2020 Steelers Season Recall: Big Ben begins throwing again
Steel City Underground presents our 2020 Steelers Recall: a look back at Pittsburgh Steelers games and storylines from last season.
Steelers fans, as with most sports fans, have a short memory. Each offseason, I love to go back and revisit games, moments and key storylines from the entire previous season. As such, this year’s beginning to the yearly Steelers Season Recall series takes us back to an appropriate starting point.
Where were you on this very day one year ago?
I can guarantee Ben Roethlisberger knew. However, it was quite a journey to get to there going back to Week 2 of the 2019 season.
That was when Big Ben found a seat on the bench against the Seattle Seahawks. Fans were a bit perplexed as Pittsburgh came out of the tunnel to start the second half, only to see backup quarterback Mason Rudolph entering the game instead of the future Hall of Famer.
News broke shortly thereafter that Roethlisberger’s place on the sidelines would be secured for the remainder of the season, as an elbow injury would put him on injured reserve and he would not be able to return.
The 2019 season had peaks and valleys as Ben’s backups, Rudolph and an undrafted Devlin Hodges, took the reins and performed admirably, but eventually fell late in the season to miss the playoffs for a second-straight time with an 8-8 record.
Speculation ran rampant that Roethlisberger’s career was over… or that he was overweight… or any number of ideas that trans ponded into Ben no longer being under center for the Steelers in 2020. The team stayed by his side, patiently waiting through Roethlisberger’s rehab until this very day one year ago.
On February 22nd, 2020, the Pittsburgh Steelers released an official video of Big Ben throwing for the first time. The short clip instantly went viral and sent a buzz throughout Steelers Nation.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) February 22, 2020
While it was only one short clip of a single throw, the toss got everyone believing that Ben was going to make a comeback from an injury not much unlike the one that ended another Steelers quarterback’s career and a legendary one at that: Terry Bradshaw.
Bradshaw, among others, discussed if Roethlisberger could make the comeback, sharing everything from personal anecdotes to professional medical opinions. Yet, the one thing we could all see is that Big Ben was working hard at getting his arm back to full strength as well as not eating everything on the buffet too.
Yes, there were people who thought the mountain man beard and big winter coats had translated to Roethlisberger sitting on the couch eating Cheetos, but seeing him in a t-shirt and shorts served as another small glimpse into his regiment.
As we all know now, Roethlisberger returned and appeared to have very little rust. He was an early Comeback Player of the Year award candidate after leading the Steelers to an 11-0 record to start the 2020 season.
Currently, there are those who feel the organization should move on from Big Ben. However, precisely one year earlier there was no indication that this would be the case – and if the team stuck by his side through this process, I have little doubt they will still work with their franchise leader in nearly every major passing category into the future.