Super Bowl 2011: Are Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger in the Same Elite Category?

Tony SantorsaSenior Writer IIFebruary 6, 2011

PITTSBURGH - NOVEMBER 14:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots waits in the tunnel to lead his team onto the field against the Pittsburgh Steelers on November 14, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

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If the Pittsburgh Steelers manage to win their seventh Super Bowl in franchise history Sunday, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will capture his third title. 

With the potential third ring, Roethlisberger would join an elite category occupied with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady having won three Super Bowls. 

Does this mean Roethlisbeger is as good as Brady? 

To answer that question simply: No. 

Roethlisberger and Brady are two of the great playoff, clutch quarterbacks of all-time. However, Roethlisberger's regular season stats don't match up. 

Brady has a career passer rating as 95.2 while Roethlisberger's stands at 92.5. Brady is slightly better.

But, take a look at Brady's 300-completion seasons: Brady has eight and Roethlisberger has one. 

Sure, Roethlisberger is a talented quarterback and can put up big numbers. But, Brady goes above and beyond. 

Roethlisberger is great, Brady is better than great. 

A major overlooked attribute as being an elite quarterback is taking care of the ball. Brady, over his career, has done a stellar job of keeping the ball out of the other team's hands, when Roethlisberger has been more of a typical "gun-slinger."

Brady has thrown a total of 103 interceptions in his 11-year career. Granted, Brady was sidelined for practically all of 2008 and hardly played as a rookie in 2000. So, let's say nine seasons. 

With nine full seasons as a starting quarterback, Brady averages a total of 11.4 interceptions a year. 

Roethlisberger has played seven full seasons and has thrown a total of 86 interceptions. That's an average of 12.3 interceptions a year. 

Yes, the numbers are extremely close; however, Brady gets the edge. 

Brady has played two more full seasons than Roethlisberger, and he has thrown more than 500 passes in a season six times while Roethlisberger has thrown 500 passes only once in his seven-season career. 

So, Brady had more chances to turn the ball over, which makes his average of 11.4 interceptions a year even more impressive. 

In their Super Bowl debut, both as young players in the NFL: Brady looked like a 10-year veteran while Roethlisberger looked like he was still playing at Miami University. 

In Super Bowl XXXVI against the St. Louis Rams, Brady posted a very respectable 86.2 passer rating while tossing one touchdown and no interceptions.  

For Roethlisberger, in Super Bowl XL against the Seattle Seahawks, he looked awful. Roethlisberger finished with an all-time Super Bowl-low 22.6 passer rating while throwing zero touchdowns and two interceptions. 

Roethlisberger and Brady are two of the great playoff quarterbacks and can simply described as "winners."

However, Brady, regular season and post-season, is the better quarterback. 

If I had to choose one of them to start a Super Bowl game for my team, I'd pick Brady...hands down. 

Brady has set multiple NFL records and has won in all situations; with top receivers and with NFL Europe receivers. 

Win or lose Sunday for Roethlisberger, he will never touch Brady as being one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. 


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