*Playing "End Of The Road" by Boyz II Men*
It's time. Even I think it is. I think Ben Roethlisberger thinks it is, too. You don't sit on the bench literally crying tears for that long after an embarrassing playoff loss at home if the thought "this was the last time I'll play football, and play football here" wasn't going through your mind.
All the memories of the wins, the Terrible Towels waving, Renegade blaring, the AFC Championship wins in 2008, 2010, a whole lifetime for Ben Roethlisberger flashing through his eyes then crashing down before him swiftly like that blowout did for all of us last night.
At this point I think it's for the best, though. It's exhausting having to fight the battles of "is Big Ben done?" week in and week out. The last two playoff appearances have been incredibly devastating and inexcusable losses under his watch. If he couldn't advance with the teams the Steelers had in their last two shots at the Lombardi then he never will again. Cut ties. Ride off into retirement with your happy family and live your life. It's been a hell of a run. A run of a lifetime.
But even the happiest relationships or marriages start to fade sometimes. You know, the couple that's been married for a solid 15 years then one day they just say, "I still care about you, but I just don't want to be married to you anymore". Happens all the time.
We can still be cordial. You can still come back for the Super Bowl anniversaries, and I hope you do. I hope you don't just disappear from the franchise like Troy Polamalu, god love him, has. Last night just felt like the end. It looked like the end. Look around the league. Unless you're a freak like Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, the rest of the guys are young guns that are mobile with a quick draw. Our ol' gunslinger has become just that.