Football trivia mavens, engage. If you want to know who is the youngest quarterback to ever win a Super Bowl, that distinction belongs to Ben Roethlisberger. In fact, at just 23, the green quarterback led the Pittsburgh Steelers to victory over the Seattle Seahawks in the 2006 Super Bowl. Wondering how many Super Bowls Ben Roethlisberger played in? In his 18-year NFL career, the QB appeared in three Super Bowls, winning two. While these stats are pretty impressive by any metric, they’re not necessarily at the top of “Big Ben’s” personal highlight reel. So, what were Roethlisberger’s favorite football memories? During a discussion at the Ignite 2022 conference at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, the gridiron star shared his top sporting moments.
A Life Well Played
As Ben Roethlisberger reflected at Ignite 2022, “Almost half my adult life I was playing football in Pittsburgh, which is great. I mean, I love it, I was so blessed to be drafted there.” He noted that his time playing for the Steelers was always memorable, but there are two moments in particular that stand out in his mind.
The first, he said, happened in his second year in the league as the Steelers prepared to make a Super Bowl run and needed to win the regular season’s final games in order to get into the playoffs. After pulling off an upset victory in Cincinnati — a game, he pointed out, “which we weren’t supposed to win,” — the team found themselves in Indianapolis, and Roethlisberger decided to hand Hall of Fame running back Jerome Bettis the ball at the goal line.
Roethlisberger recalled that, instead of making a pump fake, he made the call to tag Bettis instead. “I turned around to watch Jerome score, because I knew Jerome was going to score a touchdown. It was slow motion.” However, he continued, “As I turned, that ball just popped out and it was just kind of like, ‘Oh no. Oh no.’”
Not one to let his team’s dreams fall apart, Roethlisberger thought, “OK, I can get it.” And yet, he reminisced, “It bounced perfectly to one of their defensive backs … so I have no choice but to start running backward.” Luckily, he decided to outsmart rather than outrun the opposing team’s player. “I started running [trying to] slow him down.” Finally, thanks to his speed and judgment call, he said, “I was able to grab enough of the foot to get [him] on the ground.”
Roethlisberger acknowledged that “usually quarterbacks, their most favorite plays aren’t tackles, because usually it means you threw an interception and you’ve got to go tackle.” However, for this quarterback, ever the team player, the play was a standout because it landed the Steelers in the Super Bowl, which was played in Detroit that year, giving Bettis a chance to play the big game in his hometown.
”Which is what we all wanted to do,” said Roethlisberger, “because Jerome was so special, [and] that play was pretty special, obviously.”
Ben Roethlisberger in the Spotlight
While Ben Roethlisberger’s first favorite NFL moment came from making magic happen for a teammate, the athlete admits No. 2 reflects a moment of personal glory. This play occurred when he threw a winning touchdown pass to defeat Arizona in the 2009 Super Bowl. In that instant, Roethlisberger admitted that he felt like his childhood hero, San Francisco 49ers QB Joe Montana, throwing to legendary wide receiver Jerry Rice. Roethlisberger said, “To be able to live that, the same thing I was doing as a kid in the streets of Ohio, to do the same thing is unbelievable. Because to win a Super Bowl is what you go for. But to be able to throw a pass to win the Super Bowl, in my opinion, makes it one of the best passes in,” his storied career.