Dunlap: Big Ben Documentary Has Opened My Eyes


I can’t get enough of this Ben Roethlisberger documentary.

I don’t know exactly what I expected from it, but it has far exceeded everything I imagined.

Know why?

Ben has been open.

He’s been honest.

He laughs, smiles, plays with his kids --- all of it.

He’s shown a sense of regular, family man.

Also, I don’t think it is all just for the camera. It seems --- at least for the most part --- to be pretty darn real.

It has also been really, really informative in a certain way --- I no longer think Big Ben is going to play until he’s about 135 years old. That’s a bit of an exaggeration. But there was a time I thought Ben would never relent; that he’d die out there on the field or need to be taken off it against his will.

In watching this highly-publicized and widely-circulated documentary on Roethlisberger (that is wonderfully done, by the way) my tune on him has changed. Now, don’t get me wrong, he still has self-cast Big Ben as the conquering hero set up to make a comeback and save the world, but my tune has changed some.

I formerly thought he would be the kind of player who would never understand that Father Time could defeat him.
That Big Ben would turn into Really Old Ben and eventually Can He Really Play Anymore Ben and it would all force a tenuous situation.

Now, I’m not seeing it that way anymore.

Yeah, before this docuseries I had in my mind a limping, battered and smashed-up Ben would be dragging himself out there into his 40s and eschewing the sideline when they tried to send in someone else under center.

He’d be the guy who would be painful to watch at the tail end of his career because there would be that serious question about the guy on the sideline wearing a baseball cap and headset --- the QB2 --- being better than him. That Big Ben would only still be out there because he had the cache and juice within the organization based on what he had done in the past.

Now, like I said, my tune has changed.

In watching this docu-series it screams to me that Ben doesn’t need ---- or more importantly he doesn’t want ---- to play football until that very, very, very last possible snap is exhausted from his body. He wants to accomplish more, but he also wants to leave the game with his faculties as best he can and a sense of peace. That sense of peace doesn’t need to be achieved by playing until he’s like 47 or something.

Seeing Big Ben hang around with his family has forced a different light for me and maybe for some others.

Are you seeing what I’m seeing watching this Big Ben Bonanza?

This is a man who seemingly genuinely enjoys all the dad stuff. He looks like he loves being a husband. He appears to love those early mornings on that palatial farmland he purchased out in Sewickley.

He beams when he looks at his kids.

He outwardly looks as if he has a wonderful sense of harmony with his wife.

He jokes around, giggles and gives the impression that his home life is the most content it has ever been.

The football stuff in the docu-series? Sure that’s all interesting.

The home life stuff? Waaaaaaaay more interesting.

It has given me a peek and looksee into how blissful Ben is away from the game.

With all that said, I’m not saying he’s going to up and quit at the end of this season. But I will say I think the transition from Franchise Quarterback Ben to Suburban Dad Ben might be a whole lot easier than any of us had imagined.​