Ben Roethlisberger is beloved by Steelers fans for many different reasons. His rugged playing style is certainly one of them, as well as the fact that he made Pittsburgh his home while spending his entire career with the franchise.
Winning games -- and two Super Bowls -- is near the top of the list of reasons why Steelers fans revere Roethlisberger. Despite having some very good teams, the Steelers' Super Bowl drought had reached 24 years by the time the franchise selected Roethlisberger in the 2004 NFL Draft. A 6-10 outfit the previous season, the Steelers went 15-1 during Roethlisberger's rookie season. They became the first six-seed to win the Super Bowl one year later and became the first franchise to win six Vince Lombardi trophies in 2008.
The Steelers won another AFC title in 2010 as Roethlisberger became the 10th quarterback to make three Super Bowl starts. Since their last Super Bowl trip, the Steelers have won four AFC North division titles (moving Roethlisberger's tally to eight) and have made the playoffs six times with a trip to the AFC Championship Game in 2016. The Steelers have also extended their run of 18 non-losing seasons, a streak that has spanned Roethlisberger's entire career.
As integral as Roethlisberger has been in that success, football is a team sport, after all, and Roethlisberger has been surrounded with some of the NFL's best talent over the past 18 seasons. Three of his teammates have already been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, an honor Roethlisberger will likely receive as soon as he is eligible.
With Roethlisberger putting the finishing touches on his time with the Steelers, here's a look at the Steelers' All-Big Ben Era Team that spans from 2004-21.
QB Ben Roethlisberger
RB Jerome Bettis
Willie Parker/Najee Harris
|FB Roosevelt Nix|
WR Hines Ward
TE Heath Miller
LG Alan Faneca
RT Max Starks
A dependable backup for eight seasons, Batch won two-thirds of his starts with the Steelers. At running back, Roethlisberger has his choice between a Hall of Famer (Bettis), a two-time All-Pro (Bell), a two-time Super Bowl champion (Parker) and the player who just broke Bell and Franco Harris' franchise rookie records (Harris).
Roethlisberger's receivers are just as lethal. He could throw to former Super Bowl MVP (Ward), the recipient of one of the greatest catches in Super Bowl history (Holmes), a four-time All-Pro (Brown), a formidable deep threat (Wallace) and the versatile Smith-Schuster. While he hasn't played with him for very long, Roethlisberger has developed a quick rapport with Johnson, who this season became his fifth 1,000-yard receiver. Rest assured that Roethlisberger won't forget about his tight ends, led by Miller, who is regarded as the greatest tight end in franchise history.
Anchoring the Steelers offensive line is Faneca, who this past summer received a Hall of Fame jacket and bronze bust. The line is also led by a potential future Hall of Famer in Pouncey, who carried on the lineage of great Pittsburgh centers. The line also includes a two-time Pro Bowler in Villanueva and one of the 2010s best guards in DeCastro, a six-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro.
LDE Cam Heyward
NT Casey Hampton
RDE Brett Keisel
LOLB T.J. Watt
IILB James Farrior
RILB Larry Foote
Lawrence Timmons/Vince Williams
ROLB James Harrison
LCB Joe Haden
RCB Ike Taylor
Mike Hilton/Deshea Townsend
SS Troy Polamalu
And you thought the offense was loaded. Like the offense, this unit already has a Hall of Famer in Polamalu, who like Faneca was inducted this past summer. The unit includes the franchise's all-time career sack leader (Harrison) and the player who recently broke his single-season sack record (Watt). Watt may soon join Polamalu and Harrison as a Defensive Player of the Year winner.
Polamalu is flanked in the secondary by Fitzpatrick, whose arrival in 2019 immediately changed the complexion of the defense. You could say the same about Haden's arrival in 2017, as the Steelers' pass defense went from good to great. Taylor was a starter on all three of Roethlisberger's Super Bowl teams, while "Big Play" William Gay tied Rod Woodson's franchise record by returning five consecutive interceptions for touchdowns.
The defensive lined is blended with past and present players. Casey "Big Snack" Hampton presides over a defensive line that also features Heyward, a Pro Bowler each of the past five years. The unit also includes two-time Super Bowl champions in Keisel and Smith.
|P Jordan Berry|
LS Greg Warren
PR Antonio Brown
Antwaan Randle El
|KR Antwaan Randle El||Antonio Brown|
A 2017 Pro Bowler, Boswell is the most accurate kicker in franchise history. Brown returned four punts and one kickoff for scores during his nine years in Pittsburgh. A versatile player who threw the game-clinching touchdown in Super Bowl XL, Randel El also returned four punts and one kickoff for touchdowns during his time with the Steelers.