Ben Roethlisberger played what will likely be his final game in the NFL as the Steelers were blown out by the Kansas City Chiefs in the wildcard round. Ben’s final season should be a warning not only to the Atlanta Falcons but to the rest of the league.
With the league increasingly protecting the quarterback from being hit and Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers looking ageless, Roethlisberger serves as a stark reminder of what happens when you have no succession plan.
Ben’s final two seasons weren’t pretty despite the numbers appearing serviceable. For anyone that watched the Steelers, they know that Roethlisberger wasn’t close to the same player. He looked feeble in the pocket and was unable to stretch the ball down the field.
The Steelers let the situation drag out and lost a season because of a mistake the Atlanta Falcons must learn from
Matt Ryan’s issues this season weren’t due to aging as Ben’s were this season but due to a lack of help and support around him. Still, Atlanta should be proactive when it comes to planning for its future.
Failing to do so cost the Steelers two seasons in which they had a roster to make a possible Super Bowl run. Ben Roethlisberger was the roadblock that was standing in their way, however, instead of the final piece of the playoff puzzle.
For at least one more season Matt Ryan is locked in as Atlanta’s starting quarterback. But Atlanta must learn from the Steeler’s situation and begin proactively planning for their future.
Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are outliers who have been standouts for their entire NFL careers. Their trajectories and inability to show any age on the field speaks to their greatness and are part of what will cement their legacies.
Now perhaps Matt Ryan due to how he takes care of himself and his style of play will be able to extend his career beyond what is expected. However, it is still far better for Atlanta to plan for their future and deal with a tough decision.
Just as the Packers have with Jordan Love or the Patriots did with Jimmy Garoppolo Atlanta may live to regret it planning for the future. However, having a plan in place is far better than dealing with what the Steelers have this season.
Watching your franchise quarterback hold back a team he elevated and pushed to win for so long. Atlanta must take note and have a plan in place for when Ryan does begin to decline.