Big Ben’s Return to the Steelers. What Will the Impact Be?

Written By Colton DeBiase

On Sept.ember 16, 2019, it was announced that long-time Steelers Quarterback and two-time Super Bowl Champion “Big” Ben Roethlisberger would have to miss the remainder of the 2019-2020 season because he needed surgery on his right elbow after leaving a game against the Seattle Seahawks. After this was announced, members of the national sports media and fans alike said it was time for Use his last name Ben to hang up his cleats for good. 

All the chaos surrounding Roethlisberger did not stop him. Two nights ago he returned for his first game since that injury against the New York Giants on Primetime. This article will be released after the game, and I am writing this on a Monday afternoon deadline. Therefore, I will not be able to get into the specifics on the night Big Ben and the Steelers had during the game and what it could mean for the rest of the season. 

However, I want to talk about the impact Big Ben’s return will have on the Steelers, regardless of the score on Monday night. We must discuss last year’s season first. The Steelers went 8-8 and missed the playoffs for the second year in a row. There was a revolving door at quarterback between Mason Rudolph, who was a backup to Ben during the 2018-2019 season, and an undrafted rookie free agent named Devlin “Duck” Hodges, who was loved by Steeler fans. The Steelers had a chance to make the playoffs without Ben. That was due to an improved defense with players such as Cam Heyward and Minkah Fitzpatrick. However, a few losses down the stretch resulted in the Steelers’ fate. 

Now, with Roethlisberger confident and healthy, it begs the question of if his return will genuinely have an impact on the Steelers’ playoff chances. My answer is yes. 

When I was an analyst last year on an episode of Pioneer Sideline, one of the sports-related shows on U-View, we debated whether we saw the last of Roethlisberger in his prime. I made a bold statement at the time and said he is going to come back better than ever, and I stand by that comment. 

During the off-season and the past couple of weeks, I have sensed a significant amount of confidence that he can lead this team to the Super Bowl this year. I know that is what he and his teammates are thinking, and that is what they are expecting. However, it will not be easy as the Steelers would have to get past teams such as their division rival, the Baltimore Ravens. Nevertheless, I believe the Steelers will be up to the challenge with a dominant defense coming back along with other offensive weapons such as JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson.

This season will be weighed by fans and the national media on how Roethlisberger will play. Especially since we only saw him in one full game without his former star receiver Antonio Brown on the roster. Will he come back better than ever like I predicted and lead this franchise to its ninth Super Bowl appearance? Or will this be the end of the line for Number 7, which will most likely end with a bust at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio? I am curious to see how these questions will be viewed after seeing Ben’s first performance of the season. I am sure many people will have their minds made up when this column is released on Wednesday, Sept.ember 16, 2020, two days after this column was written and Ben’s first game back in a Steelers uniform in over a year.