The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season is over, already eliminated from the postseason after suffering a 42-21 loss at the hands of Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. They just barely made the postseason with a 9-7-1 record and a little help from their friends.
This is an offseason of major change, with the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger, the possible retirement of general manager Kevin Colbert, and the decisions about the futures of many important players to be made, such as Joe Haden, Stephon Tuitt, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and others.
Aside from exploring their options at the quarterback position, the top global priority, once again, figures to be addressing the offensive line, which they did not do quite adequately enough a year ago. Dan Moore Jr. looks like he may have a future as a full-time starter, but Kendrick Green was clearly not ready. Chukwuma Okorafor is heading into free agency, as is Trai Turner.
These are the sorts of topics among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked. There is rarely a concrete answer, but this is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all their uncertainty.
Question: How likely would a Tom Brady retirement this offseason result in Ben Roethlisberger not being voted into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot?
Many players retire every single year. Usually, there are at least a few highly significant players. Sometimes, there are more than in other years, and that’s when we get into questions about the Hall of Fame and first-ballot candidacy.
Players are eligible to be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame five years after their retirement. That means anybody who retires in the same offseason will be eligible for the first time, at the same time, five years later.
Ben Roethlisberger already announced his retirement. It has already been reported that Tom Brady plans to retire, though when the story leaked, he refuted the notion that he has already made up his mind—whether he actually has or not—in response to the leak.
We also know that it’s not incredibly common for two players of the same position among modern-era candidates. When LaDainian Tomlinson, Curtis Martin, and Jerome Bettis all retired in the same offseason, the latter two had to wait their turn, Bettis for two years, for example.
But it does happen. In 2018, for example, both Randy Moss and Terrell Owens were voted in at the same time. How likely is it that both Brady and Roethlisberger would be voted in first-ballot together in 2027? According to Gerry Dulac, only twice have a pair of first-ballot quarterbacks gone in together, in 2005 with Steve Young and Dan Marino, and 2006 with Troy Aikman and Warren Moon. But how common is it for two Hall of Fame-worthy quarterbacks to retire in the same offseason?
And the big question, of course, is who else will be eligible by then? We have to see who else might retire this offseason. Imagine if Aaron Rodgers retires, too, and Rob Gronkowski, and Adrian Peterson, and J.J. Watt. That would be one of the greatest Hall of Fame classes of all time. Of course, they’re very unlikely to retire all at the same time. But there could also be holdovers who bump somebody to the next year.