Ben Roethlisberger: The 1st Player Picked in Any Backyard in America

Timothy KesslerAnalyst IFebruary 4, 2011

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 23:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 and head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrate their 24 to 19 win over the New York Jets in the 2011 AFC Championship game at Heinz Field on January 23, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

To anybody who tries to claim it's a team’s defense that wins it all for certain quarterbacks...I offer you this for your reading pleasure...or unpleasure.

Quarterbacks are capable of being "elite" with average statistical numbers and are more than capable of being the reason their team wins.

Stats and big numbers don't mean everything. In fact, they mean very little when it’s all on the line.

When any given play may end the season for a team, they do not even break the surface of things that matter. This is where heart and desire are the most important factors in winning or losing.

The time will come when you have to lay it all on the line because there is no tomorrow unless you get it done. When your heart is racing, the sweat is dripping, your hands are shaking and you know it is either do or die!

Preparation and even strategy take a back seat, as instinct takes over and you got to improvise. Stats are truly meaningless in times like these. And this is where Ben excels.

I venture to say that there are qualities that are way more important than a quarterback’s stats. How about heart, drive, desire, belief?

Playoff atmosphere alone can make the best statistical quarterbacks shaky. Being able to control your nerves...making them work for you and not against you. Stepping up or not stepping up.

It’s nice having a quarterback whose greatest attributes lay in his leadership qualities and his ability to pull out victories. And that is exactly what the Pittsburgh Steelers and their fans have in Ben Roethlisberger.

Think about this for a second and really consider it.

Once a team makes the playoffs, it doesn't make any sense to say a team’s defense is the only reason they win. Nearly every team in the playoffs has a good enough defense to win games, or they wouldn’t have been good enough to make the playoffs.

The differences in "physical ability" between the teams' defenses are truly not that great. They are all drafted professionals on the best teams the NFL has to offer. It takes an entire team effort to win any game, and that becomes even truer in the postseason.

What makes more sense is it becomes more mental rather than physical...with the most important player being the quarterback. The team that believes the most in their quarterback and his ability to get it done is the team that will win most of the time.

It takes a great quarterback to win in the playoffs. And Ben does that more than any other quarterback in the league. Throw the big numbers out the window. Forget all the statistics. He simply wins.

He is 10-2 in the playoffs. He has taken the Steelers to four AFC championship games and won three of them. He has taken them to two Super Bowls and won both of them. And now is playing in his third Super Bowl, with a chance to win three out of the past six!

He has taken his team to the conference championship game or the Super Bowl at least every other season starting with his first. How many quarterbacks can you say that about? Yet most people still do not consider him "elite"...come on.  

When you have a quarterback that instills such a high level of confidence in his players and gives 110 percent every down, his whole team will step up and follow his lead. That is the main purpose of any quarterback.

Every player must play for something bigger than himself—play for the guy next to him. A quarterback’s main purpose is not to break records.

People tend to forget that and rely solely on stats to determine the best quarterbacks. There is so much more to it than numbers alone...and No. 7 is the perfect example.

Ben makes his teammates believe they are going to win, and then they do!

People simply don’t want to believe that a quarterback is capable of inspiring his teammates enough to lift their games. But it happens all the time.

It’s that magical part of football, like playing in the backyard with friends on a Saturday afternoon. The things that make football a great game, like heart and love for the game, team chemistry as opposed to team standings. Stats are meaningless at this point. 

There once was a time, long before fantasy football and so much importance being placed on numbers and statistics, that love for the game and a person’s heart were the qualities that made heroes.

A time when Knute Rockne inspired his teams with great speeches and a pure love for the game. A time when numbers were simply the icing on the cake, when winning determined "the best of the best."

Teams with quarterbacks who have the biggest hearts and most desire, who can sell that belief to the rest of their teammates...those are the teams that will win it all, regardless of any numbers, stats or seeding.

So keep your big-stat quarterback, I’m more than glad the Pittsburgh Steelers have Ben Roethlisberger. He would be taken first in any backyard in America.

He may not have the best statistics; he just has what it takes to win and nothing is more important than that.


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