All 32 teams in the NFL have one goal in common, which is to be standing on a podium on the first Sunday of February, surrounded by confetti and talking to commissioner Roger Goodell while hoisting the coveted Lombardi trophy. The pinnacle of all football players is to some day reach this mountain top. Many have tried to climb, few have climbed the mountain, and even less have actually stood on the mountain top. Terry Bradshaw has been blessed enough to see this view, four times to be exact. Bradshaw was the quarterback of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers squad that utterly dominated the decade, to say the least. Winning four championships in 10 years, Bradshaw has never lost when his team took a trip to the big game. The same cannot be said of Ben Roethlisberger, however. Ben has been to three Super Bowls, winning two with his only loss coming at the hands of Aaron Rodgers and his Green Bay Packers team in 2010. While two championship rings would be plenty for most quarterbacks that have played in the league, the now 10 year veteran is setting some big goals for himself.
“I want to pass Terry Bradshaw by getting more Super Bowl wins.” said Ben, while being asked what motivates him during his visit to London to promote the September 29th match up against the Minnesota Vikings. “That’s our expectations in Pittsburgh.” While those statements are not quite controversial, an interesting debate arises. Will Ben in fact pass Bradshaw in championships?
Defense wins championships. An old, yet true statement. If you are not a believer, it is suggested that you take a look at the 1960s Packers, 1970s Steelers, 1980s Chicago Bears, and the 2000 Baltimore Ravens teams. The common ground that unites all the teams above is a outstanding defense. While Roethlisberger hasn’t been fortunate enough to have a defense with the likes of Jack Lambert, Joe Greene or Mel Blount, he has enjoyed the company with players like Troy Polamalu and Joey Porter. With a now declining yet great defense, is it too late for Ben to turn his idea into a reality? Or will his team again rise to the occasion and bring multiple Super Bowl trophies back to the Steel City?
The answer is, maybe. With Roethlisberger making plays and dodging defenders in route to touchdown passes every Sunday, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Ben looks as if he isn’t slowing down one step. With a hopeful running game behind him, a healthy line in front of him, and a young but talented receiving corps anchored by Antonio Brown, all guns will be blazing in 2013. If Roethlisberger is to win another ring, or three, it will be up to his defense to hold their own. There’s talent at every position on this Steelers defense, but with talent comes the age. Polamalu, Lamar Woodley and Ike Taylor aren’t getting younger by any means. However, the NFL Draft has been a vital part of success in replacing key players in recent years. With another great draft in 2013, Pittsburgh aims to reload, not rebuild.
As the season begins to draw nearer, it is clear that Roethlisberger and company are on a mission: Bring the Lombardi trophy home. With an NFL leading six Super Bowl wins, the Steelers organization knows what it takes to win. In what appears to be a season of mystery that holds unknown fortunes for Ben, nobody truly knows what will happen. Roethlisberger could have a monster year and lead the Steelers deep into the playoffs or have an absolutely terrible season. Questions arise in Pittsburgh faithful across the country if indeed, Ben has passed his prime. With 10 years experience and a past of injuries, on paper it looks like he won’t pass Bradshaw. However, the game of football is not played on paper.