From LeeAnn Lowman,

The Pittsburgh Steelers are known for their incredible defenses, and as they say, “Defense wins championships.” That is certainly true in the Steel City, as they are tied for the most Super Bowl wins in the NFL with six. The architect of a few of those championship groups was the legendary Dick LeBeau.

He was an incredible defensive mastermind. His zone blitz schemes stymied offenses during the championship runs in the 2000s. It helped that he had tremendous talent in those units. It isn’t surprising that LeBeau had a hand in drafting defensive players. What is unusual is to hear that he played a part in drafting an offensive player, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

In his new book, Legendary, LeBeau tells the story of the 2008 Steelers defense, which he has said was his favorite. He also shares other stories from the 60 years he spent in the NFL as a coach and a player. He said he generally only focused on defensive players when prepping for the draft, until the team asked for his help. LeBeau and Roethlisberger are Ohioans, and the coach knew how well he played at Miami of Ohio.

“Ben Roethlisberger was an exception. In fact, the only offensive player I ever really stood on the table for was him. Roethlisberger had a good (college) team around him with skilled players, but none were NFL guys. It was amazing watching him, and I thought, This guy is going to be a fantastic professional football player.”

The game that solidified it for LeBeau was the 2003 MAC Championship. It was below freezing and Roethlisberger led his team to victory unfazed. From there, LeBeau knew Roethlisberger could handle the AFC North. He knew the Steelers were drafting early that year as well, 11th overall, and were looking to get a quarterback.

“I spoke a couple of times and said, ‘I think Ben can’t miss. When you hired me, I believed my opinion was what came along with it.’ The last meeting before the draft had all the scouts and all the coaches. Bill Cowher said, ‘We’re going to go through this one more time. I want to hear what everybody is going to say.’ He turned and looked at me and said, ‘Except you, LeBeau. I know how you feel.’ I thought we were going to take Rivers, but he and Manning went in the first four picks. By the time we picked at No. 11, Roethlisberger was the only one left, which resolved it for us.”

You can read more from LeeAnn article here.

And sometimes being hated isn’t a bad thing….

From Will Riggs, Athlon Sports:

For 18 seasons “Big” Ben Roethlisberger was at the helm of the Pittsburgh Steelers offense. The former No. 11 overall pick led the Steelers to three Super Bowl appearances, winning two.

In his 18 seasons, he threw for 64,088 yards, 418 touchdowns, 211 interceptions, and led his team to the playoffs 12 times. He was so big and strong that he could extend plays by shaking off would-be tacklers in the backfield.

His quarterback play led one AFC rival to reveal his feelings about playing Roethlisberger. In a recent appearance on the “Bleave in the Broncos” podcast, Broncos ex Chris Harris revealed that the Steelers quarterback was not his favorite.

“Going through Big Ben, I hated Big Ben. Big Ben was tough every year we had to face him.”

Big Ben was always a tough out regardless of who the Steelers were playing. He is a six-time Pro Bowler who, in spite of his elite level play, was never voted as a first-team All-Pro. We guess that’s what he gets for playing in the same era as Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers. But opponents? They knew.

More from Will Riggs here.