Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be absent in this Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens. Initially, my reaction is to be pleased that the Ravens’ task will be a tad bit easier this weekend as they try to steal a victory at Heinz Field. However, as a fan I’m somewhat disappointed.
This is the first time in my life that I will be traveling to Pittsburgh to watch the Ravens play a road football game. I will be enjoying the game with a few good friends and a hostile crowd of Terrible Towel yinzers. However, not having Roethlisberger in there for the Steelers somewhat takes away from the luster of this rivalry contest.
Roethlisberger has been an integral reason as to why this rivalry is as great as it is. This is quite possibly the best rivalry in professional sports, let alone professional football. Big Ben has found a way to provide fans on both sides of this game with plenty of memories.
Example: Big Ben’s nose-job courtesy of Haloti Ngata.
His first appearance in this rivalry was way back in 2004 when he was the backup quarterback to Tommy Maddox. Roethlisberger started that season as the No. 3 quarterback behind Charlie Batch, who was the backup, and starter Tommy Maddox, but he earned the backup job by the time the regular season started. In the game, Maddox was incredibly ineffective and ended up suffering an injury against the Ravens, forcing former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher to bring in the rookie from Miami (OH) to see what he could muster up against the Ravens. I had the pleasure of attending that game and watched as the Big Ben era began with the Steelers. The rest is basically history with this guy.
Roethlisberger’s presence and play-making ability brings the best out of the Ravens as well as they always want to find ways to stymie him as he is the main cog in the machine that is the Steelers offense. Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs has had at least a few… well, not so nice things to say about Big Ben. With all of the trash talk he has uttered in the past, he still respects him as a football player and knows that generally it won’t take just one man to take down the tower of a man that is Big Ben. This was one of those exceptions.
I am not upset on the Ravens behalf that Roethlisberger is missing this game. He is such an integral part of Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s offense that having him absent can only aid a Ravens defense that needs all the help they can get. His absence doesn’t guarantee anything in this rivalry. Look at what former Steelers and Ravens quarterback Dennis Dixon did a few years back in this contest?
When I’m at the game Sunday Night, no doubt will I enjoy the atmosphere that will be surely rocking. The loss of Roethlisberger may limit the Steelers in what they can do, but the passion of both teams will still be evident. Byron Leftwich nor Charlie Batch can do the things that Ben Roethlisberger can do, which may make the game appear a little uglier. However, it’s still Ravens-Steelers. It will still be a physical contest. I can’t wait to be there personally.
The only thing I will truly miss on Sunday… well you know.
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