Super Bowl XLV: Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers Vie To Be Top QB in NFL

Tim GrovesCorrespondent IJanuary 26, 2011

Sometimes hyperbole can get in the way of rational logic and thinking. Whoever shines the brightest on the biggest stage is often heralded as the latest and greatest, something that isn't always true.

But make no mistake about it: Whoever wins the Super Bowl in two weeks will truly be the greatest quarterback in the NFL. Either Aaron Rodgers or Ben Roethlisberger will successfully leap Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Tom Brady into the top spot.

You could argue that I'm merely doing what every other writer or pundit has done for the past 44 years.

Drew Brees was considered the best quarterback after he led the Saints on an improbable Super Bowl run last year.

Roethlisberger had his time as the top QB in the league after his game-winning drive against the Arizona Cardinals two years ago.

Even Eli Manning jumped into the top quarterback conversation after "The Catch" against an undefeated New England Patriots team at Super Bowl 42.

So what makes this year's situation any different?8

10-2. That's Ben Roethlisberger's record as a starting quarterback in the playoffs. Peyton Manning is a pedestrian 9-10, while Drew Brees clocks in at only 4-4.

Only Tom Brady's astounding 14-4 mark comes close to matching Roethlisberger's current pace.

At the end of the day, Roethlisberger wins. He doesn't always have the gaudiest numbers or the flashiest plays, but he finds a way to get the job done.

The former Miami of Ohio quarterback has made a name for himself out of buying time in the pocket and saving broken-down plays. Time and time again you will see a busted play result in a first down or positive yardage simply because Big Ben has the ability to keep those plays alive.

You might not see a ton of 300-yard, four-touchdown performances out of Big Ben, but he wins, which should always be the most important factor when determining a quarterback's clout.

A win at Super Bowl 45 will give Roethlisberger three rings at the age of 28, putting him in a truly elite class.

Standing opposite of Roethlisberger will be the upstart Aaron Rodgers, who had been charged with the task of replacing Brett Favre in Green Bay.

It's impossible for him to have done a better job.

His flashes of brilliance began to emerge during those few games when he got to relieve Favre of his duties. He showed incredible accuracy, power and decision making, which have all translated into a Super Bowl run for the Packers.

This year alone he threw for 3,922 yards and 28 touchdowns, good for sixth and seventh in the league respectively, while throwing only 11 interceptions.

Those numbers seem pretty good, but you wouldn't consider those worthy of the best quarterback in the league. However, that was all accumulated in 13-and-a-half games.

Rodgers was knocked out of two games with concussions and was forced to miss another game entirely when his symptoms hadn't subsided. When you average almost 300 yards a game, like he did, he missed out on 600 potential yards of offense.

However, what's even more impressive about the former Cal quarterback is the fact that he did all of this with absolutely no running game to speak of.

Currently the Packers have Brandon Jackson, John Kuhn, Dimitri Nance and James Starks listed on their roster at running back. Their combined yardage coming into the season? 654.

The Packers have constantly proven over the course of the year that they just cannot run the ball, yet defenses still haven't been able to contain Aaron Rodgers. He still gets his yards and the Packers still rack up points.

Like Roethlisberger, Rodgers also possesses that uncanny ability to scramble when forced. Unlike stationary targets like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees, when pass protection breaks down, Rodgers still has the ability to make something happen.

Could Roethlisberger/Rodgers turn into this decade's Manning/Brady rivalry?

Both of them are just about to hit their prime, as they stand at 28 and 27 years old respectively. Both combine their uncanny accuracy with deceptive speed to turn games in their favor—and both of them win.

Needless to say, this year's Super Bowl, and the next four or five years, are going to be very exciting if you live in Pennsylvania or Wisconsin. Scratch that—it's going to be exciting for NFL fans across the nation.

When the top five quarterbacks in the league are Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers, you're in for some awesome football.


    Foster Has Weed Case Dismissed

    NFL logo

    Foster Has Weed Case Dismissed

    Adam Wells
    via Bleacher Report

    Burns Thinks New Anthem Policy Bullies Those Who Protest

    Pittsburgh Steelers logo
    Pittsburgh Steelers

    Burns Thinks New Anthem Policy Bullies Those Who Protest

    Mike Florio
    via ProFootballTalk

    TE McDonald Primed for a Breakout Season?

    Pittsburgh Steelers logo
    Pittsburgh Steelers

    TE McDonald Primed for a Breakout Season?

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    With New Policy, NFL Still Doesn’t Get It

    Pittsburgh Steelers logo
    Pittsburgh Steelers

    With New Policy, NFL Still Doesn’t Get It

    Master Tesfatsion
    via Bleacher Report