There are few NFL QBs who are as polarizing as Ben Roethlisberger. He seems to be a "love him or hate him" figure. Those more prone to bring the man down demean his game by knocking him for style points, pointing to his "recklessness" or by otherwise claiming that the success he's consistently found is due to factors beyond his own contributions.
Puzzling. Puzzling, indeed.
Have his six years of on-field achievements not been enough, from his eye-popping rookie season where he broke record after record up to and including winning two Super Bowls?
Last year, before significant personal changes took me away from BleacherReport, I debated with many a fan about the quality of this fine young QB.
Anti-Ben sports fan typically have the same things to say:
- He holds the ball too long (they refusing to see that by holding the ball so long, Ben makes it more difficult for defensive backs to stick coverage on wide receivers and that this in turn creates plays - often times huge plays)
- He should learn to throw the ball away instead of taking a sack
- He should learn to take a sack (yes, that one is a head scratcher)
- He wins because of his defense
- The team can't ride his arm to victory
- If you gave Ben more attempts, like a Brady or a Manning, his numbers and ratings would fall (see his 2009 campaign now, please)
All of it has been and continues to be the same, tired, unproven arguments. So I decided words weren't enough.
Perhaps real game footage would be enough. Maybe, just maybe these fans could watch some footage and see that these very things they criticize Ben Roethlisberger for are indeed his greatest attributes and strengths.
Lawrence Taylor changed defensive football and in so doing led to teams investing heavily into premier Left Tackles on their offensive line. Bill Walsh revolutionized offenses, allowing average QBs to excel in his famous West Coast offense.
Similarly Ben may be revolutionizing the QB position. He has tremendous size (he's 5 inches taller and only 2 pounds lighter than James Harrison) which he uses to ward off tackles and drag defenders, while still being able to throw the ball. He has pinpoint accuracy on the run. His mobility allows him to evade tackles and extend plays, allowing defensive coverages to break down and receivers to get open, often for huge game breaking plays. And he's fearless. Maybe some day all QBs will be sought after in the "Roethlisberger mold," much like Lawrence Taylor prototypes have been sought after since the 1980s.
View my video creation below and decide for yourself. One thing is for sure: He is unique and different in his approach to the game. And he wins being so.