After a rather mediocre game by Ben Roethlisberger, in which he threw two interceptions (one of which was returned for a touchdown), a big question is raised: Is Ben Roethlisberger, despite his two Super Bowl rings, an elite NFL QB?
For those who do not believe he is one of the elite (top eight to ten) quarterbacks in the league, where is the evidence?
Yes, Roethlisberger was hindered by the sexual harassment allegations that led to a four game suspension to start this season.
Yes, he did throw two crucial interceptions in the biggest game of the season.
However, if you look at his career as a whole, it is hard to find someone who has had as much success as Roethlisberger in such a short amount of time.
He finished this season (albeit after missing four games) with a 97.0 quarterback rating, fifth in the league (behind Brady, Rivers, Rodgers, and Vick).
He also has the ability to run, as he ran for an average of 5.2 yards per carry. This mobility allows Roethlisberger to extend plays using his feet. He is almost a better quarterback when he is rolling outside of the pocket, scrambling away from defenders.
The biggest reason, however, that Roethlisberger is an elite quarterback is his body of work.
In his seven seasons in the league, the Steelers haven't finished worse than 8-8. While this can be attributed to his strong supporting cast, today, more than ever, teams "live and die" by their quarterback.
He is the youngest quarterback in NFL history to win two Super Bowls, and he has played in 13 career postseason games, with 19 touchdowns.
So how does he compare to the rest of the quarterbacks in the league today?
Thanks to his MVP season, Tom Brady is the best quarterback in the league, followed by Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers (who, after his victory in Super Bowl XLV, has joined this Mount Rushmore of great quarterbacks).
On the next level, Roethlisberger, Phillip Rivers, and Eli Manning are all on the cusp of becoming top tier quarterbacks. Mark Sanchez is another name that is commonly popping up in "elite quarterback" discussion, but he needs a few more seasons under his belt in order to join this discussion.
So, all in all, Ben Roethlisberger is an elite quarterback in the league today thanks to his Super Bowl victories and his ability to perform in the clutch.
Although he may not have pulled through in Super Bowl XLV, Big Ben has consistently put his team in position to win and will continue to do so for many years to come.