Kansas City (AP) – Basically, before moving to Kansas City, Ben Roethlisberger knew how his NFL career would end after 18 years.
“Probably the best team in football. We do not have a chance,” the 39-year-old Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback said before the playoff duel with the Kansas City Chiefs. He meant it sarcastically, adding “let’s just go there and have fun” – but the favorite on the other hand did not even allow him: 21:42 was the end result from the Steelers’ point of view.
Roethlisberger’s career ends with a crushing defeat. No one is in doubt that he will not play again next season. He did not do it himself either, it was the signals too ready for in the end. “It was an honor and a pleasure,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said.
Great distance to best players
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, his coach Andy Reid and other people from Chiefs made gestures after the final pass. “I just told him how much respect I have for him. I grew up watching him. He struggles to the last,” Mahomes said.
Probably no opposing quarterback could have made it so clear how big the gap between the NFL veteran and the best at this position is now. Roethlisberger had 215 yards and two touchdowns. Mahoms? Made five touchdown passes at 404 yards. Sportingly, the end is understandable – but the people of Pittsburgh will still miss him.
There is no other player like Roethlisberger in the NFL. The 1.96-meter-tall, bearded guy, who in all likelihood is celebrating his 40th birthday as a retired footballer on March 2, looks and moves like a bear now – and has played just as fearlessly throughout his career as a grizzly. Defends only a few inches away? A collision inevitable? Roethlisberger always kept the ball as long as necessary to find a solution in difficult situations. And he took a little care of his own health. There were sometimes quarrels with coaches.
Full portrait on ESPN
The American sports giant ESPN recently paid tribute to “Big Ben”, as he is called by most in the NFL circus, with a detailed portrait – and once again described the scene that most football fans have in mind: the pass in Super Bowl XLIII on February 1, 2009, when he found teammate Santonio Holmes in the far corner of the end zone and made it possible with a touchdown on the second title with the Steelers. Since then, however, Pittsburgh fans have been waiting for a return to the finals. That’s another reason Roethlisberger did not become the quarterback who can compete with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
Brady is now 44, has won the Super Bowl seven times and still has a chance to defend the title with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 31:15 against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday seemed effortless, the match was settled after the third quarter. The most successful player in NFL history has long since grown from comparisons with Roethlisberger – and although Brady was involved in sports scandals in his time with the Patriots, he has always maintained the image of the perfect son-in-law off the field. No one would say that about Roethlisberger, who has been accused of sexual abuse twice.
Nevertheless, the fans gave him an emotional goodbye at the last home game, 26:14 against the Cleveland Browns on January 3rd. Everything looked like the game with the Baltimore Ravens was Roehtlisberger’s last appearance on the NFL stage. A win and fortunate circumstances in other games allowed the Steelers to jump into the playoffs and the extra number against the Chiefs – which then became a painfully clear affair and should have removed the last doubt if any. For “Big Ben,” the time in the NFL is over.
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