View Full Version : Big Ben Sporting News Interview

09-29-2008, 02:55 PM
Really like Ben. I hope sooner or later he gets the recognition he deserves. He may not date Supermodels, but he does date Hollywood actresses.

http://www.sportingnews.com/yourturn/vi ... p?t=464701 (http://www.sportingnews.com/yourturn/viewtopic.php?t=464701)

Sporting News Conversation: Ben Roethlisberger

Posted: September 29, 2008
Here are excerpts from an interview with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger that originally ran in the current edition of Sporting News Magazine.

He doesn't date supermodels, like Tom Brady. You won't see him in a bunch of TV commercials, like Peyton Manning. When people argue about the best quarterbacks in the NFL, his name comes up infrequently -- outside of Pittsburgh, anyway.

All Ben Roethlisberger does is win.

Since he stepped in as the starting quarterback in the third game of his rookie season (2004), the Steelers have captured two AFC North titles, gone to the playoffs three times and won one championship. Roethlisberger won 46 of his first 64 starts (including the postseason), was the youngest starting quarterback (23) to win a Super Bowl and last season threw a franchise-record 32 touchdown passes.

A big man from a small town, Roethlisberger is a private person who prefers to keep the rest of us at arm's length. Recently, he sat down with Sporting News' Dennis Dillon to talk about football, the Steel City, James Bond and his biggest fears -- on the field and off.

SN: Any discussion about the best teams in the AFC usually involves the Patriots, Colts and Chargers. Why aren't the Steelers included in those conversations?
ROETHLISBERGER: We're going to be that underdog team that nobody really talks about. And we're fine with that. It's been like that every year since I've been here. Maybe we need to get a more high-profile quarterback. I don't know.

SN: On March 3, the day after you turned 26, you signed an eight-year, $102 million contract, of which $33.2 million was guaranteed. That's more money than 99 percent of the fans at a sold-out Heinz Field will make in a lifetime. Do you ever sit back and think about how unbelievable that is?
ROETHLISBERGER: It's a great honor to think that the Steelers put that much faith and trust in you to make you their guy. It makes you not want to let them down.

SN: You're a great admirer of Tom Brady's. What were your thoughts when you found out he was lost for the season with a knee injury?
ROETHLISBERGER: Tom is awesome. When we play (the Patriots), it's not going to be a bad thing. But it's one of those unfortunate things because you never want to see any player get hurt but especially one of his caliber who you respect. It's a shame. It really is. You hate to see it happen. My heart really goes out for him.

SN: Everybody seems to think Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are the best quarterbacks in the league. Everyone talks about Brett Favre as the ultimate tough guy and leader. But when your name comes up, a lot of people have the image of a quarterback who had a mediocre performance in the Super Bowl and the guy who crashed his motorcycle. You're tough, accurate, a leader, a guy who has compiled some great stats and won a Super Bowl. Don't you think you should be considered among the top quarterbacks?
ROETHLISBERGER: Well, I think Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are the elites of the league. I don't think I'm far behind them right now. I'm entering my fifth year, and those guys have both been in the league for a long time. Hopefully when I'm at that level, I'll be considered one of the elites. But to me it's not about individuals; it's about team. I just want people to know that I'm a competitor. I want to win at all costs, and I'm going to sacrifice my body, if need be, to win the game.

SN: You're extremely mobile for a 6-5, 241-pound quarterback. Is that mobility something you've developed?
ROETHLISBERGER: I've always had it. I've always been a mobile guy. I've always ran around. I guess from playing multiple sports -- I've always been a big basketball guy, I played baseball -- that all kind of ties in together.

SN: The Steelers never would have gotten to [Super Bowl 40] were it not for your game saving tackle of Colts cornerback Nick Harper, who recovered Jerome Bettis' fumble at the goal line in a playoff game and looked like he was going to return it for a touchdown. What do you remember about that play?
ROETHLISBERGER: I remember thinking, No way. I can't believe he fumbled. I didn't carry out my fake, and I was right there. When I saw (Harper) pick up the ball, I thought, There's no way that Jerome can go out this way. You've got to do something. That actually went through my mind as I was running backward. I was trying to outsmart him because he was probably a better athlete. It was like, Set him up, set him up. OK, now's my chance. So I just had to dive for him and grab hold of whatever I could. As soon as (Bettis) fumbled, I knew I was the fastest guy on the field on our team (the Steelers were in their Jumbo set). So I knew had to do something -- just slow him down and hope that a tight end or someone could get there.

SN: You could live anywhere you want, but you choose to live in Pittsburgh year-round. Why is that?
ROETHLISBERGER: Because it's home. It's where the fans are. It's where my job is. Don't get me wrong; I like to get away and travel, but this is where my home is. I want to be connected to the fans and the people and the city. Pittsburgh is down-to-earth. It's a very loving, helping community. They go above and beyond to really help each other out, and I like that.

SN: Ohio State coach John Cooper came in late during the recruiting process and offered you a scholarship. Were you tempted to take it?
ROETHLISBERGER: There was some talk of them making me a tight end. I had played receiver as a junior, so they thought I might be able to play a little tight end. I was like, "No, I want to play quarterback." I went on an unofficial visit there to just watch practice, and John Cooper -- you would have thought I was the best thing since sliced bread. It was like, "You're the man" and this and that. A week later, I saw him at the airport in Columbus -- I was flying to Duke on my first official visit -- and he didn't know who I was. I didn't expect him to keep acting all excited, but at least acknowledge me if I say hello.

SN: You ended up going to Miami of Ohio. How did that happen?
ROETHLISBERGER: The first game I played as a high school senior, I threw four or five touchdowns and they offered me (a scholarship) right away. From there, I kept piling up the numbers. All of a sudden, more teams starting coming after me. But I really liked Coach (Terry) Hoeppner, the program at Miami, the education I could get, the chance to play four years. It just felt like it was going to be the right fit for me. Plus I like loyalty. They were the first ones to offer me, and I stuck with them.

SN: You became very close to Terry Hoeppner, who died in June 2007 after a lengthy battle with cancer. That had to be a sad time for you. Was it like losing a family member?
ROETHLISBERGER: It was extremely tough. He was literally a second father to me.

SN: Do you still think about him a lot?
ROETHLISBERGER: Before every game, I say a prayer and tell him to sit back and enjoy the show.

SN: Less than two full games into your NFL career, you took over as the Steelers' quarterback because of an injury to Tommy Maddox. Some of your teammates then -- (offensive lineman) Alan Faneca, in particular -- expressed skepticism about your ability to take over and lead the offense. How did that make you feel?
ROETHLISBERGER: He had every right to say that because as the quarterback you're the leader of the offense. And a young guy really doesn't know too much as a rookie, so it's tough. He had every right to feel that way and say those things. I didn't fault him for it.

SN: When did you earn the full trust and confidence of the other players on offense?
ROETHLISBERGER: It's hard to say if there was one particular moment. It was a matter of just growing and learning. I think last year probably was a big year for us and for me. I felt more comfortable than I ever had before in our offense. Even though it was the first year, I felt very comfortable with what (coordinator) Bruce Arians was doing, his plan and the work I put in. Understanding what the plan is, him having confidence in me, and me in him, and the players around each other.

SN: If I'm a fantasy football player, why should I pick you for my team?
ROETHLISBERGER: I wouldn't pick me because we run the ball a lot.

SN: Two and a half years ago, you had what could have been a life-ending accident while riding your motorcycle. What do you remember from that experience?
ROETHLISBERGER: I just remember that it was so close to losing your life. And just appreciating the small things in life and thanking the Lord every day for giving me life and an opportunity and not taking anything for granted.

SN: How often do you think about the accident?
ROETHLISBERGER: I really don't until someone brings it up. You'd be surprised how often I hear something about it.

SN: Do you still ride motorcycles?

SN: What's the biggest misperception fans have of Ben Roethlisberger?
ROETHLISBERGER: Sometimes people think that because I'm a quiet, internal person and really don't let myself go until you get to know me, they take that as me being stuck up or thinking I'm better than everybody else. And really that's just my type of personality. I'm a quiet person, and I'm not going to let just anybody into my life and know who I am.

SN: Are you guarded?
ROETHLISBERGER: Absolutely. You have to be.

SN: Are you a Steeler for life? Can you imagine ever playing for another NFL team?
ROETHLISBERGER: I wouldn't want to. I really want to be one of those guys who plays for one team his whole career. That's always been my goal. If I have my way, I'd like to keep it that way. Obviously, I can only do so much to control that, but I'd love to wear the black and gold forever.

09-29-2008, 03:34 PM
I'd love to wear the black and gold forever.

Yeah, baby...yeah.