You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
Consider Ben Roethlisberger an embodiment of that phrase.
It’s true, and actually an overlooked fact, that Roethlisberger has evolved his game over the years. More than what Tom Brady or Peyton Manning ever did. They generally played the same way, just better, from their first game on. Roethlisberger has gone from the backyard quarterback, very Brett Favre-esque, to a much more methodical, precise player.
But that doesn’t mean he’s entirely shed himself of his free-wheeling, extend-the-play-at-all-costs nature. At 34 years old, that’s never changing.
That’s what Jeremy Fowler wrote out today. Definitely check out his whole article over on ESPN.com but here’s the quote from #7 himself.
“Maybe I need to [change my game], but I can’t get myself to do it.”
Now that sounds like a vintage Roethlisberger channeling his inner Favre. Could change, maybe should change, won’t change.
He missed the Patriots’ game after missing four contests last year and playing most of 2015 with injury, recovering from an MCL injury, a foot sprain, and shoulder injuries throughout the season. It was the injury bug returning after he started every game in 2013 and 2014.
To be fair, Roethlisberger’s MCL injury wasn’t a byproduct of his never-say-die attitude and the shoulder injury was partially to blame from Vontaze Burfict driving him into the ground. The torn meniscus suffered against the Miami Dolphins was him merely trying to scramble out of the pocket, not throw defenders off or wrestle himself away from Terrell Suggs.
But Roethlisberger’s style is highly unlikely to create the longevity Peyton Manning had or what a 39 year old Tom Brady is experiencing. And someone like Favre, an improbable ironman, is a once in a generation type outcome.
That doesn’t mean Roethlisberger is in his final year. Far from it. And what makes him stubborn makes him great. It’s hard to argue with the results.