By Arjit Nair and Dylan Sanichara
The six-time pro bowler and two-time Super Bowl Champion Ben Roethlisberger has hung up his cleats. Despite his final game being a first round beatdown by the Kansas City Chiefs, “Big Ben” had a prosperous career filled with many memorable moments.
Roethlisberger began his journey in 2004, winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. Two years later, Big Ben won his first Super Bowl as he, and eventual Super Bowl MVP Hines Ward, led the charge against the Seattle Seahawks in a 21-10 victory. Roethlisberger reached the Super Bowl again three years later against Hall of Famer Kurt Warner and the Arizona Cardinals, playing one of the most memorable games in Super Bowl history. Eventual Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes made one of the most historic catches in NFL history and Roethlisberger and the Steelers won 27-23. Ben reached the Super Bowl a third and final time, but eventually lost to Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. Big Ben continued to reach the playoffs, puting his name in the record books, but encountering many losses.
“Big Ben’s situation was rough, however the NFL should’ve taken higher measures towards determining if the accusations were valid...”
Many believe his career is worth a Gold Jacket and ignore his four-game suspension in 2010. However, Roethlisberger had publicly been accused of sexual assault twice and has not been prosecuted. Big Ben’s downfall began in 2009 when a woman from Nevada named Andrea McNulty claimed that in June of 2008 he had sexually assulted her in a hotel room in Lake Tahoe.
The line of accusations would not stop. In March of 2010, a twenty-year-old woman accused him of sexual assault at a night club in Georgia. Due to violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy, after his 2010 preseason finale, his six-game suspension would be reduced to four. Roethlisberger’s accusations continue to be questioned as police could never prove that the crime was committed.
“In my opinion, I don’t believe that his accusations really had an impact on his career. Even though he might’ve done it he was still a great quarterback. What I’m saying is that I don’t believe that some tragic accusation took anything away from his legacy,” freshman Jacob Keiper said.
Artwork by Sabeena Ramdarie
Football fans debate if Roethlisberger's legacy bears greater weight than his accusations.
As seen when Roethlisberger faced a well-prepared Chiefs team lead by Patrick Mahomes II, he has proven throughout his career that he can withstand the pressure on and off the field. Many do question Roethlisberger’s success, since he has been accused of sexually assaulted two women. These allegations shape the way his legacy is viewed since his recent retirement. These claims that Roethlisberger received in 2010 were major, considering the inclusion of a police investigation. Football fans in general have started to question how Roethlisberger acted off the field rather than debating the numbers he formulated on the field. Along with the support that he has received, there has been significant backlash that made him one of the most questionable players in regards to receiving the Golden Jacket.
“Big Ben’s career has been tremendous, however I found it quite unfortunate on the drastic effects it played on his career. Specifically, the accusations involving locker room problems and sexual assault. Big Ben’s situation was rough, however the NFL should’ve taken higher measures towards determining if the accusations were valid because sexual assault is a serious matter,” freshman Jash Mody said.
Analogous to many athletes, Roethlisberger has denied all accusations that have been made concerning his name. Although not enough evidence has been found to prove he is guilty of any assault, there are still people that believe he is guilty. Despite this, Roethlisberger did not let the hate get to him as he continued to strive and build up his legacy.
“I mean people can say what they want about him over and over again, but he was never proven guilty. Through dedication, he strived his way to greatness” sophomore Matthew Bomeisl said.
Out of the three Super Bowls that Big Ben has been to, he has won two, one in 2006 and one in 2009. Throughout the entirety of his career, Roethlisberger has displayed that his past does not define him. Although he did not win the 2011 Super Bowl, he overcame the significant pressure he had received from the media. Furthermore, throughout Roethlisberger’s career of being a Steelers quarterback, he has never had a losing season. Throughout his 18-season career, he has shown his doubters that at the end of the day, he is one of the game’s greats, seeing as he has overcome many obstacles and had many achievements. Time has officially run out for Big Ben.