Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger now ranks ninth in NFL history for career passing yards after moving ahead of Pro Football Hall of Fame QB Fran Tarkenton on the all-time list Sunday during the team's season opener against the Cleveland Browns.
The Steelers announced Big Ben moved passed Tarkenton's total of 47,003 yards:
Pittsburgh Steelers @steelers
Ben Roethlisberger has surpassed Fran Tarkenton (47,003) for the ninth-most passing yards in NFL history, now with 47,015. https://t.co/YeKndWxq6T2017-9-10 19:23:35
Tarkenton accumulated his gaudy numbers in an era long before high-powered passing games took center stage in the NFL.
The University of Georgia product was named the league's Most Valuable Player for the 1975 season and earned nine Pro Bowl selections in 18 years split between two stints with the Minnesota Vikings and five seasons with the New York Giants.
In 2013, the former quarterback told Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press he'd put his success up against any signal-caller in history when factoring in the circumstances.
"I feel like I can outplay any of the quarterbacks that ever played," Tarkenton said. "Go look at my record. Go look at my record in that era and what I did, the results that I got from passing and rushing. ... In my mind, I played better than anybody that has ever played the position."
It's a legitimate argument for any quarterback who played before the days where QBs regularly put up more than 500 passing attempts in a season.
That said, it doesn't take away from the accomplishment of Roethlisberger, who's put together a terrific resume that should land him in the Hall of Fame alongside Tarkenton in the future.
How much higher Big Ben can climb in passing yards will be determined by how much longer the 35-year-old Ohio native decides to keep suiting up.
In July, he said a combination of factors, including research into the long-term impact of head injuries, would play a role in his decision-making process after the 2017 season, per Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
"I've been blessed to do this a long time," Roethlisberger said. "I think it's just seeing my kids growing up, and in the offseason I love getting to spend time with them, and then I come here and football season just has to take up so much of your time. Even when you get home, I try my best to turn it off when I walk in the front door. I think I do a pretty good job of that but it still consumes you in a way.
He added: "Just all those things combined—being healthy, being able to play catch with my kids. I feel good mentally, I know this new study that came out that 90 percent [of NFL] players' brains who were studied had CTE. There's a lot of scary things, and I think my wife would be OK if I hung it up, too."
Looking ahead, Roethlisberger may have trouble catching the New York Giants' Eli Manning since both remain active, but Warren Moon (49,325 yards) is next up among retired quarterbacks.