Joey Cranney > Freshman > Journalism Major > Temple University, Photo by Jeffrey Beal
With the clock stopped for the last time and the game on the line, Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger executed yet another unforgettable play.
There were two minutes left in the AFC championship game. The Pittsburgh Steelers had a 24-19 lead and the ball at the New York Jets’ forty-yard line. It was third and six; a first down would seal the victory and punch a black and yellow ticket to the Super Bowl.
Roethlisberger took the snap, avoided a sack, and rolled right in the face of three Jets defenders. It looked surely like a broken play and that the Jets were going to get the ball back with the chance to win the game. But Big Ben, like he has done so many times in big situations in the past, made a play.
He lobbed a pass on the run over the Jets’ initial defensive line that somehow found its way into the breadbasket of Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown. It was a miraculous fourteen-yard gain that gave the Steelers a first down and allowed the clock to run out on a wild AFC championship game.
The Jets were stunned. To the rest of the world, it was nothing new.
Roethlisberger has compiled an incredible resume so far in his young seven-year career. In his rookie season, he set records for most consecutive wins to begin a quarterback’s career (six) and most total wins by a rookie (thirteen), leading the Steelers to a 15-1 record and an AFC championship appearance and winning the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
Roethlisberger helped the Steelers secure a spot in the playoffs as a Wild Car team with an 11-5 record in his second season, despite missing four games due to knee injuries. After Pittsburgh won two upsets in the AFC playoffs, Roethliserger became the youngest quarterback to lead his team to a Super Bowl victory.
After off-seasons in 2006 and 2007, Roethlisberger and the Steelers returned to the Super Bowl in 2008. In one of the greatest Super Bowls in history, Roethlisberger executed one of his trademark miracle plays by making a seemingly impossible throw to the corner of the end zone that was caught by Santonio Holmes for the game-winning score with thirty-five seconds left in the game.
In just four seasons, Roethlisberger had already led his team to two Super Bowl victories. He has already established himself as one of the great young quarterbacks this game has ever seen. He played immediately his rookie year and has had a non-stop positive impact on his team ever since.
With his most recent heroics, he has given his Steelers an opportunity to win a third Super Bowl during his tenure. He now joins Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, Troy Aikman, and Tom Brady as the only quarterbacks to have three or more Super Bowl appearances.
If the Steelers win next Sunday, discussion of who is the greatest quarterback of this generation could be generated. Move over Brady and Manning, Big Ben is coming through.