For The Love Of The Game: The Ben Roethlisberger Story (Part I)…er-story-part-i

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.