in his absence – against the Ravens, Browns and the Ravens once again.
“He’s the difference-maker. He’s a two-time Super Bowl champion, so you definitely want that guy under center. It’s bittersweet. Glad to have the win, but we’d rather have those guys (Roethlisberger, receiver Antonio Brown and safety Troy Polamalu) playing. It just does good for the rivalry, for football, to have both teams have key components.” – Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs on the rivalry and their win against the Steelers without Ben, November 19th.
The Steelers, with Charlie Batch under center, pulled out a 23-20 nail-biting win against the Ravens during their second meeting on December 2nd.
Ben was the first to greet Charlie Batch, grabbing him tightly for a 30-second bear hug that summed up everything about an emotional day, a resilient team, and an improbable win.
“You go out there and that was a big win,” Charlie said during his post-game interview. “It was one of those moments, and he and I shared it. I’ll keep it between us what was said, but it was something that was special.”
- Ben set a new Steelers record for passing yards in a career with 29,844 yards, surpassing Terry Bradshaw.
- Ben’s 26 touchdown passes were the third highest total of his career (matching his 2009 total).
Pittsburgh Steelers 2004-2012
Record as Steelers starting quarterback (Regular season): 80-33
Record as Steelers starting quarterback (Playoffs): 10-4
Ben has set many of the Steelers’ passing records since becoming the team’s starting quarterback in 2004, including:
- Single-game passing yards: 503
- Season passing yards: 4,328 (2009)
- 300-yard passing games in a season: 5
- Completions in a season: 337
- Completion rate in a season: 66.6 percent (2009)
- Games with a 100 passer rating in a career: 54
- Season passer rating: 104.1 (2007)
- Touchdowns in a season: 32 (2007)
Ben also holds 31 different Steelers franchise records.
“Ben Roethlisberger not only played in every game for only the second time in his 10-year career, but he also played every snap for the first time (though not all at quarterback because they used the wildcat on occasion). So, having turned 32 March 2, it’s probably time for Steelers fans to stop fretting about his health. He’s fine. His knees are fine, his head is clear and his arm is as good as ever.” – Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 9, 2014.
Although things got off to a rough start, by the end of the season Ben was playing some of his best football.
October 13th: Steelers 19 Jets 6 - Ben completed 23 of 30 passes for 264 yards. His 55 yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders gave the Steelers a 16-6 lead for their first win of the 2013 season.
October 20th: Steelers 19 Ravens 16 - In a game typical of the Steelers/Ravens rivalry the Steelers won the game on Shaun Suisham’s 42 yard field goal as time expired. Ben and the offense went 73 yards in 16 plays to set up the winning score. Ben finished 17 of 23 for 160 yards and a 3 yard shovel pass to Heath Miller for their lone touchdown of the day.
November 17th: Steelers 37 Lions 27 - In one of the finest performances of his career, Ben’s third touchdown pass of the day, a 1 yard pass to Will Johnson gave the Steelers a 30-27 lead in the 4th quarter.
Following Will Allen’s interception, Ben’s fourth touchdown pass of the day, a 20 yarder to Jerricho Cotchery sealed the victory. Ben finished completing 29 of 45 passes for 367 yards and four touchdowns.
The Steelers completed the 2013 campaign on a high note, but it wasn’t enough to get them into the playoffs.
“In regards to Ben and his window closing, I think first of all we’re very fortunate to have a franchise quarterback because the majority of the teams in this league can’t say that and we have one. There is nobody we’d rather have than Ben. That’s a big part of where we are.” – Steeler GM Kevin Colbert, March 2014.
- Ben set a new Steelers record for touchdown passes in a career with 218.
- Ben’s 27 touchdown passes were the second highest total of his career.
Ben was named the “Steelers 2013 Walter Payton Man of the Year”. He is one of 32 NFL team’s “Man of the Year” award winners.
The award recognizes a player’s off-the-field community service as well as his playing excellence.
2004: AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.
2004: Sporting News NFL Rookie of the Year.
2004: Set NFL record by winning his first 14 starts.
2007: Named to Pro Bowl.
2009: Steelers team MVP.
2010: Chief Award.
2011: Named to Pro Bowl.
“I’m so proud of what my brother’s done, all that he’s accomplished and not just in sports but, you know, who he’s become as a person and who I know him as, you know, my big brother. So, I couldn’t be more proud of him or more proud to be his sister.” – Carlee Roethlisberger, from an interview/article that appeared on Fox Sports SouthWest, March 9, 2011.
Off the Field:
Ben’s parents are Ken and Brenda Roethlisberger. His younger sister Carlee played basketball and volleyball at the University of Oklahoma.
Ben is a spokesman for Swiss Roots, a campaign to help Americans of Swiss origin reconnect with their Swiss ancestral heritage, and in the spring of 2006 took his family to Switzerland. Ben has always been very active with Pittsburgh area charities including the Ronald McDonald House, the Make a Wish Foundation, and the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation.
During the week of June 21, 2011 Ben hosted 500 children at The 2011 Ben Roethlisberger Football Camp. He has been hosting this youth football camp since 2008. According to parents and grandparents, just like in the past, the 2-day Camp was a big success and their youngsters enjoyed every minute.Ben’s arm got quite the workout at the Camp during the NFL lockout – every child in attendance got the chance to catch a pass from him!Parents sent in many photos from the camp which can be viewed here.
“We are thrilled. We would never, ever turn away a family who needed to stay here. Ben and Ashley’s generosity will help us with that. I hope it’s a trend.” – Eleanor Reigel, executive director of the Ronald McDonald House, on Ben and Ashley’s plan to distribute guests’ contributions to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Pittsburgh and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, July 23, 2011.
On July 23, 2011, Ben and lovely New Castle, PA native Ashley Harlan exchanged wedding vows before an Ohio Township church full of family and friends — as well as Steelers officials, coaches and players.After the ceremony at Christ Church at Grove Farm, the bride and groom were whisked by limousine to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown, for a reception in The Spirit of America Ballroom.More than 600 guests gathered for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the convention center’s Concourse B, overlooking the Allegheny River, then went into the ballroom for dinner and dancing. And, of course, to toast the newlyweds.
“Big Ben’s wedding is proving to be the event that keeps on giving. At least for the next few days. Floral arrangements made from flowers used for the wedding and reception of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his bride, the former Ashley Harlan, were delivered to the Ronald McDonald House and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, both in Lawrenceville, as well as the Children’s Home of Pittsburgh in Bloomfield and The Children’s Institute in Squirrel Hill.” — Jason Cato, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 27, 2011.
On December 15, 2011, Ben was named the Honorary Chairman for 2012 PNC Big 33 Classic that will be played on June 16, 2012. Ben, who is a Big 33 alumnus, played for Ohio in the 2000 Big 33 Football Classic.“It was such an honor for me to play in the Big 33 Classic, given the tradition of the game and legacy of great players,” Ben said of the honor. “I am excited to return now as the Honorary Chairman, to be involved again in something truly special.”In 2003, Ben led the Miami RedHawks to an unbeaten record in the MAC, a No. 10 ranking in the Associated Press poll, and a 49-28 victory over Louisville in the 2003 GMAC Bowl.
As 2011 came to a close….
“Being married and being in a great place in my life, it’s a great thing. Being in touch with my faith, even more, and family and friends, I’ve really enjoyed this off-season and obviously getting married, and I’m looking forward to things to come.” – Ben, from an interview with the Indy Star, September 22, 2011.
April 1, 2012 – Autograph Signing Event
Steelers fans came from far and wide to meet Ben and several of his teammates, including Mike Wallace, Ryan Clark, Cameron Heyward, and Lawrence Timmons as well as Steelers greats Jerome Bettis, Hines Ward, Franco Harris and Mean Joe Greene, at the Collectors Showcase of America Expo in Chantilly, VA.According to the Show’s website, the event was “such a HUGE SUCCESS” because of the number of fans that came out in support of their favorite players. Ben signed over 300 autographs in an hour and half, and posed for many photos with fans.
“Just want to say thanks to all the amazing fans that were at the signing today! You made my first signing like this a very memorable one! Thank you all for the support and love, I love you all! I always say that Steeler fans are the best in the world and you proved it today, especially fans like this guy!” – Ben, to the fans.
(“this guy” is the fella in the photo above – Danny Winslow, who traveled from Newport News, VA to attend the Show. Ben signed Danny’s back beneath his tattooed likeness. Afterwards, Danny headed home to have his tattoo artist make the autograph permanent!)
On May 6, 2012, Ben received his Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Miami University during Divisional Recognition Ceremonies held at the Millett Assembly Hall.
“How could I tell my children one day how important an education is, if I didn’t have one? This is pretty special to me. I’m proud to not just say I’m an alum. Now I’m a graduate.” – Ben, on the day of his college graduation.
Most of the assembly didn’t know he was coming. When he suddenly appeared in the lineup with his class, the cell phones quickly came out and the texting began.”I’m going to be sitting there thinking, ‘When I was in college, this person (next to him) was probably in middle school,’ ” Ben said before the ceremony. “I’m going to be the old man out there, but it’s worth it.’ “Worth it, because he promised his parents in 2003, when he left Miami four credits short for the NFL, that one day he would graduate. Lots of pro-bound athletes say that, but how many end up meaning it? A career gets in the way. Money gets in the way. Life gets in the way. In this case, winning two Super Bowls got in the way.”I had every intention,” he said of graduating. “Actually, I didn’t think it’d take this long.”
After the defeat against the Denver Broncos in January, his Miami academic advisor sent him an email, which figured it was a note of condolence. Instead, it was a call to class. “He responded in less than 20 minutes,” said Melissa Chase, associate dean. “He never asked for a shortcut. It was always, ‘What do I need to do?’ He did everything we asked of him. I know this was always a very important goal for him.”
What they asked of him at the end included a paper on Tibet. “Which I knew nothing about,” he said. Analyzing the New England defense was never like this. But luckily his wife Ashley, with two degrees, makes a swell study buddy. He ended up with an A, and possibly more knowledge of Tibet than any quarterback in the NFL.
“Nine years later,” Ben said, “we finally got it. When I told my parents, my mom teared up.”
On the morning of June 9, 2012, Ben announced on his website the wonderful news that he and Ashley were expecting their first child:
“Ashley and I are proud to let you all know that we are expecting a baby boy later this year! It is truly a blessing and we are so excited!” – Ben
The announcement was met with thousands of messages from Steeler Nation congratulating the couple and their families, a sample of which were added to his announcement later in the day.
And on Thanksgiving morning, November 21, 2012, Ben announced the birth of his first child, a son named Benjamin Jr.:
“We would like to let everyone know that last night at 10:06 PM Ashley and I welcomed a healthy, beautiful baby boy into this world. Benjamin Jr. is 7 lbs. 1 oz., and 19-1/2 inches long. Both mom and baby are doing well. We want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers, it really means a lot to us. God is so good!”– Ben, Ashley, and Benjamin
Two days later, Ben sent the first photo of Benjamin, Jr. to share with his fans! And on Sunday, November 25, 2012 while Ben and the Steelers were in Cleveland preparing for a game against the Browns, his wife and new baby posed for a photo as a surprise to Ben to show their support for the new dad.
Fan messages through the website’s Facebook page, Twitter account and email account reached several thousand, but a few were shared on the website on the November 27th, along with a photo of Ben and Benjamin, Jr. in their first huddle!
On Christmas Day, 2012, Ben and Ashley shared a beautiful photo of their growing family with a message to his fans:
“We wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! We hope everyone has a blessed holiday!” – Ben, Ash, Jr, Herc and Zeus
On February 9, 2013, the six newest members of the Miami University Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2012-13 were honored during the mens basketball game versus Akron. Among the six was our own Big Ben.
“I’m honored to be a graduate, to have my number retired, to be in the Hall of Fame now and to say that I went to Miami. People all the time ask, why Miami? And I say obviously the academics and a chance to play early and Coach Hoeppner.” – Ben
Ben holds every major passing record in Miami history. Passing for more than 200 yards in all 14 games during the 2003 season, he also owns NCAA records for most games in a season gaining 200 or more passing yards and consecutive games with at least 200 passing yards. A Third-Team Associated Press All-American in 2003 and Freshman All-American in 2001, he was twice named Miami’s Male Co-Athlete of the Year (2000-01 and 2003-04) while being named MAC Freshman of the Year (2001), and MAC Offensive Player of the Year (2003).
Ben was also a three-time All-MAC selection, earning first-team honors in 2003 and second-team recognition in 2001 and 2002. A three-year letter winner, he forewent his final season of eligibility to enter the 2004 NFL Draft. Miami retired his jersey No. 7 in 2007.
He was thrilled to enter the Hall with his beloved coach, Terry Hoeppner, who recruited and coached him at MU.
“This was one of the first schools, if not the first, to offer me a scholarship. Coach Hep took a chance on me, a kid that never played quarterback until his senior year of high school. That’s why I love this school and Coach Hep so much. They gave me a chance to prove what I was capable of doing.”
Of the bachelor’s degree in education that he picked up last May, the 30-year-old Findlay High School graduate said it was something he always hoped to obtain.
“It was a bigger goal early on, and then as you start getting sidetracked, off-seasons get shorter and things are going on,” Roethlisberger said. “Having a son on the way — and now he’s here — it just kind of motivated me further to get it done and just to tell my son and hopefully more kids that I got my degree and how important education is.”
You can see photos from the event here.
In the afternoon of March 19th, Ben and Ashley announced the birth of their second child, a daughter:
“At 1:11 this morning we were blessed to welcome into this world another beautiful gift from God! Very pleased to introduce our daughter, Baylee Marie Roethlisberger! She weighed in at 6lbs, 12 oz and is 19.5 inches long. Mom and baby are doing great!” – Ben & Ashley and big brother Benjamin Jr.
Three days later, Ben sent photos of big brother Benjamin, Jr. checking out his new sibling…and not too sure what this little crying thing was doing in HIS house! But since that time, he has become a very good big brother to little Baylee.
Ben spent the off-season of 2014 participating in charity golf tournaments for friends, teammates and former coaches, working out in California with his newer offensive teammates, and hosting his ProCamps Football Camp for children – which was once again a sold-out event. Ben threw a pass to every child in attendance on a hot June day. Although unlike previous years, it wasn’t Big Ben who stole the show at camp, it was little Benjamin Jr. who was just chompin’ at the bit to join his daddy on the field!
June was Ben’s busiest off-season month because it also included his Foundation fundraiser and golf tournament, both of which were a huge success with proceeds benefiting the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation.
He was also the Keynote speaker at the Lou Holtz Hall of Fame Dinner on June 17th, which was held at St. Florian Hall in Ohio.
“Thank You for your speech last night at the Lou Holtz Upper Ohio Valley Football Hall Of Fame. I was taken with how much emphasis and credit you give being from a small town and not forgetting your roots. Being from Martins Ferry, Ohio and being in a rich in tradition small town also really moved me, thanks for your professionalism and caring thoughts. you truly are a class act Ben!!!” – Mike Mayle
Ben delighted fans all through the NFL off-season with photos of his children, his trips and his messages to them!
More to come….
You can read more about Ben’s charity involvement on the Community page.
You can read about The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation here.
*Thank you so much to fan contributors K. F. and Jan Banko for their assistance and research with this biography, and to Nathan Schivley and Rebecca L. Miller for their image designs.
References used for this page:
ESPN’s Mike & Mike Show
Miami Redhawks Official Site
GMAC Bowl Official Site
Mark Curnutte, The Cincinnati Enquirer
Mark Shugar, The Athens Post
ESPN Monday Night Football Countdown Show
Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Mike Bires, Beaver County Times
Swiss Roots Organization