The 11-year veteran is known for handling pressure—a skill that comes in handy at home with two young children. On the field, Big Ben is completing a career-high 68.9% of his passes for the 3--2 Steelers.
DAN PATRICK:Can you change a diaper before the play clock expires?
BEN ROETHLISBERGER: Yes.
DP:Are you good?
BR: My first one was a boy. Boys are a lot easier than girls.
DP:But with boys you have to be careful about accidents.
BR: Trust me, that was learned early.
DP:How's your son's arm?
BR: He throws everything. We're working on him not throwing so much, which sounds kind of crazy coming from me.
DP:Will you let him play football?
BR: If he wants to, I won't stop him. The only thing I will not allow is full contact until fifth grade. That's when I played.
DP:Have you ever hidden a concussion to get back on the field?
BR: Yeah. I'm sure everybody has. I did it a lot more when I was younger. With all this stuff coming out, awareness has been raised. For the most part players are taking it seriously when it's a pretty good bell-ring.
DP:Are defenders hitting you differently now because of the rules?
BR: I don't think so. I don't think the whistle is quite as quick with me. Sometimes it's good; sometimes it's bad. Sometimes I can make something happen; sometimes it's a painful hit.
DP:Do you assess your body on Monday?
BR: One hundred percent. Tuesday is my massage day. By the time [the masseuse] is done, she's found five or six things I didn't know about. Or you get in the hot tub and something starts to sting, and you realize you got cleated.
DP:Could you teach your quarterbacking style?
BR: A lot of my play is on instinct. People made a big deal about my pump fake against Carolina [in Week 3]. That wasn't a pump fake. I was going to throw it. I saw [a defender] coming at the last second and held on to the ball. I get a lot of credit for pump fakes. It's really just a last-minute change of plan.
DP:If all the quarterbacks in the NFL ran a 40, who's first and who's last?
BR: Off the top of my head, [Colin] Kaepernick is probably up there.
BR: I assume Peyton. He's the oldest.
DP:You'd beat Tom Brady, right?
BR: I would beat Brady.
DP:Does 40 time matter for QBs?
BR: No, not at all. But it matters for the question you asked.
DP:For bragging rights?
BR: Right. Even if I have to trip someone, I'm going to make sure I don't finish last.
Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench has no time for baseball's unwritten rules. I asked him if he would bunt to break up a no-hitter. "Is it O.K. to get no-hit?" Bench said. "When guys say you can't do that, you can't do this—to hell with that. Don't play back on me at third, because I will drop a bunt." ... Royals great George Brett, who got married at 39, told me he's amazed that Derek Jeter could remain single throughout his 20-year career without getting into trouble. "Life was different then," said Brett, now 61. "We didn't have cellphones, Twitter, Facebook. You just went out and tried to get enough rest to be ready for the next day." ... Colts punter Pat McAfee said that after he had a big hit that made the highlights last year he's got a target on his back: "People come and block me. It's been awkward.... I have no idea what to do."
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (PATRICK)
SIMON BRUTY/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (ROETHLISBERGER)
AL BEHRMAN/AP (BENCH)
ED ZURGA/GETTY IMAGES (BRETT)
ELSA/GETTY IMAGES (MCAFEE)