The game of football has become pretty simple at the highest level. Basically, if you don’t have a ‘franchise’ quarterback, then you need one, and you’re going to be spending a lot of your time looking for one. It might cost you several first-round picks and many years of invested time wasted in the wrong prospects, but it’s virtually impossible today to win the Super Bowl without a quality starter, outside of a random flash in the pan event like Nick Foles, who happened to be in the right system at the right time against a rare bad New England Patriots defense that inexplicably benched one of its starting cornerbacks for the game.
For at least a couple more years, the Pittsburgh Steelers will count themselves among the blessed to have their franchise quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger, after receiving a major scare. He tore three tendons in his throwing elbow a little less than a year ago, but he says that he is in no pain while throwing for the first time in over a decade.
And what’s more, he feels good. He feels like he still has a lot more left in the tank. He is under contract for two more years, but for the first time in a while, it seems like he’s not really looking toward or thinking about the end of his career. And that has really provided peace of mind for the organization.
“The great thing about it is that his desire is to continue to play beyond 2020”, Kevin Colbert said on The Fan yesterday. “That’s very comforting to the organization to know that this guy still has something and he still has the desire to do it”.
‘Ben has a great desire to be a Super Bowl champion, and he has a great desire to do that more than the two that he has accomplished”, he added. “And I know that’s what drives him, more so than anything else. We’re appreciative of that. We know that that’s always going to be our basis and our starting point, and we’re much more comfortable having him than not having him”.
Truth be told, it’s been a damn long time since Roethlisberger was a Super Bowl champion. He was just five years into his career when he won his second title, seven when he made his third Super Bowl appearance and lost. Now he’s entering year 17, and he’s only made it to the conference finals once in the intervening years.
Assuming health, the assembled team that he has around him in 2020 offers perhaps the best chance that the Steelers have had to capture a title since 2011 or so. While they had a great team in 2017, going 13-3, the injury to Ryan Shazier decimated the defense.