It came as no surprise last Thursday when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger retired from the National Football League after 18 years, all of which were spent with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Most beloved athletes retire to preserve their health or to spend more time with their families. In this case, it’s not the human family that’s being prioritized. Rather, Big Ben is opting to take advantage of the possibility of having more quality time with the birds that live in his nest-like beard.
It’s not uncommon for professional athletes to have big beards. Notably, hockey players frequently grow playoff beards and shave once they’re either kicked out of the bracket or they win the Stanley Cup. After all, beards are classically considered symbols of strength and masculinity.
However, not just any beard can be home to a family of birds. Ultimately, a bird needs more than a nest to flourish. A home made of grass and twigs is perfectly fine when the sun is out and the breeze is mellow, but when in a hurricane, a nest is about as helpful as a sword made out of boiled spaghetti noodles.
Roethlisberger’s beard is considered to be prime real-estate for several reasons. First, playing for the same team for so long implies stability. Second, birds like warmth, so they like that Big Ben played for Miami University — Ohio, but birds are dumb). Lastly, the bounty of crumbs present in the beard provides ample nutrition.
Often, star athletes choose to retire after either winning a championship or not making the playoffs. By making the wildcard round and then losing, Roethlisberger could be argued to have left more on the table — something competitors can rarely walk away from. This calls into question why the quarterback decided to call it quits.
“People always say that you should cherish your loved ones while they’re here, and frankly, small birds only live about two years,” said Roethlisberger. “It’s true that when one bird dies in the beard, another quickly replaces it, but that just taught me how disposable we all are. I may end up a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but it’s important to me that I also leave a legacy with the bird community,” he concluded.
Reporters attempted to get the NFL veteran to elaborate on his statements after exiting the building, but Roethlisberger was unavailable, as nearby squirrels quickly grabbed onto his beard and began mauling his face in an effort to access its crumb inventory.
Mackenzie is the first ever editor of The Beet and actually made of over 62% beet.