Ben Roethlisberger: Underrated?
Total Pro Sports – Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger should be called Rodney Roethlisberger or maybe Ben Dangerfield because he doesn’t get any respect. After all, he has won 2 Super Bowls, was the 2004 Rookie of the Year and has more games in his first five seasons than any other quarterback in NFL history. Why is he not included in the NFL elite?
The Steelers’ quarterback position is not a glorified position because the playbook is run heavy. The Pittsburgh offense only passes when necessary. That is until the large lanky signal caller from Miami University of Ohio burst into the Steel City. Every since that Sunday in September 2004 when he trotted on the field in Baltimore to replace an injured Tommy Maddox, “Ben Mania” spread through the Pittsburgh faithful.
Upon his arrival the Steelers have appeared in the places in all but one season, 2006. The infamous off-season motorcycle accident marred his season. He was criticized more for the accident than he was praised for his play on the field. Was there nothing good to be said about him? After all, he only led his team to a Super Bowl in only his second year in the league the year before. Since then, the media and football fans bailed on the young quarterback. With Ben out of the picture the Steelers missed the playoffs.
Today, the league’s elite quarterbacks are known simply as Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Tony Romo in Dallas gets more press than Roethlisberger, despite self-destructing in big games. Yet Ben soldiers along by winning 52 games in his first five seasons, snapping the previous record of 48 held by Tom Brady, Dan Marino and Otto Graham. Two of those victories came in the NFL’s biggest game: The Super Bowl.
Roethlisberger even admitted that his performance in Super Bowl XL was marginal at best. He vowed to redeem himself in Super Bowl XLIII. He kept his promise by completing 21-of 30 for 256 yards and a touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes with 30 seconds to play to take the lead. However, he did have one interception off a deflection in the second quarter.
When measuring greatness in the National Football League, statistics is the tool used to gauge greatness. That is why quarterbacks Payton Manning, Tom Brady and the perennial Brett Favre are at the pinnacle of their position. Ben’s statistics are not impressive. But shouldn’t the most important stat be wins. No one has won more games in a young career, only one player, Tom Brady has had more playoff wins and he is tied with Brady in Super Bowl victories through the first five years of a career. While talking about wins, come from behind wins are very important. Of the Steelers 15 victories, 6 were the result of 4th quarter or overtime drives efficiently executed by the Steelers’ captain.
Finally, Webster’s Dictionary defines intangible as incapable of being perceived by the sense of touch, as incorporeal or immaterial things. That translates to things that are not defined by stats, in football terms. Ben Roethlisberger manages and leads his team ferociously. He extends plays with his quickness and sheds tacklers by using his six-foot-five, 245-pound frame. He takes the blame when he makes mistakes. He doesn’t point the fingers at others. He credits others for success while being humble as to his abilities. These are qualities that are needed in a winning quarterback. Big Ben has these qualities and it shows on the field as he wins game after game.
So the next time you are talking around the water cooler talking about quarterback greats. Make sure you mention Ben Roethlisberger. With rookie of the year honors, an all-pro selection, 10.4 wins a year and 2 Super Bowl rings; he deserves your overdue respect.