Remember Ben Roethlisberger’s rookie season? You know, the one where the Steelers went 15-1 under the supervision of a freakishly athletic rookie quarterback? Is there anyone out there that thought he was going to be able to do that?
Or how about the two Super Bowls he's helped the Steelers win? The man is sheer greatness, no? Well, as with every athlete, he too has a life outside the NFL. Have you ever wondered why Roethlisberger always does the same thing after every touchdown he scores? To know the answer to that question, you have to know about his background. When he was 8 years old his mother, Ida, died after a car accident on her way to pick him up. Now, after every touchdown he points to the sky to remember his mother. The two NFL players he admired the most were John Elway and Joe Montana, he wears the number 7 due to John Elway, as he did every chance he got growing up playing sports. Some may not know this about Roethlisberger but growing up his best and his favorite sport was basketball, and he dreamed of becoming an NBA star. What luck for the members of Steelers Nation that he didn't. Not to mention the fact that he also excelled on the baseball field as well as the basketball court. He was only "mediocre" on the football field, playing back up quarterback for his first two seasons and then his junior year he rode the bench due to the coaches son playing quarterback. He decided to play wide receiver his junior year but kept dreaming of being the quarterback of the Findlay Trojans his senior year, a feat which he accomplished. Being a receiver he of course knew how to read defenses and knew just where the seams were, this proved to be a saving point, as well as the agility he gained through basketball allowed this huge (6'5) athlete to not only overpower rushers but also send them to the ground with a single cut move. Ever wonder why he's so good outside of the pocket and throwing on the run? He credits that to playing shortstop. Who knew? Baseball can actually help! He threw 6 touchdowns in his first high school start at the quarterback position, landing a full ride from Miami of Ohio. That's right, 1 game, 6 touchdowns and he was offered a full ride the very next day. That's incredible. Ben lead the Trojans to the second round of the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) playoffs, losing to Grove City in that round. On the year, he set two OHSAA records, the first in yards with 4,041 and the other in touchdowns with 54. Instead of playing basketball at the collegiate level, he decided to play quarterback. We'll examine his time at Miami of Ohio in the next article.