Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers has been a mainstay on the team since being selected 11th overall in the 2004 NFL Draft. He came into the league making quite a statement too. In his rookie year, Big Ben threw for 2,621 yards with 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. The numbers don’t jump off the table, but in a league in which wins are all that matter, you can’t help but gasp at the astonishing record he delivered at 15-1 and good for the best in franchise history.
With 12 season in the books and the 13th coming up, it’s natural to question how many more seasons this guy has left in him. In a recent article, Ben addressed his future quite simply saying, “Everyone has a different mentality and mindset on it. I’ll stay firm with my answer, that it’s either until Mr. Rooney or the Good Lord says I can’t.” In case you’re unfamiliar, Dan Rooney is the chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Since Ben has put up great numbers and continues to give the team a chance to win, you have to respect his talent and abilities, which is likely why Rooney is so committed Roethlisberger. What also helps is Ben’s contributions in winning two super bowls for the franchise since he has been with the team.
But how can Ben continue to produce at a high level for the Steelers? Right off the bat, his front line needs to protect him. Roethlisberger has been sacked a lot over 12 seasons. Back in 2009, it was feared that at the rate Ben was being hit, people questioned whether he’d be a quarterback in this league past age 33. Now at 34 years old, Roethlisberger seems fine, but as he continues to age you need to respect his body and the likelihood of more injuries. With good pocket protection from your offensive line you can cut down on the chance for injury. This is exactly what Pittsburgh is looking to do with the recent signing of Ryan Harris.
It’s also important to look at older quarterbacks and how they’ve endured in their 30s. Two examples come to mind right away: Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. After winning his second super bowl with the Denver Broncos at age 39, Peyton Manning retired from the NFL. It’s important to note that Manning accomplished this incredible feat at age 39! Tom Brady is still active at age 38 and shows no signs of slowing down, continuing to dominate the league and win super bowls over and over again. The point is, if Ben Roethlisberger can continue to win and contend for a super bowl there’s no need in worrying and jumping to conclusions. Recent quarterbacks have proved that it is possible to perform at a high level and win it all, and Roethlisberger is still a few years removed from where both Manning and Brady are.