Re-Thinking Ben Roethlisberger: Where Does He Rank?

David BurnettCorrespondent IJanuary 19, 2011

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 15:  Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers drops back to pass against the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Heinz Field on January 15, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Many of us have been critical of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and for good reason.

Roethlisberger’s conduct off the field the last couple of years, particularly, the alleged assaults of two women, has been absolutely deplorable and worthy of rebuke and scorn.

He was suspended four games at the start of this season for what he “admitted” to doing with a young lady in a bar restroom last year. Though he should have been, he was not charged with a “crime” in the case.

That said, like Michael Vick, Roethlisberger insists he has learned from his “mistakes” and will not repeat them.

Okay, yeah, yeah, yeah, but what is he supposed to say?

Has he really reformed? Is he still a threat to women? None of us know for sure.  Only Ben can look in the mirror and answer those questions.

Now that I have posted my disclaimer, I’d only like to  judge “Big Ben’s” play on the field and his status as a quarterback.

And the facts are, Roethlisberger has led the Steelers to two Super Bowl championships in his seven-year career (quarterback’s always get disproportionate credit for football victories—but that’s how it goes).

And this week he is on the verge of taking the Steelers to a third Super Bowl. The Steelers play at home this Sunday against the New York Jets for the AFC Championship and the right to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.

If Roethlisberger makes it to the Super Bowl again, that will mean his playoff record balloons to a remarkable 10–2—one of the all-time best playoff records for a quarterback in NFL history.  

By comparison, Peyton Manning has a playoff record of 9–10 and only one Super Bowl victory.

If Pittsburgh wins the next two games, Roethlisberger will then match Tom Brady for Super Bowl wins with three. Big Ben will only be 29 years-old this March, leaving lots of years left to win more Super Bowls and perhaps surpass Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw.  

What will we think if Roethlisberger wins five or six Super Bowls by the time he retires? Where will he rank then in the hierarchy of great quarterbacks?

I think it means that this hulk of a passer, with a face that perhaps only his mother can love, will have to be considered one of the greatest “winners” to ever play the game—whether any of us like it or not.

No, Roethlisberger does not always throw a picture perfect pass. Yes, he often holds onto the ball way too long, sometimes taking unnecessary and vicious hits in the process. And no, his statistics are only good—not eye-catching.

But the fact is, he is rugged and tough and will run over defenders if he has to. The bottom line is that when Roethlisberger is playing, the Steelers always have a chance to win.  

It’s really as simple as that.


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