Taking a look back on the season and getting a feel for some of the players who have brought these Pittsburgh Steelers onto the biggest stage, one player leaves a shadow on all of the others. His name is Ben Roethlisberger.
While he has been widely criticized this year for holding onto the ball too long and taking unnecessary sacks, he has dug deepest to put together any semblance of a team.
I am going to completely disregard season stats for a moment because I really think that they are meaningless. The only thing stats do is track a player's progress to the Hall of Fame and make fantasy owners happy or sad.
When you get down to the skinny of it, Roethlisberger had more check marks in the W column than any other QB in the league last season. Roethlisberger was the youngest QB to win a Super Bowl and the fastest QB to get 50 wins.
Last season, he performed miracles with what he had to work with. The reason I am not bringing up stats is because of all the X factors—drops, routes not run correctly, drops, ridiculous pressure provided by the below average O-Line, and did I mention drops?
Having watched the Steelers all year I have seen a number of TDs dropped by every receiver on the team. Adversity plagued the team the entire year, with what was said to be the hardest schedule in the NFL.
This is where I am going to get myself yelled at by multiple people.
Roethlisberger did what was necessary to win. He had a terrible O-Line, zero running game, and a sub-par group of receivers.
The Steelers have no viable deep threat this season, no matter how much they want Santonio Holmes to fill that role.
While I think Hines Ward is the best "all around" receiver and very dependable, he's not as fast as he used to be, and getting separation is few and far between.
Limas Sweed is young and doesn't get enough playing time to really hone his skills and make those clutch plays.
Nate Washington seems to play with bricks on his hands, and yet Roethlisberger still manages to make completions and I hold it all to his talents.
The reason I refer to him as the Man of Steel is two-fold:
1. He plays through injury and pain and doesn't make it an issue, and while you see him force a play or grab his shoulder/hand/knee/whatever, he never makes that an excuse.
2. I couldn't help using the Superman/Steelers tie.
But seriously, he has been sacked 49 times in the regular season and is still playing every single week. He battled through almost dying, an appendectomy, numerous shoulder injuries, and I think he had a paper cut last week.
Anyways I wrote this because I'm so tired of the Yinzer Nation beating Ben up and tearing him down. Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich are not as good as Ben. If they were, they would be starting elsewhere and not keeping the bench warm for Ben.
Ben said he thinks his play was so bad in Super Bowl XL because of the nerves. Well, I think he showed with his performance in Super Bowl XLIII that the nerves are gone and he should be regarded as one of the best playing the game right now.