American Football: Pittsburgh Steelers join Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl
Ben Roethlisberger does not expect to ever win a passing title or be voted the NFL's most valuable player but the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback does plan on adding another Super Bowl ring to his collection.
After helping guide Pittsburgh to a 24-19 win over the brash New York Jets in the AFC title game on Sunday, Roethlisberger earned a shot at his third Super Bowl ring when the Steelers take on the Green Bay Packers in Dallas for the Lombardi trophy.
While Roethlisberger's resume may not contain a stack of individual honours, a victory over the Packers on Feb. 6 would put 'Big Ben' in very exclusive company, joining Tom Brady and Hall of Famers Joe Montana, Troy Aikman and Terry Bradshaw as quarterbacks with a hat-trick of Super Bowl victories.
In the post-game celebration on Sunday, Roethlisberger tried to explain how getting a ticket to the Super Bowl never grows old but it is hard not to believe that this one will hold a special place after a tumultuous season that might have ended in prison rather than at Super Bowl XLV.
"We've been through a lot this team and me personally," smiled Roethlisberger. "It just feels good. Anytime you get to a Super Bowl it feels good.
"I don't care what you're going through or what is going on. We put a lot of stuff behind us early and found a way to get it done."
Roethlisberger, who was accused but not charged with sexual assault, sat out the first four games of the season after being suspended by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for violating the league's personal conduct policy.
For a while, it appeared Roethlisberger might be headed down the same dark career path Michael Vick or Tiger Woods ventured onto but since his return, the 28-year-old has been a model NFL citizen.
"Ben has done a great job," Steelers owner Dan Rooney told FOXSports.com. "Ben did his time.
"He did everything he was asked to do. He conducted himself as a real gentleman.
"I'm very proud of him. I think he's going to be (regarded as) a fine person to the world as time goes on."
It has been a season of redemption for Roethlisberger, who has not only won games but won back many of the fans, team mates and a city that had turned their backs on him.
He also fought through injuries and somehow found ways to get the job done when called upon.
Roethlisberger had an unspectacular game completing just 10 of 19 passes for 133 yards and two interceptions against the Jets but he also ran for a key touchdown, underlining his status as the NFL's ultimate post-season performer as he improved his playoff record to 10-2.
"That's us, it's not always pretty but somehow we find a way to get it done," Roethlisberger said. "We have a lot of tenacity. We have a don't quite attitude. We have a belief in each other.
"We are a family. We stay close no matter what. If things go bad on offence, the defence is picking us up.
"If things go bad on special teams the offence and defence are picking them up. Everyone is just there for each other.
"There's no finger pointing."
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