Johnny Unitas and Joe Montana are names you first think of when talking about all-time great NFL QB’s.
For all of his off-the-field troubles from getting involved in a motorcycle accident to allegedly sexual assaulting a Nevada hotel employee and a Georgia college student, Ben Roethlisberger’s on-the-field play makes for a compelling case for him to be considered one of the all-time best.
Fans and critics alike often talk of his immaturity, propensity to throw costly interceptions and for holding the ball too long, but Roethlisberger may be one of the most under-appreciated all-time great quarterbacks to ever play.
Consider that the 6’5 241 pounder has won two Super Bowls, XL and XLIII, one more than other "elite" quarterbacks, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, he also holds the record for most wins for a rookie at 13 and the second best winning percentage at .712, only behind Tom Brady of the New England Patriots.
Is it time to finally put Big Ben’s name up there with the likes of Brady and Manning?
That depends on your point of view.
Despite missing four games due to violating the NFL’s Personal Code of Conduct in 2010; Roethlisberger was still able to pass for 3,200 yards and toss 17 touchdowns on the season and help lead the Steelers to Super Bowl XLV.
While many will contest that Big Ben is the fortunate beneficiary of playing in a favorable run-oriented system that featured Hall Of Fame running back, Jerome Bettis, Super Bowl MVP’s at wideout in Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes, and a solid defense that future Hall of Famers in linebacker, James Harrison and safety, Troy Polamalu that Roethlisberger has not had to win games by himself.
I have to respectfully disagree with the nay-sayers here, because the facts point to Big Ben winning games when it counts.
In the clutch.
According to Wikipedia, Roethlisberger has the most comebacks, 19 and game-winning drives at 25 than any player in the first seven years in the league. The most memorable was his game winning touchdown pass to wideout, Santonio Holmes in Super Bowl XLIII.
Pittsburgh would win it’s sixth Super Bowl, 27-23.
Since being drafted 11th overall out of Miami (Ohio), Roethlisberger has passed for 22,502 yards, thrown 144 touchdowns and tossed 86 interceptions. Roethlisberger has also completed 63.1% of his passes, post a QB rating of 92.6 during his eight years under center for the Steelers.
Among his many accomplishments are holding the NFL record for most wins by a QB his first five years in the league at 51, the highest QB rating ever by a rookie at 98.1, being the youngest QB to ever win a Super Bowl at the age of 23 and being only the second QB, along with Peyton Manning to post three games of a perfect QB rating.
Roethlisberger also has a 10-3 record in the postseason and is one of only four quarterbacks to have four starts in the post-season in his first four years in the league, the others include, Bernie Kosar, Eli Manning and Donovan McNabb.
Not bad for the much less-heralded QB of the class of 2004, which includes Phillip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers and Eli Manning of the New York Giants, stats also prove that Roethlisberger is the head of the class.
Roethlisberger surpasses both Manning and Rivers in winning percentage at 71% as opposed to Manning’s 59% and Rivers 67% and the second category is Super Bowl wins, where Roethlisberger has two as opposed to Manning’s one and Rivers zero.
For a majority of Steeler Nation, Super Bowl rings count more than mere stats.
While many debate that Roethlisberger is not the same class as Tom Brady, his two Super Bowl wins along with his heart-stopping fourth quarter comebacks gives Big Ben a solid argument to be mentioned in the same breath as one of the greats.
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