Ben Roethlisberger could have played the final game on Sunday in Week 18 against the Baltimore Ravens. The 39-year-old quarterback admitted he’s almost certainly retiring after the year, but his Steelers still had something to play for in the regular season finale. If the Steelers could beat the Ravens, if the Jaguars shocked the Colts, and if Chargers-Raiders didn’t end in a tie, then Pittsburgh would make the playoffs.
It all happened, and now the Steelers are back in the playoffs.
It turned out Roethlisberger had at least one more game-winning drive in him. The Pittsburgh QB led his team on a 15-play, 65-yard overtime drive that ended on a made field goal from kicker Chris Boswell. The Steelers won, 16-13, to punch their playoff ticket when the Raiders beat the Chargers on Sunday night.
There is certainly no love lost between division rivals like the Ravens and Steelers. With the game in Baltimore, the Ravens took the opportunity to troll Roethlisberger with a video board montage of him getting sacked. A viral tweet from Pittsburgh reporter Dejan Kovacevic alerted the world to the Ravens’ anti-tribute, and fortunately someone in the stands recorded it.
This is how you tease your forever rival in his final game in your stadium.
Of course, the Ravens lost the game, so Big Ben got the last laugh.
The Ravens website did put together a fun piece before the game where former Ravens players talked about their rivalry with Roethlisberger. While most kept it civil, former Baltimore linebacker Bart Scott threw a haymaker, saying “I genuinely do hate him.”
“For me, [I’ll always remember] all that he’s taken from me. Twice in my career, he’s prevented me from going to the Super Bowl. People always believe that when I left the Ravens and went to the AFC East it was the Patriots I hated. No, even as a Jet, he stopped me from going to the Super Bowl. I went to three AFC championships in a row and he stopped me from going to the Super Bowl in two of them – once as a Raven and once as a Jet. So I genuinely do hate him. But that’s the greatest sign of respect. I only hate him because of how he played and what he took from me. Ben, I hate you. I’m glad you’re done.”
What a quote, and what a perfect tribute to a rival.
All of this would have felt a lot more satisfying for the Ravens if they won on Sunday. Alas, Roethlisberger has a way of always getting the last laugh.