Ben Roethlisberger: Taking One for the Team

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Ben Roethlisberger: Taking One for the Team
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

After being drafted No. 11 in the first round of the 2004 NFL draft, in only five seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger has taken the team to three AFC Championship games and two Super Bowls.

He has won both of the Super Bowls he made it to. He is an amazing 8-2 in the playoffs, and everybody knows that is when winning matters the most.

Yes, there are several QBs that may win more in the regular season, but that is like caring who is winning a marathon at the half way mark. In the end it’s inconsequential. And there are QBs with better stats, but again, stats mean nothing if they don’t result in accomplishing the team’s goal of winning it all. 

He has been unquestionable and undeniably the most successful quarterback over the past five seasons. No other QB has won 2 Super Bowls in that same time period.

So with all of his success, why would I entitle this article... “Taking one for the Team?"

The reason is...

A lot of people argue that Ben fell into a great opportunity when he was chosen by the Steelers. And I agree, but those same people give the defense all the credit for all the wins. That is simply ridiculous. His reputation as an elite QB has suffered because of the team he plays for.

The Pittsburgh Steelers struggled for many years prior to Ben’s arrival with plenty of great defenses, suffering loss after loss in the playoffs. That’s if the team even made it there at all. To now say it is the defense that is the cause of their success is illogical. History itself has proven otherwise.

In the 2001 season, Pro Bowler Kordell Stewart was the quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. They were the No. 1 ranked offensive rushing team, had the No. 1 ranked defense in the league, and were the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. They DID NOT win the Super Bowl.

What do the “defense wins it all theorists” think of that? Please explain. Why didn't the defense win it for Kordell?

In the 2005 season, Ben Roethlisberger was the quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers. They were the No. 5 ranked offensive rushing team, had the No. 4 ranked defense in the league, and were the No. 6 seed barely making it to the playoffs. They DID win the Super Bowl.

And, of course, now it’s said the defense won it for Roethlisberger? It doesn’t make any sense. If it’s truly defenses that win it, why didn’t the three better defenses win it for their quarterbacks?

What separated the fourth best defense from the three better defenses? How and why did the Steelers win with the No. 4 ranked defense and Ben, yet lose with the No. 1 ranked defense just a few years earlier with Kordell? The 2001 team led by Kordell even had the benefit of the best running game in the league.

The “defense theory” alone certainly does not explain it, yet there are people who try and say that is the reason...way too many people.

How could the No. 4 ranked defense be given total credit for winning it all? They cannot.

I will tell you who made the difference, Ben Roethlisberger!

It takes more than defense alone, as Arizona and their 17th ranked defense led by Kurt Warner proved last season. It is heart, desire, and determination that matter once you get to the playoffs, at the center of which is the quarterback.

In the 2008 season the Steelers did enter the playoffs with the No. 1 ranked defense, but in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl that same No. 1 ranked defense gave up 16 points and the lead to Arizona.

Big Ben was called upon to pull out another of his amazing fourth quarter comebacks, on one of the biggest stages in the world. He did. He led the Steelers on a do or die final drive, resulting in a touchdown. Regaining the lead and resulting in a victory, in spite of his defense faltering.

In spite of the defense faltering! The Steelers did not win the Super Bowl because of the defense! Ben and the offense determined the winning team on their final drive. 

Chalk up No. 2 for Ben and No. 6 for the city in which he plays. He simply wins. No matter how many people talk down on him, there is no denying that.

You can not blame a guy for the type of team he was drafted by. Yet people do. The Steelers are a run first and run often team.

There are plenty of times inside the 10 yard line where Ben could pass for a TD, but instead it is run in. The number of times that happens alone would easily double the number of TDs Ben throws, if he were allowed to throw it in instead of handing it off.

People look at Manning, under his dome out of the weather, and on his team tailor made to give a QB great numbers statistically, and they wonder why he is so great. I just explained why. It is as simple as that.

It is impossible to fairly compare any two QBs. The situations in which they play are often so different that one will be at a disadvantage in the comparison. And that is the case with Ben.

It is also why I think Roethlisberger is taking one for the team...

A lot of people look down on him because of his statistics. Of course he plays for a team that is run oriented. It makes no sense to overlook that fact but some people do. It would take some sort of grading curve for him to be judged fairly.

He knows that he will probably never have the numbers that he would have, had he played for teams like Indy or New Orleans, but he is ok with that. He also knows that will keep him from many pro bowl selections, he would otherwise make as well. He is ok with that also.

He accepts the fact that if he continues to lead his team to playoff victories, he will eventually be recognized and inducted into the Hall of Fame. That is a certainty.

He must feel that Super Bowl rings are better than the statistics he could have playing somewhere else. I agree Ben, very wise thinking.

Anyone who has ever played organized team sports knows that winning is much more satisfying than having the best statistics, much more. It is the people who never played that seem to question that.

He is the ultimate team player. He has a never say die attitude that he displays nearly every single time they have the ball. His confidence in his ability to get it done has spilled over and has been contagious to every player on the team and every fan in Pittsburgh.

Every fan has a sense of where their team stands, and I tell you this much...before Ben it was hit and miss, even with our No. 1 ranked defenses. We were never sure what team would show up, or if we even had a chance. Sometimes I knew we would lose.

Since Ben arrived, I am confident every game that we have a great shot of winning. It is confidence that he has brought back to this team, a team that was lacking in leadership at that position. And it is definitely NOT something that can be measured statistically.

Well, other than this statistic, the two Super Bowl victories since he arrived. : ) Soon to be three!

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