Only one of three Killer B’s remains on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster these days, quarterback Big Ben Roethlisberger, and he is healthy and has just been well paid, so it stands to reason that the 2x Super Bowl Champion is in the mood to take his team to the postseason after missing January football entirely last year.
Even at thirty-seven years of age, Roethlisberger’s numbers keep getting better each season, but neither his league leading number or passing yards (5,129 total) wasn’t good enough to get his team into the playoffs last season, something that hasn’t happened since 2013.
Now that his distractions have been traded away in the offseason and he has been taken care of (for now) financially, it’s time for Roethlisberger to put his team in a position to snag another Lombardi Trophy, and here we take a look at the odds and predictions of his 2019 output with the Steelers.
Quick Bio: who is Ben Roethlisberger?
Benjamin Todd Roethlisberger Sr., aka Big Ben, is the 6-foot-5, 240-pound NFL quarterback who was born in Lima, Ohio and who has been under center for the Pittsburgh Steelers since 2004.
Roethlisberger played his high school football at Findlay High and was the captain of their football, basketball and baseball teams, though he didn’t play quarterback until his senior year thanks to the coach’s son getting the job up until then.
The lanky Roethlisberger had played wide receiver up to that point, which may explain the deep understanding of route running he has displayed over the years at the higher levels.
Miami of Ohio, an NCAA Division 1-A football program, offered Roethlisberger a scholarship to play quarterback for their Red Hawks.
How did Roethlisberger do at Miami?
After red-shirting his freshman year at Miami of Ohio, Roethlisberger quarterbacked there for three years and in his second season in 2002 established a school single-season record for passing yards with 3,238 yards and 271 completions .
In three seasons, Roethlisberger threw for 10,829 total yards and 80 touchdowns with 23 interceptions while also rushing for 269 yards and 7 more touchdowns, and in his junior (and final) season he led his team to an unbeaten record in the MAC and a victory in the 2003 GMAC Bowl.
By the time he was done in Miami, the school had retired his jersey number, #7, the first time they had done that in 34 years and just the third time ever, after his conference-leading 343 completions, 4,486 passing yards and 37 passing touchdowns broke school records in all three categories.
When did Roethlisberger get drafted into the NFL?
The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Ben Roethlisberger 11th overall in the first round of the 2004 NFL draft.
The two agreed to a six-year rookie deal worth $22.26 million with an additional $17.7 million available to him through incentives.
Due to injuries to the starters, Roethlisberger ended up playing in the third week of this rookie season and started under center after that, going 13-0 in the games he started that season and taking his Steelers to the AFC Championship game, which they lost to the New England Patriots, 27-41.
Is it true two other quarterbacks were drafted before Roethlisberger?
Yes, but when you see who they are it makes a lot more sense.
Selected first overall in the 2004 draft was quarterback Eli Manning, who was selected initially by the San Diego Chargers, but after Manning had made it perfectly clear that he would never play football for them, they traded him to the New York Giants for several draft picks and another quarterback from that same round named...
…Philip Rivers, who was selected with the fourth overall pick by the Giants and then traded (with picks that would become linebacker Shawne Merriman and placekicker Nate Kaedingto) to the Chargers for Manning.
How effective has Roethlisberger been in the NFL?
In fifteen seasons, Roethlisberger has had a Hall-of-Fame worthy career, having won two Super Bowls with his Steelers, been the NFL passing yards leader twice and a 6x Pro Bowler.
He’s completed a total of 4,616 passes for 56,194 yards and 363 touchdowns with 190 interceptions, all for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The big man has broken too many franchise and NFL records to list here in total, but impressively Roethlisberger has had the most career 500+ yard passing games (3), the most ever consecutive 6+ touchdown pass games (2) and the most touchdown passes in consecutive games (12) to name just a few.
Where did the other two B’s go?
From the outside, it is hard to imagine how a team could go from having one of the best running backs in the league on their roster as well as one of the top three wide receivers in the league, plus the Super Bowl Champion quarterback to get the ball to them, and then somehow lose two out of three of those playmakers.
The Steelers lost running back Le’Veon Bell when they refused to pay the man what he felt he was worth as both a ball runner and receiver, so he sat out the entire 2018 season to prove a point, a year when the team could have really used him and it was noticed.
Then, after deep threat receiver Antonio Brown’s route running got publicly questioned by Big Ben, Brown started acting out and head coach Mike Tomlin did little to step in and smooth things over, so now the Steelers have to move on without either superstar to help them anymore.
For more details on both situations, take a look at our past coverage of these stories:
Who will replace Bell and Brown as targets?
The short answer is nobody will truly replace them (their numbers were that good), but just the same, Roethlisberger now has two young and talented players to target instead of Bell and Brown.
The speedy and soft-handed Juju Smith-Schuster will replace Brown as the number one receiver and should mostly make up for his absence, last year catching 111 passes from Roethlisberger, 7 for touchdowns, though no doubt many of those targets were the result of Brown being double-teamed, leaving Smith-Schuster with single coverage and an open field, an advantage he won’t enjoy anymore.
Second-year running back James Conner is no Bell, but last season he posted 1,470 total yards from scrimmage with 13 touchdowns, though his four fumbles in 2018 could be a concern moving forward.
How much did Big Ben just get paid?
The Steelers and Roethlisberger agreed to a two-year contract extension worth $68 million, with $37 million of that as a signing bonus.
This keeps Big Ben a Steeler until the 2021 season, though depending on how this season goes that may not matter, since one more Super Bowl win could be enough to entice Roethlisberger to finally retire.
With this deal, Roethlisberger will receive an average of $34 million per season, making him the second highest paid quarterback in the NFL behind Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson ($35 million).
Where does Roethlisberger fall short on the field?
Not only did Roethlisberger lead the league in total passing yards last season, he also led the league in total interceptions with 16.
Roethlisberger has averaged almost 13 interceptions per season in his fifteen years in the NFL, so excessive picks (and accurate ball placement) could be considered one of his main weaknesses.
The other would be his lack of mobility, primarily being a pocket passer, so the middle-aged big guy isn’t going to get out trouble using his feet or his lack of quickness – usually it will be by using his big arm and high football IQ to get rid of the ball one way or the other.
Where has Roethlisberger fallen short off the field?
The first time was in the summer 2006 when Roethlisberger crashed his motorcycle into a car that had turned in front of him and because he wasn’t wearing a helmet he received some serious injuries.
The second was in 2009 when Roethlisberger was accused of sexually assaulting a woman in his Lake Tahoe hotel room, but the case was settled out of court in 2011.
The third was in 2010, when Roethlisberger was accused of sexual assault inside the ladies room of a college nightclub, and though he was never charged, it was only because it could not be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, and Roethlisberger was suspended for six (which became four) games during the 2010 season.
Is Roethlisberger the Steelers’ problem or the solution?
If the player who is a 2x Super Bowl Champion and a 6x Pro Bowler and who last season threw for 5,129 yards and 34 touchdowns, both career highs, is the problem, most teams would gladly take him.
Despite being thirty-seven years old, Big Ben is all of those things and is also the only Killer B still standing on the Steelers’ roster, so apparently general manager Kevin Colbert believes Roethlisberger is indeed the solution.
A healthy, motivated (and well-paid) Big Ben is indeed the solution, he has to be, and without all the major distractions and drama of last season (not to mention an upgraded defense), maybe the rest of the team can get on board with their big leader once again.
How will the Steelers’ upgraded defense help Big Ben’s offense?
In December of 2017, linebacker Ryan Shazier (the Steelers’ defensive quarterback), suffered a career ending spinal injury and ever since Pittsburgh’s defense has lacked an on field leader.
General manager Kevin Colbert drafted a possible replacement in Michigan linebacker Devin Bush, whom he moved up in the draft to select tenth overall, plus he signed linebacker Mark Barron, formerly of the Los Angeles Rams, and cornerback Steven Nelson, who had four interceptions last season for the Kansas City Chiefs.
With hopefully a better defense than they had last season (ranked 27th), opponents’ offenses will spend less time on the field than they did, giving Roethlisberger and his Steelers offense even more time to make big plays and score touchdowns and put the game out of reach, something he struggled with often in 2018.
How are the Pittsburgh Steelers predicted to do in 2019?
The Steelers should be able to get back to winning games and dominating the AFC North if the real reason they fell apart at the end of last season was due directly to the drama and the lack of defensive leadership and depth, since those problems have been presumably solved this offseason.
The embarrassing problem emerges if and only if it becomes evident that without their two best players the Steelers are simply just not as good as they used to be, and then that situation will have to be solved during the next offseason.
Right now, the odds makers are favoring the rebuilt Cleveland Browns to win the AFC North next year, but even if that miracle does happen, with a solid regular season that doesn’t implode the Steelers could earn a Wild Card spot and still make another postseason run.
Roethlisberger and head coach Mike Tomlin have already been to and won the Big Game twice in the past together, so another Super Bowl ring is entirely doable if the fixes made this offseason do the trick.
For more details on the Pittsburgh Steelers offseason, please check out our prior coverage: The Pittsburgh Steelers' Biggest Offseason Moves 2019 - Odds and Predictions
What are the current odds and predictions on Roethlisberger's possible 2019 production?
An NFL quarterbacks’ season is judged by many factors, but two of the main ones are total passing yards and total passing touchdowns.
In both of these categories, Roethlisberger has reigned supreme, but the question comes down to whether he has talented enough targets to help him get the job done.
And whether he still has enough energy left in his 37-year-old body (and arm) to last the entire season and (if all goes well) the entire postseason.
Here are Roethlisberger' current odds for 2019:
Caveat: Roethlisberger must play in game one for action to commence.
Ben Roethlisberger's 2019 Regular Season Passing Yards
|Sportsbook||Over 4300.5 yards||Under 4300.5 yards||Link|
* 21+ | NJ only | If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER
Analysis: Roethlisberger threw for 5,000+ yards last season, so at first glance this bet seems like a no-brainer.
Keep in mind, though, that he’s only hit the over of this bet two other times in his entire career, so suddenly it’s not such a given.
Then add to that the fact that deep ball Brown and the pass-catching Bell are no longer on the roster, the under might be a better bet on this one for 2019.
Ben Roethlisberger's 2019 Regular Season Passing Touchdowns
|Sportsbook||Over 27.5 Touchdowns||Under 27.5 Touchdowns||Link|
* 21+ | NJ only | If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER
Analysis: Roethlisberger has beaten the over of this bet six times in his fifteen NFL seasons, so you have to wonder if he can do it again in 2019.
Especially given the talent he now has around him is still young and unproven in the league.
For the last three seasons, though, Roethlisberger would have won this over, and given the fact that he won’t be dealing with the same amount of distractions in 2019 that he’s had to during the last three seasons, the over seems like a slightly better bet here.