Dear Steeler Nation: I'm Not Out to "Bash" Ben Roethlisberger

Ryan MichaelSenior Writer IIIJune 5, 2009

There have been a number of things said about me over the past few days regarding my treatment of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger. While many understand the premise of the latest articles I've written, others have misinterpreted the intent and believe that I'm out to get Ben Roethlisberger.

Now I'm not exactly a big fan of Ben Roethlisberger, nor do I care for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

But as far as their fans go, I have nothing against them because they are a passionate group of people.

One has to expect that if something unfavorable is said about their quarterback, they're likely to come out in droves to defend him and I respect that.

Never the less, I encourage anyone who once thought that I have "bashed" Ben Roethlisberger to re-read my articles and think about the message I was trying to send.

I assure you that messege wasn't that I think Ben isn't a good quarterback.

Ben Roethlisberger is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. I've thought very highly of Ben since he came to the NFL in 2004 and became an immediate success. You don't have to care for the team to respect their players.

I've discussed the concept of "clutch" and used Roethlisberger as an example because it's the one that was likely to be the most fresh in everyone's minds. I went into greater detail to express my opinion that Kurt Warner played a better Super Bowl than Ben Roethlisberger.

Keep in mind that I never said Ben played a bad game.

Roethlisberger played a very good game and led one of the more impressive last-minute drives that I've seen in recent memory. I've never tried to take that away from him.

I examined the value of clutch because I feel it is an concept that many people have a tendency of over-glorifying.

The best example I could give would be using my own quarterback to put under the microscope.

One of the greatest memories for Colts fans was the 18-point comeback against the New England Patriots in the 2006 AFC Championship game. Never before or since has any quarterback in league history come back from such a deficit in any championship game or Super Bowl.

After Peyton Manning helped lead that comeback, people were quick to point out that he "got over the hump" and that his later Super Bowl victory solidified his place in history.

Winning the Super Bowl and beating the Patriots to get there were some of the greatest moments I've enjoyed since becoming a fan of professional football.

What I give Peyton credit for is winning two important games against the number-two and number-one ranked defenses respectively that year. But with that being said, I wouldn't view Peyton much different had the Patriots held onto their lead and knocked Manning out of the playoffs.

Winning the Super Bowl was a great acheivement for the Colts as a "team" and an organization as a whole.

I value Manning's career and appreciate his body of work because of how well he has managed to perform over a long period of time.

I'm beginning to get off track, back to my treatment of Ben Roethlisberger.

There is a very big difference between "bashing" a certain player and explaining why another player (I used Kurt Warner as an example) performed at a higher level despite the fact that the game didn't result in his favor.

The main purpose being to put a greater emphasis on "team" sports and try to bring a greater understanding to the contexts that effect the end results of NFL games.

What Ben Roethlisberger did as an individual in 2007 was amazing.

He had a great season that year that no one could take away from him. Unfortunately, the rest of his team didn't play quite at the level that he did so despite them having an impressive season, they had no Lombardi Trophy to show for it.

Last year, the team dominated their opponents (especially the defense) while facing the league's most difficult schedule.

Ben as an individual didn't play as well as he did in 2007 but since the rest of the team played better than they did the previous year, they were good enough to win it all.

That's not a knock on Ben, that's just the reality of the situation.

I'm not trying to take anything away from him on account of the fact that he played with the league's top defense, you just have to understand the impact an entire half of the team can have on your chances of winning when they play at the level that the Steelers defense did last year.

How many playoff games has Ben won without playing with a top-ten defense?

Zero by my count.

So why is it that people view a statement like this as a knock on Ben instead of being a huge compliment to half of the entire team?

Ben hasn't even made it to the playoffs when the Steelers didn't have a top-ten defense but he has won two Super Bowls when they have.

There isn't a defense that I respect or fear more than the Steelers, that's why it meant so much to see my Colts be able to play so well against them last season.

So to reiterate my point, I don't hate Ben Roethlisberger or the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Do I think that there are a number of quarterbacks better than Ben? Sure, but I also feel that there are a number of defensive squads better than my Colts.

I call it like I see it and I apologize to anyone if my opinions manage to insult or offend anyone along the way because that is never my intent.