Big Ben's 'It' Factor

Lee TawilContributor ISeptember 11, 2009

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 10: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs as he passes the football against the Tennessee Titans at Heinz Field on September 10, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers defeated the Titans 13-10 in overtime. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)

When Ben Roethlisberger was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2004, he was slated to be the third quarterback on the depth chart that season behind Charlie Batch and Tommy Maddox. But as fate has it, Batch went down with an injury in preseason, and Maddox got injured during the second game of that season, and thus forced the rookie Roethlisberger to take over QB duties. And just like Tom Brady before him, Ben Roethlisberger seized the opportunity to the fullest. He went on to win every game during that regular season, an unprecedented feat, and he eventually lost in the AFC Championship game to Brady and the Patriots. At that point in time, everyone had the utmost respect for what Roethlisberger had done, but they realized that the Steelers did not put too much on his shoulders being that he was a rookie. He was more of a manager of the game, but what more can you expect out of a rookie? He did what he was told, and he did it to perfection.

Flash forward to present day and one thing still remains from Roethlisberger’s rookie season; his ability to win football games. What has changed though, is the way he leads the Steelers with his arm and his ability to escape the pass rush. He is no longer the team manager, but the engineer that propels the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense down the field. They might not be the most high-powered offense out there, but they are definitely effective when push comes to shove.

Especially in late game situations, there is no QB that I would rather have lead my team than Ben Roethlisberger, and he has the numbers to prove it. It just seems like if there is a close game, and the Steelers have the ball, there is no chance that they are not going to score and win the game. It works like clockwork by now. I have seen Roethlisberger do it so many times that when I had to choose between the Titans or Steelers for the opening game, I chose the Steelers strictly because of Big Ben’s clutch factor. I just knew it would be a battle of good defenses for three and a half quarters, but when it came down to it, Ben would lead them on a game-winning drive. Of course a Hines Ward fumble made things a little more interesting, but they got it done in overtime nonetheless. Point is, when the pressure is on, Roethlisberger is as good as anyone. And that right there, is what separates the men from the boys. Just ask the newest member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, Michael Jordan, how important being clutch truly is. No doubt he would say that it is number one.