Ben Roethlisberger’s career didn’t exactly end how he would’ve liked. The only points scored by his team for the first 3.5 quarters came from the defense.
But the January 16 Wild Card playoff game won’t be remembered as the one where the Pittsburgh Steelers got blown out 42-21 by the Kansas City Chiefs. Instead, it’ll be remembered as the final game of Ben Roethlisberger‘s storied Hall of Fame career.
Roethlisberger’s night ended going 29-for-44 on 215 passing yards and two touchdowns.
After the game, NBC Sunday Night Football sideline reporter Michele Tafoya caught up with Chief’s quarterback Patrick Mahomes and asked what they discussed postgame at midfield.
“I just told him I have so much respect for him,” Mahomes shared. “I watched him growing up and the way he plays the game, he competes until the very end. He did that this whole entire season. Who knows what the future is, but it was great to be here and witness him.”
Passing the Torch
Patrick Mahomes was just 11 years old when Ben Roethlisberger was selected 11th overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2004 NFL draft. Roethlisberger was the NFL’s future.
By the time Mahomes started his first game in 2017, Roethlisberger had thrown for over 45,000 yards and 300 touchdowns (Pro Football Reference). He’d been to three Super Bowls and won two of them. But now, five years into his pro football career, Mahomes is the future of the NFL.
Ben Roethlisberger’s Legacy
Tafoya asked players and coaches from the Steelers and Chiefs to describe Ben Roethlisberger’s legacy in three words. The Chiefs used all-time great, gutsy, strong, leader and smart, but Hall of Famer was the most used term. The Steelers camp described Roethlisberger as loyal, gritty and authentic, while toughness was the top descriptive word. Common words from both teams were toughness, clutch and competitor.
Though he has yet to officially announce his retirement, Ben Roethlisberger started celebrating by re-tweeting tweets from players, media and fans the day after his final game.
Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame quarterback wrote: “CONGRATULATIONS my man! What a career! Steeler Nation and the NFL will miss you! Enjoy your family, and expanding God’s Kingdom LOVE YOU brother! The snowmobiles are ready for you!!”
Russell Wilson, who’s been bandied about as the Steelers next quarterback, also took to Twitter to post congrats.
From Steelers backup quarterback Josh Dobbs: “Congrats Ben on a legendary 18-yr career, 2 Rings, and never having had a losing season. It’s been an honor to be front row for a portion of it. Best wishes for you, Ashley and the kids. God Bless!#HallOfFameBound
Ben Roethlisberger also re-tweeted messages from Steelers media members:
Steelers.com writer Teresa Varley wrote: “Thank you, Ben. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.”
KDKA’s Bob Pompeani wrote, “I think all #Steelers fans are now feeling reflective and full of gratitude for Ben Roethlisberger on his Hall of Fame playing career.. 3 Super Bowl appearances, 2 Super Bowl wins and several plays and memories that will last a lifetime..
From Steelers Nation:
“Thank you @_BigBen7 for 18 great years. Some know no other, others remember the ones before you, but there was none like you. #SteelersNation will miss you and will always be grateful for you and what you brought to this city and team.” #cantonbound
“There’s a lot of greatness in this picture Wish I could give @_BigBen7 a congrats and a thank you for the many great memories! Thank you good sir from the bottom of my heart. Enjoy your well earned retirement.” #HereWeGo #CantonAwaits
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