Ben Roethlisberger’s emotional postgame press conference proves why the Steelers made the right call

The final game of Ben Roethlisberger’s NFL career didn’t go the way he wanted. Again, when is this happening? The final chapter is always bittersweet, and the Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t stand a chance against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

After the game, Roethlisberger delivered powerful quotes, and his words embodied who he has become over the past 18 years – the heart of Steelers Nation. Moreover, his comments show why the organization handled his departure in the right way and stood by him.

Ben Roethlisberger’s swansong ended in an unfortunate playoff loss, but he remains grateful for the opportunity

The first half of this game felt like a storybook for the Steelers. The Chiefs’ offense was kept in check and Pittsburgh led at one point after a TJ Watt touchdown.

But the second half was very different and Patrick Mahomes led the Chiefs to a 42-21 win, ending Roethlisberger’s storied career.

Nonetheless, Roethlisberger expressed his gratitude for playing the game for so long (h/t Ed Bouchette of The Athletic).

“We thought last week was going to be the end. We didn’t know what was going to happen and got a chance to play another game of football. It didn’t end the way we wanted, but it’s a blessing to play this game. I mean… how lucky are we to play football for a living? We need to count our blessings and realize how lucky we are.

Ben Roethlisberger after his loss to the Chiefs

How the Steelers got to the playoffs was a movie unto itself. It took a win over the Baltimore Ravens (in overtime), a Jacksonville Jaguars victory over the Indianapolis Colts and a wild Las Vegas Raiders finish against the Los Angeles Chargers to send Big Ben and company to the playoffs.

A mad rush to get there and just the chance to play one more game is what Roethlisberger is happy about. After all, few of them qualify for the playoffs. Even fewer can play the game as long as he does.

The Steelers QB gives the City of Pittsburgh the love to stand by him every step of the way

“Meant to be.”

In the 2004 NFL Draft, Eli Manning and Philip Rivers were the first two quarterbacks selected. After that, Roethlisberger was drafted by the Steelers – and it turned out to be a perfect choice.

Two Super Bowl championships, six trips to the Pro Bowl, over 400 touchdown passes and many other accolades for Roethlisberger in a storied career – it’s unreal. Even better, everyone came with a Steelers helmet on their head.

His comments after the game show why the Steelers made the right choice to never waver in front of him (Ed Bouchette).

“God blessed me with the ability to kick a football and blessed me to play in the biggest city in Pittsburgh with the biggest fans and the biggest football team and the best players, and that has truly been a blessing.”

Ben Roethlisberger

Overwhelming gratitude from Roethlisberger – for the fans, the team, his teammates and everyone involved in his impressive 18-year journey.

How many times could Roethlisberger have headed elsewhere in free agency?

Also, the Steelers could have rejuvenated and brought in other options under center. Still, the Steelers were attached to him, and he was attached to the Black and Gold.

It wasn’t easy and there were all sorts of twists and turns along the way, but Roethlisberger closes a huge chapter in Steelers franchise history.

Ben Roethlisberger’s next stop will be Canton

Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger #7 reacts as he walks off the field after being beaten by the Kansas City Chiefs 42-21 during the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium. | Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Is Ben Roethlisberger a Hall of Famer?

That should be a non-question. The accolades speak for themselves, and if you’ve been lucky enough to see Roethlisberger play in the last 18 years, you know how valuable he was to this team.

Time and again, questions were asked about whether or not Roethlisberger would stay in Pittsburgh, and each time he came back.

A rock, a warrior, a soldier, you name it. Roethlisberger’s tenacity epitomized Steelers Nation, and his commitment to the team was infectious, and captain Cam Heyward was full of praise for Roethlisberger.

Now it’s up to Heyward to take over the leadership role after Roethlisberger’s official retirement, and those are huge shoes to fill.

Next up for Roethlisberger is the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. See you soon with the golden jacket, n°7.

Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference

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