Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement has been delayed thanks to the Las Vegas Raiders deciding to go for the win instead of a tie. If the game ended in a tie, the Pittsburgh Steelers would’ve been cropped out of the playoff picture, and Roethlisberger would be writing his retirement speech.
Not being in control of your own destiny — as they certainly were this time around — is a tough position for any team. But the Steelers and their fans are used to a bit of distress — a game just wouldn’t be right without some nail-biting and heart-racing. After all, eight of Pittsburgh’s nine wins this season were by 10 points or less, and most came down to the final seconds.
With a narrow Week 18 victory over the Baltimore Ravens and the Jacksonville Jaguars shocking win over the Indianapolis Colts, the Pittsburgh Steelers playoff hopes stayed alive. Roethlisberger and his team’s chance to clinch a playoff berth came down to a win by the Raiders or Chargers that Sunday night, and the result was nearly neither.
Big Ben’s Big Reaction
Per Tim Benz of TribLive, Roethlisberger was on a FaceTime call with musicians TobyMac and Bart Millard as the nerve-racking game drew to a close. “Sadly, there was no audio track to the post,” Benz wrote. “But this is a case where the pictures really do tell a thousand words.”
TobyMac posted the video and tweeted: “When you decide to watch the end of the Sunday night game on Facetime with Bart & your homie…..a game that determines whether or not he gets in the playoffs and you don’t realize you’re 15 seconds ahead of him on the outcome.”
There was a 15-second delay in the feed Roethlisberger was watching, and nobody realized until Raiders’ Daniel Carlson kicked the game-winning field goal. TobyMac raved, and Roethlisberger appeared happily amazed. “WHAT? WHAT?” you can see Roethlisberger mouthing.
TobyMac turned his phone to show the Raiders celebrating as Roethlisberger cheered, continuing to keep his eye on the game’s outcome. Once it came, Roethlisberger’s reaction was one of pure, unadulterated joy. His career lived to see another game.
Mike Tomlin’s Not-So-Big Reaction
On the other hand, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin didn’t know about the outcome of the game until the next morning.
“I missed the end of it,” Tomlin admitted in a January 11 press conference. “I dozed off. I knew I had a workday waiting on me. I assumed that I had a workday waiting on me. I think at one point [Las Vegas] was up by 15, and that number made you somewhat comfortable. I’m probably better off not having watched it. So, it’s probably not as exciting of a description as you would have hoped.”
Tomlin would come to find out that the workday was to begin preparation for the Kansas City Chiefs. The Steelers last go-round in Missouri was not a favorable one. Not so long ago, in Week 16, Pittsburgh was thoroughly walloped 36-10 by the home team. “They smashed us so definitively,” Tomlin said.
In the wild-card round on Sunday Night Football, the Steelers get a chance to redeem themselves. Hopefully, they can learn from their mistakes.