The decorated career of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will always be connected with the Seattle Seahawks, because in his second season in the NFL it was against the Seahawks that Roethlisberger won his first Super Bowl title. But for all the games he has played in 12 seasons in the NFL, Roethlisberger has never played at CenturyLink Field, making Seattle the only NFL city in which the Pro Bowl quarterback has not played in 165 career games. That will change Sunday, however, when the Steelers come to Seattle for the first time since 2003.
"I'm excited," Roethlisberger said on a conference call with the Seattle-area media. "Obviously you hear so much about the 12th Man, you hear about how loud it is, you hear about how awesome the fans are so I'm excited. When you play for a franchise like the Steelers, you're used to seeing a lot of Terrible Towels and a lot of fans and you always want to go to places that have that same reputation. I know the team feeds off of it, and it's always an exciting thing, because it is the NFL and you want to experience what it's like to be around something like that."
Roethlisberger, who like Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson won his first Super Bowl in just his second season, calls that 2005 season, which ended with a Super Bowl XL victory over Seattle, a "whirlwind."
"It's been a long time now," he said. "It's just the whirlwind that was that season. That was my second year in the NFL, so everything was just kind of crazy. Just the whole week leading up to that was just a whirlwind."
Roethlisberger said he heard plenty of comments from Seahawks fans about that game, which included several controversial officiating decisions that went against Seattle, but noted the negativity has slowed down in recent years, especially after the Seahawks won a Super Bowl of their own.
"Early on I did, but I think since they've won their Super Bowl and went back-to-back, I think I haven't heard nearly as much as I did early on," he said.
Both teams have obviously changed drastically since that game, though while the Seahawks have completely turned over their roster since then, the Steelers still have four players from that team—Roethlisberger, tight end Heath Miller, linebacker James Harrison and long snapper Greg Warren. Those players were part of a 10-year reunion celebrating that season, which Roethlisberger joked only showed their age: "That's how you know you're old when they're doing reunions and you're still playing."
With both teams having won 8 regular season games against the other, this Sunday will feature a rubber match between the Seahawks and Steelers. Journey back to these epic games and also their only postseason face-off in Super Bowl XL.