9 Mar

Posted by Tyler Dunn, March 9th 2012, 3:14 pm EST

Ben Roethlisberger is one of pro football’s most polarizing figures.

A two time Super Bowl champion, he is undoubtedly one of the all-time greats to play the position.

But he just turned that oh-so publicized age of 30 years old. And this particular birthday is one which brings about much speculation.

30, although hardly different from 29, is considered a milestone. Many feel it signifies that a player has more quality years behind him than ahead.

But is this assumption fair?

In the case of Big Ben, yes and no.

30 isn’t that old for a quarterback. But most players primes occur between age 25 and 28; a time when they have a number of years under the belt, but aren’t yet degrading physically.

It is starting to seem like Roethlisberger is beginning to experience that degradation – he rarely makes it to the bye week healthy.

Just because a player is ‘past his prime’ does not necessarily mean that the best of his career is in the rear view. #7 could very well have a few Super Bowls left in him.

But it does mean some things need to change.

Ben needs to be more conscious of his body. Everything from conditioning, diet, and play-style need to be improved for the latter portion of his career.

Being big is great. But being out of shape isn’t. Roethlisberger isn’t the spitting image of Jared Lorenzen-2012 (Google him if you haven’t had the pleasure of watching him dominate the UIFL lately) but his condition needs a tune up.

In addition to improving his physical state, more fat could be trimmed from his on-field decision making.

The way Ben shrugs off defenders to create big plays is fantastic. However, there is something to be said for surrendering today so you live to fight tomorrow.

If Roethlisberger made just slight improvements to the way he operates in the pocket, he could greatly decrease the amount of afflictions he suffers. Throwing the check down once in a while, preferably prior to Haloti Ngata dangling around his ankles, would not only be beneficial to Ben’s health but would also bolster the Steelers offense.

Just throwing the ball away from time to time wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

Imagine a motivated, in-shape version of Roethlisberger who makes quicker decisions. Seriously – close your eyes and imagine that.

Efficiency paired with Ben’s clutch play making ability would transform him into a force not seen before on the football field (see 2011 week five vs. Tennessee).

For Steelers fans, maybe that dream will never become reality. But if Ben were to make these adjustments… It would be quite some time before anyone would be commenting on Roethlisberger being ‘past his prime’.




  1. WHAT IF: STEELERS TRADED BIG BEN « Pittsburgh Football Report - March 18, 2012

    […] Ben just turned 30. That’s not old – but is old enough to question whether or not he is past his prime. Should teams trade away the future for a player who is that old? Probably not. But as we see […]

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