Who is the youngest quarterback to ever win a Super Bowl? Former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, that’s who. Now that Roethlisberger has hung up his helmet after 18 seasons in the NFL he now faces a critical question: “What’s next?” 

“I don’t even know what it is yet,” admitted Roethlisberger on the “Dad Tired” podcast

“It’s funny because I think a part of me is like, ‘Man, I just busted my butt for 18 years in the NFL, and I played football forever, and more than half of my adult life was in the NFL here in Pittsburgh.’” 

There were two-a-days and grueling training sessions and games in freezing temperatures. After all, Acrisure Stadium doesn’t have a dome. Late nights, early mornings, and lots of time on the road were par for the course. There were injuries aplenty. Like the time he broke his nose so badly “my nose was plastered to my cheek,” he recalled. And then there was the time he tore his meniscus. Double ouch.

“At times I feel like, ‘Man, I just want to do nothing.’”

Yet, even as he’s tempted to take some downtime and just relax, he said “I feel convicted, as I’m reading Scripture … [to say] ‘But wait a second, we’re not made to just coast through life.’” As such, instead of spending the next few years hitting the links and enjoying the good life with his wife and three children, Roethlisberger knows his post-football path must be imbued with meaning in order to avoid the pitfalls many other former NFL players face in retirement. 

Beating the Rebound Play 

How many Super Bowls has Roethlisberger won? Two. That’s two more than many of his peers his age. The thrill of the win can be enough to drag many out of retirement. Not Roethlisberger.

In reflecting on why so many former athletes struggle to stay retired, Roethlisberger believes it’s “Because they don’t have something else, they don’t have that thing that keeps them motivated, that keeps their interest, that keeps their love, whatever it is.” Naturally, he acknowledged, motivation will come from different places for different players. “That could be family, it could be a job, it could be whatever.” 

Roethlisberger said his next chapter in life is “wanting to do what I feel like I’m called to do on this earth. God gave me an amazing ability to play football, to throw a football, and I got to actually do it professionally, so how blessed am I?” 

Yet, even as he recognizes the blessings of his former career, and believes he used his platform to spread good in this world while in the NFL, Ben Roethlisberger worries that “I may not have answered the calling as much as I probably should have, or God wanted me to, while I played.” For some players, that concern could lead to a downward spiral. Yet, for Roethlisberger, it’s simply motivation to work even harder. 

“It doesn’t mean that I’m done.” Instead, Roethlisberger revealed, he’s decided to view his time spent playing professional football as a jumping-off point for finding that one true calling. “Now I can use my fame or my notoriety to help glorify [God], or bring people to him.”

By Manali