Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback “Big” Ben Roethlisberger has spent his entire 17-year career in the Steel City, fending off defenders and slinging touchdown passes. While his time in the NFL has been riddled with injuries, controversies, and scandals, he’s been able to overcome it all with grit, talent, and determination.
If you’re a Steelers fan, you probably know nearly everything about your beloved quarterback. For those of you who follow the NFL casually or are loyal to another franchise, the following five interesting facts about the future Hall of Famer may come as a surprise. Let’s take a look!
Approximately five months after being selected 11th overall in the 2004 NFL Draft, Roethlisberger stepped onto the field to relieve an injured Tommy Maddox during the Steelers’ second game of the season.
While Pittsburgh lost to the Ravens 30-13, Big Ben would go on to rattle off 14 straight wins, leading his team to the AFC Championship in his rookie season.. The following season, Roethlisberger led his team back to the playoffs and into the Super Bowl, where they defeated the Seattle Seahawks 21–10. At just 23 years old, Big Ben became the youngest quarterback to ever win a Super Bowl.
Big Ben is so popular in the city of Pittsburgh that local restaurants Peppi’s and Brentwood Express named their burgers in honor of their esteemed quarterback. The Roethlis-Burger is made with the following ingredients:
Peppi’s version includes ground beef, scrambled eggs, sausage, and provolone cheese, while Brentwood’s is made with bacon, ranch dressing, BBQ sauce, and both provolone and cheddar cheese. Whichever restaurant locals visit, they’re in for a tasty treat.
While Roethlisberger has made a name for himself playing football at the Miami of Ohio and in the NFL, he was quite the all-around athlete in high school. He lettered in three different sports prior to attending college: football, baseball, and basketball.
Not only did he excel in each sport, he was the captain of each team. Here’s the real kicker — he didn’t start playing quarterback until his senior year. During the first three years of high school, Big Ben was catching the ball as a wide receiver rather than hurling it downfield.
After Roethlisberger captured his first Vince Lombardi trophy, PLB Sports partnered with the young quarterback by naming a brand of beef jerky after the Super Bowl champion.
“Big Ben’s Beef Jerky” was sold for five years before PLB Sports president Ty Ballou cut ties with Roethlisberger amid sexual assault allegations in 2010. Despite the absence of criminal charges, Ballou said at the time there was just “too much negative stigma attached to this thing.”
In May 2010, Big Ben appeared on WWE RAW in what was billed as a matchup against Chris Jericho and The Big Show. As the two WWE stars trash-talked the Steelers quarterback, six members of Roethlisberger’s offensive line showed up to defend their leader.
The line got down into the traditional three-point stance to square off against their new foes. The Big Show and Jericho wisely opted out and exited the ring. The Steelers were then joined on the mat by Triple H and Shawn Michaels to the roar of the crowd.