Old school dismissed: Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger and the end of an era

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) waves to fans before he leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in Pittsburgh. The Steelers won 26-14.

Strip away the “TB12 Method” branding, shield your eyes from the bling of Brady’s seven Super Bowl rings and his supermodel wife and all the “GOAT” merch and you’ll find perhaps the most successful grinder in league history.

A slow, unremarkable sixth-round selection who squeezed every last ounce of talent — and then some — out of a body that hardly screamed “eventual all-time leader in just about everything” when the Patriots took a flyer on the scrawny kid from Michigan with the 199th overall pick in the 2000 draft.

Roethlisberger arrived with more fanfare four years later when Dan Rooney insisted the Steelers grab the 6-foot-5 manchild from Ohio with the 11th choice.

Yet while Brady did everything to distance his image from the prospect who ran the 40-yard dash in 5.28 seconds (that’s not a typo), Roethlisberger embraced his “Big Ben” persona while — just like Brady — evolving from game manager to franchise icon.

“Ben defied the TB12 Method in favor of the ‘Throw Some Ice On It’ method his whole career, and ended up an all-time-great with 6 Pro-Bowls and 2 Super Bowls,” Brady tweeted after Roethlisberger retired on Jan. 27. “There’s more than one way to bake a cake!”

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