When you grow up in Ohio and play your entire NFL career in Pittsburgh, you better come to expect playing in bad weather. This isn’t San Diego. We’re talking rain, snow, mud, wind, potentially all in the same game. That’s life in Western Pennsylvania.
On the latest episode of his Footbahlin’ podcast, Roethlisberger fielded several fan questions, one asking him about the worst weather game he’s ever played in. For Roethlisberger, that was game #2, start #1.
“The worst weather I ever played in was the hurricane,” Roethlisberger told co-host Spence on their Channel Seven YouTube channel. “My first start down in Miami. Got pushed back a day because of the hurricane. We were in the hotel the night before reading our playbooks. It was down in Miami so they had the dirt infield. So it was mud. It was buckets. You just couldn’t see anything. So trying to throw a ball was miserable.”
September 28th, 2004. Hurricane Jeanne welcomed Roethlisberger to South Beach with rain and winds. As Roethlisberger noted, the game was rescheduled from 1:00 PM to an 8:30 kickoff, though still only broadcast locally. Scoring was a monumental challenge with the two teams combining for just 16 points. But Pittsburgh came out on top 13-3, finding the end zone once in the fourth quarter when Roethlisberger hit Hines Ward from seven yards out, scrambling right before hitting him at the front-right pylon.
As that clip alone shows, the field was a mess and jerseys were more muddied than anything. It wasn’t a day for quarterbacks, or offenses in general, but the Steelers walked away with a victory and wouldn’t lose again until the AFC Championship Game.
Of course, it’s not the only Mud Bowl Roethlisberger played against the Dolphins. There was also a 3-0 mudder in 2007, highlighted by this funny moment of a Dolphins punt sticking straight in the ground, plugging like a golf ball.
Roethlisberger also mentioned a game from college played in extreme wind.
“The worst kind of environmental thing to play in…for a quarterback is wind…the one that sticks out the most to me is in college, we played at home against Marshall. 40 mile an hour winds steady,” he recalled. “The lights were [moving]. I played pretty well. Was just able to cut the ball through the wind.”
That game occurred in November of 2003, a 45-6 blowout victory by Miami (OH) over Marshall. That day, he went 18 of 29 for 282 yards and two touchdowns. An ESPN article noted that Roethlisberger wasn’t bothered by the wind. Outwardly, anyway.
“I was trying not to get blown away a few times,” he said after the game. “I told the receivers it’s not going to be pretty, but I’ll get it there. If you can’t throw a spiral in this wind, you’re in trouble.”
You can check out highlights of the game from here if you’re so inclined. It was moments like those that helped prepare him for Pittsburgh and showed he was capable of playing in any weather conditions, a must to be a Steeler.
You can watch the whole episode of Roethlisberger’s podcast below.