On Episode 10 of his Footbahlin’ podcast, former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said that a broken nose he suffered in a 2010 game against the Baltimore Ravens in was one of the worst injuries he ever had to play through. On Episode 23, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said Roethlisberger coming to the sidelines after a timeout, with his nose clearly broken, is his favorite Roethlisberger story.
“When he got his nose broken in Baltimore, his nose was an absolute mess,” Tomlin said. “He comes to the sideline during the timeout, he’s got gauze hanging out of it, it’s not anywhere close to the center of his face. In 2023, he would’ve been out of the game, just from the look of it. He looks around at the group, and he’s like ‘What, is it a mess?’ or he said something like ‘how do I look?’ and nobody answered. I couldn’t look at him. That was one of the moments as a coach you pride yourself like, ‘Yeah, I let my son do that.’ If that my son and his nose was a mess, I don’t know man.”
Despite the grotesque injury, the Steelers pulled out the win in what ended up a crucial game as it gave the Steelers the AFC North tiebreaker over the Ravens in 2010.
While the injury looked bad, a broken nose is something that guys used to play through all the time and still do in other sports. In basketball, players usually wear a mask to prevent their nose from being hit, and a facemask in football pretty much has the same effect. While the injury may have looked so gross no one could even look at Roethlisberger, it fortunately wasn’t anything too serious.
After hearing Roethlisberger’s perspective on the injury a few months back, it’s fun to now hear Tomlin’s perspective as someone who was close to the situation and clearly witnessed what Roethlisberger did when he went to the locker room at halftime and said he could “smell around a corner.” Tomlin clearly got a kick out of the interaction, enough to make it his favorite Roethlisberger story. I’m not sure that would be the case if the Steelers had not gotten the win.