Ben Roethlisberger “wasn’t surprised at all” that Tom Brady’s four-game suspension was overturned, allowing the two quarterbacks to face off in the NFL season opener.
Roethlisberger's Steelers and Brady's Patriots will face off in the first game of the NFL’s regular season on Thursday night.
“I just felt like the league had done something without ...I guess it was just more of a feeling, an inkling, of knowing that the commissioner jumped to a pretty harsh punishment,” Roethlisberger said.
Though the Steelers likely would have had a better chance at beginning their season with a victory if 12-year veteran Roethlisberger was going against second-year quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, Roethlisberger said he was happy at the opportunity to play against Brady for the first time since 2013.
“I still have a ton of respect for Tom. I think he's the best in the business. And if you want to be the best, you've got to beat the best,” Roethlisberger said. “So, yeah, of course one part of you doesn't want him out there because he is the best in the world. But a bigger part of you as a competitor wants him out there because he is the best.”
The Patriots will be unfurling their Super Bowl XLIX victory banner before the game, a ceremony Roethlisberger said he didn’t think the NFL would have ultimately required Brady to miss.
“It’s going to be electric. Especially having Tom out here...it’s going to be awesome,” he said. “It’s the way that NFL football should start, and that’s maybe one of the reasons I knew that Tom would be out there, because I knew the NFL doesn’t want to start a game without him out there.”
- Erin Flynn