Steelers, Roethlisberger Get No Love

Leo HayesCorrespondent IDecember 2, 2008

People love to hate the Steelers.

Why not? They are the most consistent playoff team since 1972, are tied in first for most Super Bowl wins at five, and appear poised to make that number larger.

When the Steelers win, ESPN will tell you it is usually because the other team made mistakes. When they lose it is because the other team "dominated" the Steelers. Even when the loss was by four points...and the Steelers were in the lead for 57 of 60 minutes.

With all of this hate floating around it is easy to point out Ben Roethlisberger, say that he is not good, that he makes mistakes, and that he frequently does things that make his team lose. This is made even easier by Roethlisberger himself as he, unlike any other quarterback, will take full credit for a loss, even if it was not his fault.

What you will hear less of is that Roethlisberger is poised to be the winningest quarterback in the first five years of his career, the youngest to win a Super Bowl, the first ever to win 13 consecutive starts (he did this as a rookie), and several others including the only quarterback to play a season after successfully stopping a car with his face.

When Roethlisberger has a bad stretch, as almost all quarterbacks have every season, people will say that he is not very good, talk of him will fade as talk of Matt Ryan, the NFL MVP ramps up. Are they joking, Ryan MVP? He is a rookie, and has eight wins, he set no records with this performance and is average at best.

In fact the only good thing about him is that he is a rookie with eight wins. Remember, Roethlisberger won fourteen his first season, and no one called for him to be the MVP.

Debates are always started about who is the best young quarterback, who will replace Peyton Manning and Tom Brady as the elite class. Roethlisberger is by far better than any other player considered for this category. 

Many people say that Tony Romo is an elite quarterback. I have actually heard ramblings of people saying he is better than Brady. Romo has never won a playoff game. That's all I need to say about that.

In fact the only other player in the running is Eli Manning. Remember for a while in New York Manning was not good. He was skittish, threw far too many interceptions, and hurt his team more than he helped it. At that point in time Roethlisberger was leading his team to consecutive AFC Championship games and a Super Bowl.

Eli has an offensive line that is probably the best in the league, whereas Roethlisberger has a line that until recently has not been capable of handling a high school team's pass rush. Manning, however, is still very good, but Roethlisberger is better.

Analysts speculate on who the toughest quarterbacks are. Surprisingly is that Roethlisberger is often absent from many of these discussions as well. Roethlisberger gets hit more than any other quarterback and he thrives. Other people in his position lead their team to ruin.

To prove my point the only quarterback sacked more than Roethlisberger last year was Jon Kitna. Kitna's passer rating was more than twenty points lower than Roethlisberger's.

This year Roethlisberger has had injuries from week one, including ones to his throwing shoulder, both hands, and more. Through this he had some poor performances. He has also had two games of over 300 yards passing and has thrown more touchdowns than interceptions. 

Roethlisberger's toughness is not just getting hit and bouncing back, he plays through injuries that would limit most player ability greatly and still does better than most of the quarterbacks out there now. He inspires his team by playing hurt, he shows faith in them by playing with the same team that has allowed him to get hurt, and through it has rallied them to play better. 

Any discussion of the elite quarterbacks absent Roethlisberger is fraudulent. Roethlisberger is clearly the most established young quarterback and with most of his career still ahead of him he is likely to win a few more Super Bowl rings.