Steelers legend Ben Roethlisberger announces retirement

PITTSBURGH — In just his second season, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger led his team to a 21-10 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL. In that win, he became the youngest Super Bowl-winning quarterback in NFL history.

It was at that point Steelers fans realized: Roethlisberger was good, really good. He’s played his way into numerous franchise and league record books over the span of his 18-year NFL career.

Roethlisberger, 39, announced he’s retiring from the game, going out as arguably the best quarterback in Steelers history. He made the announcement in the following tweet:

Legendary coach Bill Cowher called him a franchise player when he was drafted.

Drafted in 2004, the 6-foot, 5-inch, 240-pound quarterback, affectionately dubbed “Big Ben,” played his college ball at Miami (Ohio). In his first NFL season, he was third on the depth chart behind starter Tommy Maddox and backup Charlie Batch. Batch was injured in the preseason, moving Roethlisberger up to the backup position. In just the second game of the season, Roethlisberger would be asked to step up again, this time after Maddox went down with an injury. Roethlisberger went on to lead the Steelers to the AFC Championship Game later that season, where he squared off for the first time against the eventual Super Bowl winner, the Tom Brady-led New England Patriots.

From that incredible first season, Roethlisberger would go on to play in three Super Bowls, winning two of them. He finishes his career:

  • Seventh all-time in NFL career passing yards.
  • 12th all-time in passer rating.
  • Tied for ninth in yards per attempt.
  • Tied for 12th in completion percentage among QBs with a minimum of 1,500 career attempts.
  • Fourth-highest career winning percentage as a starter in the regular season, among QBs with a minimum of 100 starts.
  • One of six QBs in NFL history to have beaten 31 of 32 NFL teams.
  • Most career 500-yard passing games (4).
  • Most completions in a regular or postseason game (47).
  • Most passing yards in a relief appearance.
  • Most passing yards in consecutive postseason games (970).
  • Most touchdown passes in a two-game span.
  • The only player with back-to-back games with at least six touchdown passes.

Roethlisberger was voted to the Pro Bowl six times, won the NFL Rookie of the Year award in his first season and has been the NFL passing yards leader twice.

He holds the Steelers record for most passing yards, with more than double the number of yards as Terry Bradshaw, the second-place holder. Roethlisberger also holds the franchise record for most passing touchdowns.

Off the field

Pittsburghers and Steelers fans probably remember several major off-the-field events with Roethlisberger during his time here as well.

In June 2006, he crashed a motorcycle at the intersection of the Armstrong Tunnel and Second Avenue near downtown Pittsburgh. He was not wearing a helmet and did not have a valid motorcycle license at the time, only an expired temporary permit.

In the incident, a vehicle pulled out in front of Roethlisberger, causing him to go over the handlebars and shatter the windshield with his head. He required seven hours of surgery, but made a full recovery prior to the start of the season.

In July 2009, an executive casino host from Harrah’s Lake Tahoe filed a civil suit against Roethlisberger accusing him of sexual assault. He was there for a celebrity golf tournament when a woman said Roethlisberger grabbed and kissed her. The suit was ended in December 2011 when the parties agreed to a settlement.

Police in Milledgeville, Georgia, opened an investigation into Roethlisberger in March 2010 after a female college student accused him of sexual assault. She told investigators it happened inside the bathroom at a club. More than a month later, the district attorney announced that Roethlisberger would not be charged because his office could not “prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.” The accuser later dropped criminal charges. The incident and investigation led to a six-game suspension for Roethlisberger at the start of the 2010 season that was later reduced to four games.

Additionally, there are numerous sandwiches named after Roethlisberger, he has appeared on various local and national talk shows, he’s hosted WWE Raw and made a cameo appearance in The Dark Knight Rises.