NFL football is a team game. Individuals do not win many football games on their own. A total team effort is needed if a team is going to be successful in the NFL.
The team, however, is made up of individuals. There are statistics that are kept for individuals, and based on those stats, some people choose to define the worth of an individual player.
In some cases, the players with the best stats (Dan Marino, Jim Kelly), do not lead their team to the promised land and have a total of 0 Lombardi Trophies in their trophy case. That does not mean that they were not great players, only that the teams that they were on were not the best in football.
Then there are those players that play on great teams. Ben Roethlisberger comes to mind. Because of the talent around him, people are quick to question how great of a player he is based on his stats.
The Hall of Fame does not have a specific criteria for enshrinement. Some players that are in the Hall of Fame have never won a Super Bowl. Many players that have won multiple Super Bowls are not in the Hall.
So, what does a player have to do to be included in the discussion of being Hall of Fame-worthy? And, why are so many people quick to dismiss an individual based on the numbers that are in the record book?
The quarterback position is the most visible on the football field. They are the generals; they are the leaders of the offense.
For a QB to be worthy of the Hall of Fame, he has to produce wins.
In his six years as the starting QB of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Roethlisberger has compiled a record of 60-26. That is an average of 10 wins per season, to only four losses.
Roethlisberger also has the most wins ever to start a career, with 15. He was undefeated as a starter in his rookie season with 14 win, and won his first playoff game to bring his total to 15.
Add to that the fact that Roethlisberger currently has a playoff record of 8-2, with a 2-0 Super Bowl record.
For those people that only want to look at stats, you need to consider ALL of the stats and not just the ones that you choose to look at.
Career Completion: 63.3 percent
NFL Rookie of the Year: 2004
For those of you that want to compare Roethlisberger's stats to the likes of Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady, you have to realize that his numbers could not possibly be equal to any of theirs due to the fact they have all been playing longer than Roethlisberger.
If you want to compare stats to a player in NFL history that is considered one of the best ever, the closest comparison is one Joe Montana.
Yards Per Attempt
Touchdown Percentage Per Pass
Montana: 5.1 percent
Roethlisberger: 5.3 percent
Montana: 63.3 percent
Roethlisberger: 63.3 percent
Montana: 65 percent
Roethlisberger: 69 percent
Montana: 2.6 percent
Roethlisberger: 3.3 percent
Yards Per Completion
Fourth Quarter Comebacks
Montana: Nine postseason games
Roethlisberger: 10 postseason games
Montana: 7-2 record in postseason
Roethlisberger: 8-2 record in postseason
Montana: 0-2 record on the road in postseason
Roethlisberger: 3-0 record on the road in postseason
Montana: 2464 passing yards in postseason
Roethlisberger: 2239 passing yards in postseason
Montana: 60 percent completion percentage in post season
Roethlisberger: 61.9 percent completion percentage in post season
Montana: 7.6 yards per attempt in postseason
Roethlisberger: 8.0 yards per attempt in posteason
Montana: 17-12 TD to INT ratio in postseason
Roethlisberger: 15-12 TD to INT ratio in postseason
Does ANYBODY think that Joe Montana does not deserve to be in the Hall of Fame?
As quickly as people point to the performance of Ben Roethlisberger in Super Bowl XL, much is forgotten about the Playoffs that led to Super Bowl XL.
The Steelers entered the 2005 postseason as the sixth seed in the AFC. In their first game, the Steelers defeated the AFC North Champion Cincinnati Bengals. Roethlisberger threw for 208 yards in a 31-17 victory.
Against the Indianapolis Colts, the top seed in the AFC, Roethlisberger only threw for 197 yards but made a play at the end of the game that saved the Steelers' season.
After a Jerome Bettis fumble on the goal line, Roethlisberger made a game-saving tackle at midfield, that preserved the Steelers' lead and won them the game.
Against the Denver Broncos, Rothlieberger threw for 275 yards, and three first-half touchdowns to eliminate the Broncos and send the Steelers to the Super Bowl.
The play of Roethlisberger in Super Bowl XLIII SHOULD HAVE won him the Super Bowl MVP. Roethlisberger led the Steelers, who were down by three with just over two minutes left in the game, to a victory. The drive was one for the ages, and Roethlisberger grew into one of the elite passers in the NFL.
The IT factor is hard to describe, but Roethlisberger obviously has IT.
IT is something that can not be taught. IT is playing great under pressure. IT is the ability not to fold under pressure. IT is the ability for your team to look at you, regardless of the situation, and believe they can win. IT is the difference between elite and good.
Ben Roethlisberger has IT.
If anyone were to ask if Ben Roethlisberger would be in the Hall of Fame if he were to retire today, the answer would obviously be NO. Though there would be some consideration for his two Super Bowl victories, at this point, I don't believe he would make it.
The Hall of Fame is not for people that only play a few years. In my opinion, a player needs at least 10 years of better than average play to be considered for the HoF.
If his first six seasons, Roethlisberger has a QB rating of 98 or higher in four of his six seasons. One of those seasons, 2006 (75.4), was after his motorcycle accident and his emergency appendectomy prior to the first game of the season.
The other season was in 2008, and that rating was 80.1.
Some people will say that, due to the off the field issues that Ben Roethlisberger has had over his career, he does not deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.
There are many men in the Hall of Fame that have had issues off the field. Michael Irving, Joe Nameth, OJ Simpson, and many others, have had legal troubles during and after their induction.
The Hall of Fame is not intended to reflect a player's off-the-field life, but his life between the lines. The Hall is based on a player's performance, and that is the only way people can fairly determine who should be in the Hall.
Love him, or hate him, few people can question the ability of Ben Roethlisberger. He is the unquestioned leader of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
As great as the Steelers have played thus far in 2010, they will be a different team once Big Ben returns to the lineup.
No longer will teams know that the Steelers are going to be running the ball 65 percent of the game. Teams that decide to stack eight men in the box will have to deal with man-to-man coverage against the rocket arm of Big Ben.
No longer will the defense have to hold teams to 14 points or fewer in order for the Steelers to have a chance to win.
Because of Ben Roethlisberger the Steelers are going to be a considerably better team—one that will have a legitimate shot at winning the Super Bowl in 2010.
IF Roethlisberger leads the Steelers to another Super Bowl victory, he will then be the winner of three Super Bowls. There is NO other QB in the history of the NFL with three Super Bowl victories that is not in the Hall of Fame.