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Ben Roethlisberger was born March 2, 1982, in Lima, Ohio. Nicknamed Big Ben, Roethlisberger played quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was drafted by the Steelers 11th overall in the 2004 NFL Draft.
Ben Roethlisberger earned the AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2005. He became the youngest Super Bowl-winning quarterback in NFL history, helping to lead the Steelers to a 21-10 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL at the age of 23. He was named to his first Pro Bowl in 2007. He currently ranks 4th all-time in NFL passer rating with a 93.0, and 5th all-time in Yards Per Attempt with a 8.08 average (min. 1500 attempts).
On August 4, 2004 Roethlisberger signed a six-year contract worth $22.26 million in salaries and bonuses, with an additional $17.73 million available via incentives. He was touted by former Steelers coach Bill Cowher in a press conference as a franchise quarterback.
On March 3, 2008, the Pittsburgh Steelers and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger agreed to an eight-year, $102 million contract. Roethlisberger had two years left on the deal he signed with the team as the 11th overall pick in the 2004 NFL draft. He has stated that he wants to retire as a Steeler.
Roethlisberger did not immediately step in as the starting quarterback, for the Steelers. He was the #3 QB behind Tommy Maddox and Charlie Batch. When Batch was injured in preseason, however, Ben moved up to #2. Maddox started, and won, the season opener against the Raiders and started versus the Ravens. But after an ineffective outing and third quarter injury, Roethlisberger stepped in for his first NFL action. Despite spurring a mild comeback, the Steelers were down too much to win the game. This injury to Maddox changed the Steelers original plan for Roethlisberger, which was for him to sit on the bench or play very sparingly during the first season or two in order to learn the team's system. Instead he was starting the third game of the season.
As a rookie, he went 13–0 in the regular season (14–1 including playoffs) as a starting quarterback, helping the Steelers become the first AFC team to have 15 wins (2-1 under Maddox first two and last game, 13–0 with Roethlisberger) in a single season, surpassing former Steeler Mike Kruczek for the record for the best start by a rookie (6–0), and exceeding the mark for total wins as a rookie set by Chris Chandler and Joe Ferguson. On January 5, 2005 Roethlisberger was unanimously selected as the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press, the first quarterback in 34 years to be so honored.
One of Roethlisberger's biggest games was when he led the Steelers to a 34–20 victory over the defending Super Bowl champion and previously undefeated New England Patriots, ending their NFL-record 21-game winning streak. He completed 18 of his 24 pass attempts for 196 yards, 2 TDs and no turnovers. The week after that game the Steelers defeated the also previously undefeated Philadelphia Eagles 27-3. Roethlisberger was 11 of 18 for 183 yards, 2 TDs, 1 interception.
In his first nationally televised game on Sunday Night Football, he led the Steelers to a 17-16 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was near perfect on the night, completing 14 of 17 passes for 226 yards and 2 TDs. A spike to stop the clock on the game-winning field goal drive he led was the only thing preventing him from a 158.3 rating on the night. Jeff Reed's 37 yard FG in the final minute gave the Steelers and Roethlisberger their 10th straight win.
Two weeks later Roethlisberger faced off against the New York Giants and the #1 overall pick of the 2004 draft, Eli Manning. Roethlisberger outshined the QB that went 10 spots ahead of him in the draft, posting his first career 300 yard passing game. He completed 18 of 28 passes for 316 yards and a TD. He led his 5th game-winning drive of the season, capping a drive with a Jerome Bettis TD run for a 33-30 victory. Eli Manning threw an interception to seal the game for Pittsburgh.
In the divisional playoffs against the New York Jets, Roethlisberger threw two interceptions. One interception was returned for a touchdown, and the other was thrown with 2:03 left in the fourth quarter, which set up a potential game-winning field goal by Jets kicker Doug Brien. Brien missed the kick as time expired (his second missed kick in the last 2 minutes of the game), and forced the game into overtime. In overtime, Roethlisberger led the Steelers down the field and put them in position for the game-winning field goal, a 33-yard attempt that was made by Jeff Reed, sending the Steelers into the AFC Championship for the 4th time in 10 years.
On January 23, 2005 in the AFC Championship Game in Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger completed 14 of 24 pass attempts for 226 yards and 2 TDs, but he also threw 3 costly interceptions, one which was returned for a touchdown by Rodney Harrison. The Steelers lost the game to the eventual Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots by a score of 41-27.
In the 2005 regular season, the Steelers finished 11-5 and secured an AFC wild card spot, en route to victory in the Super Bowl, where the Steelers pulled off upsets at Indianapolis and Denver in the AFC playoffs in addition to wins over higher-seeds Cincinnati and Seattle. During the course of the regular season, Roethlisberger generally played well when healthy, but missed four games due to various knee injuries. During the regular season, the Steelers were 9-3 with Roethlisberger at quarterback, and 2-2 without him. He led the league in Yards Per Attempt with an 8.90, and finished 3rd in passer rating behind Peyton Manning and Carson Palmer with a 98.6.[
The Super Bowl run began on Sunday, January 8, 2006 as Roethlisberger helped lead the Steelers to a playoff win over the Cincinnati Bengals -- an AFC North rival that had beaten the Steelers by 7 points in the regular season, to win the division championship. The rematch featured two teams with identical records, having split their regular season series with each team winning on the road. Early in the game on Carson Palmer's first throw, a tackle by former Steeler Kimo von Oelhoffen resulted in Palmer's anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) being completely torn. The Bengals backup quarterback, Jon Kitna came in and led the Bengals to leads of 10–0 and 17–7. However, the 17–7 lead midway through the second quarter would be the last time in the 2005 postseason that the Steelers would trail an opponent by more than 3 points. After Kitna failed to produce the Steelers took advantage by taking the next 24 straight points, and the win in a 31–17 victory in Cincinnati.
Their second road win came on Sunday, January 15, 2006. Roethlisberger led the 6th-seeded Steelers against the Indianapolis Colts, the NFL's top team throughout the season and a heavy favorite to represent the AFC in Super Bowl XL. Roethlisberger threw for 197 yards and recorded a game-saving tackle on Colts' defensive back Nick Harper, who had just recovered a Jerome Bettis fumble with under two minutes to play in the game. The tackle saved the season for the Steelers. Pittsburgh led early, but had to survive a Colts comeback to win 21-18, after an errant call that the NFL later admitted was a mistake  overturned a Troy Polamalu interception that would have secured the game for the Steelers. Roethlisberger's tackle on Harper, dubbed by many as The Tackle II or The Immaculate Redemption, was compared by many to "The Immaculate Reception" back in 1972 when Franco Harris made a miraculous reception and scored the game-winning touchdown against the Oakland Raiders. The victory marked the first time a sixth-seeded NFL playoff team defeated the top-seeded team in playoff history.
On January 22, 2006, the Steelers defeated the Broncos 34-17 in Denver to advance to Super Bowl XL. Roethlisberger completed 21 of 29 passes for 275 yards, and threw two touchdown passes as well as scoring one himself on a four yard play-action bootleg. His run was the last touchdown of the game, and sealed the win for the Steelers.
After losing the 2005 AFC Championship Game, Roethlisberger convinced veteran running back Jerome Bettis to delay retirement, after a tearful promise to him that he would get Bettis to his first Super Bowl. He lived up to his promise. The Pittsburgh Steelers won Super Bowl XL 21–10 over the Seattle Seahawks in Detroit on February 5, 2006. Roethlisberger had one of the worst passing games of his career, completing just 9 of 21 passes for 123 yards and two interceptions; his passer rating of 22.6 was the lowest in Super Bowl history by a winning quarterback. Though he did convert eight different third down situations in the game to help the Steelers win, none of them bigger than his 37 yard pass to Super Bowl XL MVP Hines Ward on a 3rd and 28 that set up the Steelers' first TD (a 1 yd QB sneak by Ben on 3rd & goal). With the victory, Roethlisberger, at 23 years of age, became the youngest quarterback to win the Super Bowl, a record previously held by Tom Brady of the New England Patriots.
Roethlisberger opened up the 2008 season at home with a 38-17 victory over the Houston Texans. He completed 13 of 14 passes for a career-high 92.9 completion percentage (min. 10 attempts), and finished with 137 yards passing and 2 TD passes. Byron Leftwich took over in the 4th quarter when Ben was on the sideline with a shoulder injury.
In a week 2 match-up against the rival Cleveland Browns, Roethlisberger led the Steelers to a 10-6 victory and their 10th straight win over the Browns on a windy, rainy night in Cleveland. Ben completed 13 of 20 passes for 179 yards and a TD to Hines Ward. He also had his first pass reception of his career, a negative-7 yard completion to himself after a deflected pass in the 2nd quarter. With the win Roethlisberger improved to 10-0 as a starter in his home state of Ohio.
The following week Roethlisberger had one of the roughest games of his career. Behind a relentless pass rush by Philadelphia, he was sacked 8 times, fumbled twice, threw one interception, and was called for a safety in the 4th quarter. The Eagles won 15-6, and Roethlisberger did not finish the game as his throwing hand was injured. The following week, on Monday Night, Roethlisberger completed his 100th career touchdown pass, to Santonio Holmes.
The next week, on Sunday Night Football, Roethlisberger completed 26 out of 41 passes for a total of 309 yards and 3 TD passes against the Jacksonville Jaguars, which was the first Steeler win over Jacksonville since 2004 when Roethlisberger was a rookie. His 239 yards passing in the first half was a career high. After falling behind 21-20 in the 4th quarter, Roethlisberger directed the game-winning drive, passing for an 8 yard TD to Hines Ward to put the Steelers ahead. It was Ben's 15th career game-winning drive in the 4th quarter/overtime. Roethlisberger was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance. The Steelers went into their bye week with a 4-1 record and 1st place in the AFC North.
Off the bye, Roethlisberger passed for 216 yards and 2 TDs in a 38-10 rout of the Cincinnati Bengals. Roethlisberger was never sacked in the game; the first time he did that since 12/02/2007, also against the Bengals. It was the Steelers' 8th straight win in Cincinnati, and Ben was the QB for 6 of those games (it's his overall 11th win in 11 games in the state of Ohio).