The End of an Era
For the diehard, terrible towel-waving Steelers fans representing the infamous steel city, January 3, 2022 will forever be a day to remember. It appears Big Ben Roethlisberger has played his final snap at Heinz Field, as ahead of the Steelers’ emotional win over the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football, Roethlisberger had mentioned his plans to hang it up at the end of the season. Steeler nation gave their quarterback a standing ovation as he took the field for what was likely his final game in Pittsburgh. Big Ben won two Super Bowls, earned six Pro Bowl nominations, and has thrown for over 400 touchdowns and 64,000 yards throughout the course of his NFL career.
Taking a trip down memory lane, Big Ben had some of the most memorable moments in NFL history as he went 13-0 as a starter in his 2004 rookie season and in 2009 led the game-winning drive in Super Bowl XLIII that was capped off by the infamous pitch-and-catch between Roethlisberger and Santonio “toe-tap” Holmes. Ultimately, Ben will forever be remembered as one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever do it and he will one day have his own spot in Canton, Ohio beside all of the other greats.
Despite several MVP-like seasons in recent years, Russell Wilson appears to be on his way out of Seattle after a disappointing season to say the least. Wilson expressed his frustration with the Seahawks’ organization and head coach Pete Carroll in the offseason so it is not completely out of the blue that Wilson has not been himself in this 2021-2022 season.
Ironically, while Wilson seems to be in the market for a contending, talented franchise, he would be leaving a Seattle organization that provided him with two Pro-Bowl caliber wide receivers in D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Furthermore, despite winning Super Bowl XLVIII back in 2013, Wilson and Carroll have not clicked as they have in the past and rumors have surfaced that Carroll could be on his way out of Seattle as well. Teams like the Broncos, Vikings, and Saints that are a quarterback away from a Super Bowl run may be perfect destinations for Wilson as he enters the offseason but his memorable run with the Seahawks will likely come to an end in 2022.
Due to an incredible stretch last season without their star WR Odell Beckham Jr, Cleveland Browns fans and many NFL analysts suggested that the team might be better off without the former Pro-Bowl wideout. Consequently, after starting the 2021-2022 season off to a rough start, fans gave QB Baker Mayfield a break and began to place all of the blame on the broad shoulders of OBJ.
To make matters worse, Odell’s father poured gasoline on an already stoked fire as he posted a ten-minute video of all the missed throws in which Mayfield intended for his son over the course of their time in Cleveland together. Just a few days later, the Browns released OBJ with the expectation they would be able to pick up just where they left off last season. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
Baker had been given an excuse all year for his poor play due to OBJ’s presence, but after the wide receiver signed with the Los Angeles Rams and made immediate impact in Sean McVay’s offense, Baker has not looked the same since. The public began to realize that OBJ was not the problem as Mayfield continued to stink it up on Sunday’s, so as a result Mayfield finally brought up an injury he apparently suffered early on in the year. Dating back to Week 2 against the Arizona Cardinals, Baker Mayfield seemingly tore his labrum, something he failed to mention publicly until the Browns had found themselves on a crash course to miss the playoffs. The Cleveland Browns have not seen the drastic improvement they had expected after cutting ties with OBJ and may find themselves in a tough spot with their quarterback situation at the end of the year. Ultimately, Baker Mayfield’s future in Cleveland as well as his widespread Progressive commercials may both come to an end sooner rather than later.