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Ben Roethlisberger

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Full Name: Ben Roethlisberger Primary Position: QB
Height/Weight: 6' 4"/242 College: Miami University of Ohio
Birthdate: March 2, 1982 High School: Findlay (OH)
Pro Experience: 3 years


Ben Roethlisberger (born March 2, 1982, in Findlay, Ohio), nicknamed "Big Ben," is an American football quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL. He led his team to a victory against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL in just his second year in the league and is the youngest quarterback to do so. Roethlisberger attended Miami University in Ohio.

NFL career

Roethlisberger was taken 11th overall in the 2004 NFL Draft. On August 4 2004 Roethlisberger signed a six-year contract worth $22.26 million in salaries and bonuses, with an additional $17.73 million available via incentives, and was touted by Steelers coach Bill Cowher in a press conference as a franchise quarterback.

2004-2005 season

He took over from Steelers starting quarterback Tommy Maddox after Maddox was injured during a game against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 2. This injury changed the Steelers original plan for Roethlisberger, which was for him to sit on the bench or play very sparingly during the first season or two in order to learn the team's system, instead he was thrown into the fire immediately. As a rookie, he went 13-0 in the regular season as a starting quarterback, helping the Steelers become the first AFC team to have 15 wins in a single season, surpassing former Steeler Mike Kruczek for the record for the best start by a rookie (6-0), and exceeding the mark for total wins as a rookie set by Chris Chandler and Joe Ferguson. Roethlisberger received much praise from coaches in the NFL including Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells who compared him to NFL legend Dan Marino. On January 5, 2005 Roethlisberger was unanimously selected as The NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press, the first quarterback in 34 years to be so honored.

In 2004, perhaps Roethlisberger's greatest feat was leading the Steelers to a 34-20 victory over the defending Super Bowl champion and previously undefeated New England Patriots, ending their NFL-record 21-game winning streak. He completed 18 of his 24 pass attempts, including a 47-yard touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress. He racked up 196 yards, two touchdowns, and threw no interceptions. The week after that game the Steelers defeated the also previously undefeated Philadelphia Eagles 27-3. Roethlisberger was 11 for 18, with two touchdowns and one interception.

In the divisional playoffs against the New York Jets, Roethlisberger threw one touchdown and two interceptions. One interception was returned for a touchdown, and the other was thrown with 2:03 left in the fourth quarter, which set up a potential game-winning field goal by Jets kicker Doug Brien. Brien missed the kick as time expired (his second missed kick in the last 2 minutes of the game), and forced the game into overtime. In overtime, Roethlisberger led the Steelers down the field and put them in position for the game-winning field goal, a 33-yard attempt that was made by Jeff Reed, sending the Steelers into the AFC Championship Game for the 4th time in 10 years.

On January 23, 2005 in the AFC Championship Game in Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger completed 14 of 24 pass attempts for 226 yards and two touchdowns, but he also threw three costly interceptions. The Steelers lost the game to the eventual Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots by a score of 41-27.

In Roethlisberger's rookie season, he set many rookie passing records, including best passer rating (98.1), and highest completion percentage (66.4%).

2005-2006 season

In 2005, Roethlisberger led the Steelers on the improbable run, winning 3 straight games on the road to put Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XL. What made the run remarkable was that the Steelers began the post season as the sixth seed in the AFC. Since the NFL's current playoff format began, no sixth seed had previously even made it to a conference championship game, let alone the Super Bowl.

In the 2005 regular season, the Steelers finished 11-5 and secured an AFC wild card spot, en route a stunning victory in Super Bowl XL, where the Steelers pulled off amazing upsets at Indianapolis and Denver in the AFC playoffs in addition to wins over higher-seeds Cincinnati and Seattle. During the course of the regular season, Roethlisberger generally played well when healthy, but missed four games due to various knee injuries. During the regular season, the Steelers were 9-3 with Roethlisberger at quarterback, and 2-2 without him. Many Steelers fans believe that the continued success of the team depends largely upon whether Roethlisberger is healthy.

The Super Bowl run began on Sunday, January 8, 2006 as Roethlisberger helped lead the Steelers to a playoff win over the Cincinnati Bengals -- an AFC North rival that had beaten the Steelers by 7 points in the regular season, to win the division championship. The rematch featured two teams with identical records, having split their regular season series with each team winning on the road. Early in the game on Carson Palmer's first throw, a low but not intentional hit on Palmer's knee by former Steeler Kimo von Oelhoffen resulted in Palmer's anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) being completely torn. The Bengals backup quarterback, Jon Kitna came in and led the Bengals to leads of 10-0 and 17-7. However, the 17-7 lead midway through the second quarter would be the last time in the 2005 postseason that the Steelers would trail an opponent by more than 3 points. After Kitna failed to produce the Steelers took advantage by taking the next 24 straight points, and the win in a 31-17 victory in Cincinnati.

Their second road win came on Sunday, January 15, 2006. Roethlisberger led the 6th-seeded Steelers against the Indianapolis Colts, the NFL's top team throughout the season and a heavy favorite to represent the AFC in Super Bowl XL. Roethlisberger threw for 197 yards and recorded a game-saving tackle on Colts' defensive back Nick Harper, who had just recovered a Jerome Bettis fumble with under two minutes to play in the game. The tackle saved the season for the Steelers. Pittsburgh led early, but had to survive a Colts comeback to win 21-18, after an errant call that the NFL later admitted was a mistake [1] overturned a Troy Polamalu interception that would have secured the game for the Steelers. Roethlisberger's tackle on Harper, dubbed by many as The Tackle II or The Immaculate Redemption, was compared by many to "The Immaculate Reception" back in 1972 when Franco Harris made a miraculous reception and scored the game-winning touchdown against the Oakland Raiders. The victory marked the first time a sixth-seeded NFL playoff team defeated the top-seeded team in playoff history.

In Denver on January 22, 2006, the Steelers beat the Broncos 34-17 to advance to Super Bowl XL against the Seattle Seahawks in Detroit. Roethlisberger completed 21 of 29 passes for 275 yards and an astronomical 124.9 passer rating. He threw for two touchdowns and scored one himself on a four yard play-action bootleg; his run was the last touchdown of the game, and sealed the win for the Steelers.

After losing the 2005 AFC Championship Game, Roethlisberger convinced veteran running back Jerome Bettis to delay retirement, after a tearful promise to him that he would get Bettis to his first Super Bowl. He lived up to his promise. The Pittsburgh Steelers won Super Bowl XL 21-10 over the Seattle Seahawks in Detroit on February 5, 2006. Roethlisberger completed just 9 of 21 passes with two interceptions and one rushing touchdown; his passer rating of 22.6 was the lowest in Super Bowl history by a winning quarterback, though he made several key plays in the game. His best play of the game set up the Steelers' first touchdown with just under four minutes left in the first half. After being sacked for an eight yard loss (and a previous 10-yard offensive pass interference penalty), Roethlisberger faced third and 28. Pressured out of the pocket, he scrambled to his left, careful not to cross the line of scrimage, and threw a daring pass to Hines Ward for a 37 yard gain.

With the victory Roethlisberger became the youngest quarterback to win the Super Bowl, a record previously held by Tom Brady of the New England Patriots.

In the week leading up to the big game, thousands of fans from all over the world signed an online pledge to stop shaving their facial hair in support of Roethlisberger and his beard. The site, [2] , was created by five University of Pittsburgh students and attracted over 14,135 names in just one week.


In July 2005, a man from Brentwood, Pennsylvania was arrested for impersonating both Roethlisberger and then-Steelers fourth-string quarterback Brian St. Pierre. Brian Jackson, 31, had posed as Roethlisberger in order to attract the romantic attentions of a woman named Mary Groft. After arriving at her home for a date on July 6, he autographed a jersey for her neighbor, an act which ultimately led to a charge of criminal mischief for ruining the garment. That neighbor uncovered the deception while the couple was at dinner, when he looked at a photo in a news article and noticed that Roethlisberger and Jackson looked nothing alike.[3] Jackson was also charged with two counts of harassment, but as a result of a plea bargain on August 29, 2005, he received only a summary citation for disorderly conduct.[4]

Motorcycle accident

On Monday, June 12, 2006, at 11:17 a.m. EDT (UTC-4), Roethlisberger was involved in a motorcycle accident near the intersection of 10th Street and Second Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh, in which he was not wearing his helmet. KDKA-TV of Pittsburgh has reported that Roethlisberger did not have a valid Pennsylvania motorcycle license at the time of the accident, only a temporary permit that he had obtained after moving to Pittsburgh. According to KDKA, this permit had expired in March. Roethlisberger was travelling east on Second Avenue when a Chrysler New Yorker made a left-hand turn in front of the motorcycle and onto the South Tenth Street Bridge[5] when the accident occurred. According to an eyewitness, Roethlisberger went over the handle bars of his bike, a 2005 Suzuki Hayabusa[6]. shattering the windshield of the car with his head. The eyewitness reports claim Roethlisberger tried to get up, but was bleeding from the head.[7] Reports from the scene and news media indicated that the accident was serious but "not life- or career-threatening", though Roethlisberger would later relate in interviews that paramedics on the scene stopped the bleeding in his throat just in time to save his life.[8] After the accident, the shift commander for the Allegheny County emergency service described Roethlisberger as "alert and conscious". He was transported to Mercy Hospital and was described as being in "serious but stable" condition in the operating room.

Police sources have indicated that Roethlisberger suffered fractures to the jaw and left sinus cavity, as well as a nine-inch laceration to the back of the head, the loss of two teeth and many others were chipped. His facial injuries were severe enough that witnesses on the scene did not immediately recognize him, even after he identified himself as "Ben"[9]

Upon arriving to Mercy Hospital he went immediately into surgery where he remained for over 7 hours. The broken bones in his face were repaired. The subsequent news conference with the Mercy Hospital staff was brief but confirmed early reports that the most serious injuries were to the head and face. There was no neck, spinal, nor brain damage found. After surgery, at approximately noon on June 13, 2006, Roethlisberger was upgraded to fair condition. [10]

The most serious injuries to Roethlisberger were a broken upper and lower jaw, and a broken nose. Roethlisberger is expected to make a full recovery in time for the opening game of the season.

In the wake of Kellen Winslow II's crashing of his motorcycle in May 2005, Roethlisberger had been criticized by various NFL members and the media for not wearing a helmet while riding. Even Roethlisberger's coach, Bill Cowher, lectured him about motorcycle safety. Former Steeler Terry Bradshaw warned Roethlisberger personally when he visited Steeler training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and on television, saying "Ride it when you retire."[1] In a segment put together by ESPN following Winslow's accident, Roethlisberger had said he didn't wear a helmet because it was not required by law, adding, "You're just more free when you're out there and there's no helmet on." Transcripts of the interview recall Roethlisberger telling Suzy Kolber that he only rides a Harley, or his chopper with friends, not a sport bike (like the one Winslow was on). He also claimed to have his license. Both statements have been proven false since this accident.

Roethlisberger was released from the hospital at 11:45 PM on June 14, 2006. The next day, he released a statement that apologized for concerning friends, family, fans, and the Steelers organization, and in which he also stated, "If I ever ride again, it certainly will be with a helmet."[url=]

On June 19, the Pittsburgh police announced that Roethlisberger would be cited for failure to wear a helmet and failure to operate in his license class. Wearing a helmet is optional in Pennsylvania only for operators who are and have had a motorcycle license for at least two years. The driver of the car will be cited for failure to yield the right of way. [11] July 13 Roethlisberger in his first interview explains that he was told by responding paramedics that he ruptured a major blood vessel in his mouth and was minutes away from dying. Despite the seriousness of the accident, he is expected to be ready for the upcoming football season.


  • Most career touchdowns by a Miami (Ohio) University quarterback - 84
  • Most wins by an NFL rookie quarterback (2004) - 13 games (Roethlisberger did not play in the Steelers' season opener against Oakland or their season finale at Buffalo during their 15-1 season)
  • Highest quarterback rating by an NFL rookie quarterback (2004) - 98.1
  • Highest completion percentage by an NFL rookie quarterback (2004) - 66.4%
  • Longest regular season win streak for an NFL quarterback (2004–05) - 15 games
  • First quarterback to start two Conference Championship games in first two seasons in the NFL (2004 & 2005)
  • Lowest QB rating for a Super Bowl winning QB - 22.6 (Completed 9 of 21 passes for 0 touchdowns, with 2 interceptions)
  • 27-4 won/loss record as a starting quarterback in the NFL (as of 2/5/06)
  • Second youngest quarterback to play in the Super Bowl (2005), behind Dan Marino
  • Youngest quarterback ever to win the Super Bowl (2005) [see above]
  • Second quarterback of Swiss descent to play and win a Super Bowl (Jeff Hostetler)


  • Has a sandwich named after him, called the "Roethlisburger," which costs $7.00 (because his football jersey number is 7) at Peppi's, a restaurant at several locations in Pittsburgh. The burger is topped with sausage, scrambled eggs, grilled onions, and American cheese on a Portuguese roll. Also has a very large burger named after him at Tony's in his hometown, as well as one in Oxford, Ohio at the bar and restaurant Brick Street.
  • Wears #7 to pay tribute to John Elway of the Denver Broncos.
  • Grew a beard in his 2005/2006 season after the Steelers lost to the Cincinnati Bengals. He credits the beard as the good luck charm that led him on an 8-game winning streak, straight to Super Bowl XL.
  • His surname "Roethlisberger" (Swiss-German spelling: Röthlisberger) is of Swiss origins [12]
  • Was seen on Deal or no Deal on May 22, 2006.

Scouting Report


Passing Stats

year team league games ATT CMP PCT YDS YPA TD INT SKD SKY RAT
2004 PIT NFL 2 295 196 66.4 2621 8.88 17 11 30 213 98.1
2005 PIT NFL 13 268 168 62.7 2385 8.9 17 9 23 129 98.6
2006 PIT NFL 15 469 280 59.7 3513 7.49 18 23 46 67 75.4
3 year NFL career 30 1032 644 62.4 8519 8.25 52 43 99 409 87.9

Rushing Stats

year team league games ATT YDS AVG TD LNG
2004 PIT NFL 2 56 144 2.6 1 20
2005 PIT NFL 13 31 69 2.2 3 13
2006 PIT NFL 15 32 98 3.1 2 20
3 year NFL career 30 119 311 2.6 6 0

Fumble Recovery Stats

year team league games TOT OWR OPR YDS TD
2004 PIT NFL 2 2 0 0 0 0
2005 PIT NFL 13 2 0 0 0 0
2006 PIT NFL 15 5 0 0 0 0
3 year NFL career 30 9 0 0 0 0

Punting Stats

year team league games PT YDS LNG BLK TB I20 NET AVG
2004 PIT NFL 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2005 PIT NFL 13 2 72 39 0 1 1 0 36
2006 PIT NFL 15 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 year NFL career 30 2 72 39 0 1 1 0 36


See also


  • Won the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2004

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