Tom Brady Wishes Ben Roethlisberger Farewell With Legendary Tweet

Tom Brady may be staring down the moment of his own career mortality, but at least he’s maintaining a sense of humor about it all.

Ben Roethlisberger announced his own retirement from the NFL on Thursday with a video statement on social media, bringing to a close an 18-year career with the Pittsburgh Steelers that featured two Super Bowl victories but also served as one of Brady and the New England Patriots’ top foils in the AFC.

So even though Brady is now two full seasons removed from his days in Foxboro, his connection to Roethlisberger remains strong, and Brady took the time on Thursday to bid his one-time rival a fond farewell on Twitter.

And, as is generally the case in a moment like this, Brady sprinkled a bit of humor into an otherwise somber moment. Big Ben is retiring at age 39, five years younger than Brady, and the current Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback took a playful jab at Roethlisberger for not exactly taking care of himself the TB12 way.

Brady’s tweet honoring Roethlisberger’s career really took the cake

Brady loves to use his social media to poke fun at himself — and sometimes others — and Thursday was no exception. Brady quote-tweeted Roethlisberger’s video announcement with a message of his own: “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. There’s more than one way to bake a cake!”

Brady, with his regimented workouts and his avocado ice cream, has redefined what it means to train and stay in shape, and it’s pretty much impossible to argue with the results as he is likely to win yet another league MVP at age 44.

But Brady’s ways of doing things are not for everyone, and Roethlisberger came to define a different kind of self-care, which was to tough it out and play through a myriad of injuries and ailments. Few quarterbacks were tougher than Big Ben, who often looked like he could barely get to the line of scrimmage yet still managed to lead the Steelers to victory after victory.

But when it came to their head-to-head battles, it was Brady taking the cake way more often.

Brady pretty much always got the best of Ben, as the Patriots dominated the AFC in their era

Roethlisberger joined the NFL as a rookie in 2004 and immediately announced to the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots that Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts weren’t going to be their only main rival in the AFC.

In the first meeting between Big Ben and Brady, on Halloween in 2004, Roethlisberger threw a pair of early touchdown passes to Plaxico Burress, and the Steelers went on to a 34-20 victory. Brady and the Patriots would get their revenge in the 2004 AFC Championship Game with a 41-27 win, the first of two NFL Playoffs matchups over the next 15 years.

The Patriots would win that Super Bowl, then Ben would get his first ring the next season, but the Brady-Ben duels going forward would be decidedly one-sided. In all, Brady would post a 9-3 record against the Steelers in games both Brady and Roethlisberger started, including a second AFC Championship Game victory in 2017.

Now it’s Brady’s turn to make the next big announcement about his future

Brady and Roethlisberger would play against each other for the last time in Week 1 of the 2019 season, with the Patriots handing the Steelers a 33-3 loss. Brady would leave the Patriots after that season, and there would be no cross-conference matchups over Roethlisberger’s final two seasons.

Now Brady, who saw a frantic comeback against the Los Angeles Rams in the Divisional Round come up short last week, must decide which kind of social media post he wants to make: announcing either a comeback in 2022 or his own retirement after 22 seasons.

All jokes aside, it remains to be seen how much, if at all, Roethlisberger’s decision on Thursday will inform Brady’s.

Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference

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