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Old 11-03-2012, 11:33 AM   #1
LayingTheWoodley56
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Default Ben's evolution as a leader, teammate, and player

Remember when Hines publicly called out Ben for sitting out against the Ravens in '09, implicitly questioning his commitment and leadership in the process? We all know what happened next: scandal, embarrassment and ultimately suspension. Widespread indictment of his character and work ethic followed, and some fans even called for our franchise, two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback to be traded.

The quarterback who will take the field against his natural foil (Eli) tomorrow at Metlife Stadium is completely unrecognizable from the immature kid once branded as a bad teammate and an unfit leader. I noticed it truly during the preseason, when he was completely tuned in to the workings of the second and third-team offenses, barking out instructions and encouragement to Chazz Batch, Jarrod Johnson and Byron Leftwich. It is evident in his interviews, the way he now carries himself with the media and also on the field. He has evolved into a true leader, and this is now his team; after years of the defense carrying us through long stretches of games and Ben evoking one mystical drive to pull out close game after close game, his efforts are now the heart and soul of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

That is without even mentioning the strides he has made on the field. To be honest, while I always loved him and wouldn't ask for many other quarterbacks in his place, Ben's late-game heroics, unconventional style of pla and status as a winner of multiple championships masked some truly shoddy play on his part at times (remember the debacle in Cleveland in 2009?) I couldn't help always feeling in my heart that he was overrated by other fans and the national media.

That has all changed for good this season. Watching Ben Roethlisberger play football for our team this season has been nothing short of a treat. He no longer misses open receivers. He makes all the throws he should, and another dozen a game that most quarterbacks would not be able to. I am never more confident in him than when he starts running around the backfield looking for a receiver, because I know when he pulls the trigger he has found one that he can hit. "Ben Magic," I call it. There is no one I would take in his place at this point, and that includes both Mannings, Brady, Brees and Rodgers. That is not to say that he is necessarily all-around better than those guys, but he is our guy and I wouldn't trade him for anyone.

At 14 years old, I was in the stands for the Giants-Steelers game in 2004 in New York, when a precocious Eli had his first good performance against a team that was in the process of going 15-1. Remember how Steeler Nation fell in love with Big Ben en masse that first season? A lot has happened since then for both quarterbacks, not all of it good, but between them they have amassed 4 championships and have won a lot of other games. They will always be judged against each other, and at 1-1 head-to-head lifetime, tomorrow represents the rubber match.

As a native NYer, I haven't missed them in this area since I became a fan. At $175 a seat, I will be there again tomorrow. LET'S GO!
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Old 11-03-2012, 12:30 PM   #2
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Default Re: Ben's evolution as a leader, teammate, and player

that 33-30 win was bens first 300+ yard passing game and the most impressive come from behind wins of his young career.

in defense of him "sitting out" vs baltimore, he suffered a wicked concussion the week before and still had the lingering effects and pounding headaches. by todays rules and standards, no player is even allowed to return to play under those circumstances.

i thought hines was out of line to call him out back then. i always thought ben was pretty gracious in deferring the leadership role to hines and jerome (and the stallwarts on defense) when he shoulda probably taken over those reigns earlier in his career.

maybe then he woulda taken ownership and acted more like a leader instead of ayoung punk on a crotch rocket and in da clubz, who was just along for the ride.
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Old 11-03-2012, 12:34 PM   #3
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Default Re: Ben's evolution as a leader, teammate, and player

He stopped chasing puntang and focused on football. Thats why he is better now.
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Old 11-03-2012, 12:45 PM   #4
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Default Re: Ben's evolution as a leader, teammate, and player

I wouldn't exactly put all the blame on Ben for the debacle in Cleveland.

Remember our brainiac OC who thought it was a good idea to air it out in a tropical ice storm and who's gameplan managed to squeak out 6 points.
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Old 11-03-2012, 03:07 PM   #5
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Default Re: Ben's evolution as a leader, teammate, and player

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Originally Posted by LayingTheWoodley56 View Post
Remember when Hines publicly called out Ben for sitting out against the Ravens in '09, implicitly questioning his commitment and leadership in the process?
Replace the words 'Hines', 'Ben' and 'Ravens' with 'Steve', 'Cam' and 'Giants' and you have the exact same situation that Newton is currently in. Ben had to mature and mature quickly to win back that locker room and regain the confidence of his teammates and he's done just that. Steelers fans weren't willing to have their franchise quarterback be immature and have commitment issues - it's just not what we do. Roethlisberger quickly developed into one of the elite quarterbacks in this league, and ultimately, earned the respect and eventual captaincy of the Steelers. He was a young guy that had to earn his stripes and he's done so. I honestly think that situation with Ward ultimately taught Ben that playing for the Steelers is a different animal than most other teams and that was the breaking point which forced him to grow up and take control.

As you've said, Ben now is the captain of this team and he's one of the unquestioned leaders in the locker room.
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Old 11-03-2012, 03:37 PM   #6
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Default Re: Ben's evolution as a leader, teammate, and player

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Originally Posted by LayingTheWoodley56 View Post
Remember when Hines publicly called out Ben for sitting out against the Ravens in '09, implicitly questioning his commitment and leadership in the process?
Hines is a dirty player...
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