It’s likely that every culture throughout human history that has had a written tradition of transferred knowledge has passed down some aphorism about not assuming that some anticipated positive outcome is an inevitability. Even regardless of whether or not you can control the result, it’s best not to operate under the assumption that it can’t not happen.
Now, there probably aren’t many people out there who buy the idea that former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has any chance of failing to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But it is understandable that he wouldn’t take it as such a given, especially after watching some of his former teammates have to wait their turn—and still watching others wait who may never get in.
“I did it for a long time”, the 40-year-old father of three told Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette of his playing career and of what he expects to come next. “I know doing it for a long time doesn’t mean that you get in, but, again, you look at the wins and losses. I think I did it at a high enough level for a long enough time that I think it would be pretty cool to get in. It is a special thing. That is one special place and a special accomplishment”.
It is the one jewel in the crown that Roethlisberger doesn’t have yet—or at least the last one that’s still attainable. He never won a Super Bowl MVP. He was never the league MVP. He was never the Offensive Player of the Year. Amazingly, he was never even All-Pro.
I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing there aren’t too many players in the All-Pro era who are in the Hall of Fame without having ever made an All-Pro list. Yet in spite of that, there has been no significant denial of Roethlisberger’s greatness—and after all, he played in the era of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning and Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers.
Even if he may have never been deemed one of the top two quarterbacks in any one season, he still has one hell of a resume. Two Super Bowl titles, three Super Bowl appearances, and 13 playoff wins, for starters. 64,088 passing yards. 418 touchdown passes. 41 fourth-quarter comebacks and 53 game-winning drives. 165 wins in the regular season. You can stack those numbers up against almost anybody.
And it’s not just longevity. He’s led the league in passing yards multiple times. He has four seasons of 30-plus passing touchdowns. And he’s won at least 10 games as the quarterback of record eight different times—noting that he’s only played a full season four times in his entire career.
He’s certainly a Hall of Fame player, but if I were him, I wouldn’t take it for granted, either. It’s just something you don’t do, and besides, he’s got a long wait ahead of him, anyway. Another four-plus years at least. No sense in jumping the gun.