We're obsessed with rankings.
Everything and everyone has to be placed in a single-file, linear order. Reasons for placement in those lines are sometimes for valid reasons, such as statistical achievement, difficulty to defeat and individual talents. Others appear to be similar to those used by high schoolers in selecting their Homecoming King.
ESPN allegedly polled 32 people, coaches, general managers, scouts and an executive, asking them to rate quarterbacks on a scale of 1-5 (five being the worst) with the goal in mind to establish tiers for each one, along with individual rankings.
Mike Sando of ESPN led the project, and had this as his summary for Roethlisberger:
One of the offensive coaches placed Rivers and Roethlisberger in the top tier. He noted that Rivers wins with his mind while Roethlisberger wins with his physical abilities. Several GMs said they thought Roethlisberger had declined into the second tier over the past couple seasons. "If you were there in Pittsburgh, you saw him run the no-huddle, you saw the command, you saw him run and make plays," a coordinator said. "Other people will not think as much of him. He is a very good quarterback, able to get himself out of tough positions."
Said one GM: "Ben plays big-boy football -- and regardless of what you think, he knows how to win the game."
He wins games, not polls. Perhaps that's Roethlisberger's legacy.
Not that it matters in the eyes of the Almighty Poll. With the usual suspects, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers making up the first four spots, and Andrew Luck coming in fifth, Phillip Rivers topped Ben as well.
This can be broken down hundreds of different ways. In the end, if anything, it shows just how many high-end quarterbacks there are in the NFL if a player the caliber of Roethlisberger is in the so-called "second tier."