NFL: Proof That Ben Roethlisberger Is as Good as Peyton Manning and Tom Brady

Nick SignorelliSenior Writer IFebruary 13, 2011

ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06:  Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers throws a pass against the Green Bay Packers during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. The Packers won 31-25.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

As a proud member of Steelers Nation, I like to read articles that are both pro and con when it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

One of the biggest discussions this time of year focuses on past performances, and who is how good. The biggest conversation regarding the Steelers would concern one Ben Roethlisberger.

Is Ben Roethlisberger elite?

Ben Roethlisberger is not in the company of Manning and Brady.

The Steelers' success is not because of Roethlisberger, but in spite of it.

ANYONE could win the Super Bowl with a defense like the Steelers have.

These are articles and comments Steelers fans have to deal with.  Allow me to answer each of those questions for every fan asking them.


ANYONE could win the Super Bowl with a defense like the Steelers have.

The Steelers' success is not because of Roethlisberger, but in spite of it.

From the time Terry Bradshaw retired in 1983 until Ben Roethlisberger arrived in 2004, the Pittsburgh Steelers went to a grand total of ONE Super Bowl. The Steelers lost that game to the Dallas Cowboys, in large part because Neil O'Donnell was so horrible.

In those 21 years, the Steelers' defense was ranked in the top 10 nine times. Since Roethlisberger joined the Steelers, he's had a top 10 defense all seven years.

Before Ben, the average-rated defense was 4.3.

Since Ben, the average-rated defense was 3.6.

In the nine times prior to Ben, the Steelers went to one Super Bowl and lost.

In the seven times since Ben, the Steelers went to three Super Bowls and won two.

No one can say that ANYONE could win behind the Steelers' defense or that Ben had nothing to do with it.


Ben Roethlisberger is not in the company of Manning and Brady.

This discussion really has a lot more names in it than just Manning and Brady.  Drew Brees is occasionally thrown into it, and Philip Rivers.

There used to be names like Tony Romo and Carson Palmer thrown in there as well, but Ben has so far proven—even to the haters—he is better than them.

They will soon be replaced with names like Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan, but again, Ben will prove to everyone he is better than them as well.

Back to Manning and Brady.

It is so funny to hear people say Ben is not in the company of Brady or Manning. Consider:

1. Fantasy numbers. Ben will never come close to the fantasy numbers Manning or Brady puts up because that is not Steelers football. We get the lead, we run the ball.  Brady is on a team with a coach who keeps him in games with a 30-point lead and still allows him to throw the ball. Manning, well, he calls his own plays.

2. The things Ben Roethlisberger does that are just SO much better than Manning and Brady, you can't measure. You can't measure clutch, just like you can't measure how someone avoids tackles like Roethlisberger does.  No one in their right mind would say either Manning or Brady could even come close to doing what Roethlisberger does to extend the play.

That is why people who don't normally watch the Steelers really have no clue as to how great Roethlisberger is.

Also, compared to the people the Colts and Patriots put around their QB, Ben gets nowhere near the attention.

Over the last few years, Ben has taken more sacks in the NFL than any other QB. Do you ever see Manning or Brady get hit like that? No, and here is why.

There are a different set of rules in the NFL for Manning and Brady. I watched Ben Roethlisberger get punched in the face, with a broken nose as a result. Peyton Manning gets his head TOUCHED by an Eagles lineman and gets the flag. Tom Brady gets bumped in the leg by the Ravens' Terrell Suggs, and jumps up and down pointing at his leg to the referee as if to say, "I'm Tom Brady, NO ONE can touch me!"

Players are going to come at Roethlisberger CONSIDERABLY harder than they do either Manning or Brady.

Manning is in a system that requires him to put up amazing numbers if the Colts are going to have a chance.

He threw for 4,700 yards in 2010, and Brady threw for 3,900; both are considerably more than Ben's total. He threw for 3,200 yards, even though he missed his first four games with a suspension.

Had Ben played in all 16 games, he was on pace for 4,200, which is more than Brady, but 500 less than Manning. Roethlisberger's yards per attempt averaged 8.3, while  Manning averaged 6.92 (Brady was 7.93).

Facing the fact that Manning and Brady are going to throw the ball more per game than Roethlisberger, how could they possibly throw for less yards?

Brady had an outstanding year in 2010, winning the NFL MVP award. He earned it. His touchdown-to-interception ratio was an insane 36/4; that means he threw nine TDs to every INT. Manning, on the other hand, was not quite so fantastic.  He threw 33/17; not even 2/1 in the TD/INT category.

How did Roethlisberger do? 17/5.  Over the course of the other four games, Roethlisberger averages out to 21/6, more than 3/1.

Who was the best by the QB Rating? Manning's was 91.9, Brady's 111.0. What was Ben Roethlisberger's? 97.0. Though not as good as the NFL MVP, still better than Manning.

Those stats really don't count for much, at least by way of fantasy football.

One of the other points to consider is their ability to bring their teams back when they are down in the fourth quarter.

As two of the best in the NFL, Manning and Brady have both done a great job at this.  Manning has an amazing 35 comebacks in his 12-year career, an average of just under three per season.  Brady has 23 in nine seasons, averaging out to just over two per season.

Where does Ben Roethlisberger fit into this equation? 19 in seven years, for just under three per year. Roethlisberger is just as good as Manning and better than Brady here.


Is Ben Roethlisberger elite?

Honestly, if you've read this entire article with an open mind, there is no way you can say Roethlisberger is not in the elite category.  In too many important stats, Roethlisberger is almost as good/as good/better than Manning and Brady.

There are things Ben Roethlisberger does where he may not be better than Manning, but he is close, just as with Brady.  Add to that the categories that are not measurable, and Roethlisberger is actually better than Manning and Brady.

This article is not meant to say Ben Roethlisberger is CLEARLY better than Manning or Brady; this article is to say that he is as good as either or both of them.

The reality is, outside of Steelers Nation, people are going to hate on Ben Roethlisberger. 

For one, he is the starting QB of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Most people who are not Steelers fans, HATE the Steelers. They are NEVER going to give the Steelers, or Ben Roethlisberger, the credit he deserves simply because he plays for Pittsburgh.

Not only that, Roethlisberger's personal issues that have been in the headlines over the last two years, well-founded or not, have given people even more of an excuse to hate him and the Steelers.

But at the end of the day, between the lines on the football field, there are going to be 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL every week. For those people who cheer for any colors other than black and gold, they have reason to hate Ben Roethlisberger. He normally beats their team, so they want to downplay him every chance they get.

Steelers Nation, we get the joy of knowing that we have the best at what he does, playing the most important position on the field.

Ben Roethlisberger is elite.