Ben Roethlisberger, A Most Underrated Elite Quarterback

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Ben Roethlisberger is on pace to win his first NFL MVP after getting off to the best start of his career. Photo from http://www.steelers.com

When you are a two time Super Bowl winning quarterback for one of the league’s most storied franchises, the leader of the most explosive offense in the NFL, and the only quarterback who can do what you do, you would think there would be much more respect shown for all of your accomplishments. You would also think there would be a few national commercials as well, but you’d be wrong. For Ben Roethlisberger and all of his greatness, it has been only recently that he is being mentioned as an elite NFL quarterback, and it seems to be with reluctance. Maybe it’s because of his off the field issues from a decade ago, or the stigma of having played in a run first offense for his first 8 years, but either way, Ben is in the upper echelon of all-time elite NFL quarterbacks whether his critics like it or not. Simply put, no other quarterback has ever been bigger, tougher, or could do the things that Ben routinely does to extend plays. Traits that would make him elite in any era.

That fact that Big Ben has lasted this long is a testament to his size and strength, which was severely put to the test by the system ran by former offensive coordinator, Bruce Arians. Between a system where the receivers ran deeper routes, and playing behind a porous offensive line, Roethlisberger literally took a beating for 5 years. In an environment where most quarterbacks would barely survive, Ben thrived. As frustrated and rattled as Tom Brady gets when he’s pressured and bumped during a throw, it is highly doubtful he would have accomplished nearly as much as Ben did under the same circumstances. As spectacular as Big Ben has been, it wasn’t until Todd Haley’s arrived in 2012 that Ben has truly been allowed to flourish. Aside from running an offense that has helped keep Ben upright, it was designed around his strengths, which has brought out his true potential.

From 2007-20011, Ben Roethlisberger took his game to the next level under offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. During that time he led the Steelers to two Super Bowls, winning Super Bowl XLIII, and truly becoming the play extending threat we all know him to be. During those five years, Ben threw for 19,100 yards, 113 touchdowns and 57 interceptions. He took a beating though, getting sacked 268 times, and average of 53.6 sacks per season. Rather than being lauded for the success and big plays he created under alot of duress, Ben was mostly criticized for the sacks he took. The credit mostly went to the defense for the Steelers’ success. Todd Haley arrived in 2012 with the idea of using a quick passing game to help keep Ben healthy and upright. In the 3.25 years under Haley, Ben has thrown for 17, 872 yards, 122 touchdowns, and 51 interceptions. He’s only been sacked 114 times, an average of 35 a season, down 20 per season from the Arians years. Ben had his best year as a pro in 2014, throwing for 4,952 yards and 32 touchdowns.

Unlike Peyton Manning, Drew Brees or Tom Brady, who have come from passing oriented offenses throughout their careers, Ben Roethlisberger has only recently been given the opportunity to air it out over the last few years. Still he ranks 12th all-time in yards passing with 44,491, 12th all-time with 287 td’s, and 11th all-time with a 64.1 completion percentage. Ben is ranked 9th all-time with a quarterback rating of 94.4, and tied for 6th with 7.9 yards per pass attempt. Ben is also ranked 11th all-time in yards passing per game with 252.8, ahead of Brett Favre, John Elway, and Joe Montana by a wide margin. If he maintains his current pace, Ben will pass John Elway in touchdown passes this season (300), and in passing yards next season ( 51,475 ). In what has to be one of the quietest Hall of Fame resume’s of all-time, Roethlisberger has quite a few notable accomplishments.

Ben Roethlisberger Facts:

The only quarterback in NFL history with two 500 yard passing games.

The first quarterback in NFL history with two 40 completion games.

Set an NFL record with 12 touchdown passes in two games.6 against the Colts, and 6 against the Ravens.

Tied with Peyton Manning as the only two quarterbacks in NFL history to throw at least 15 touchdown passes in each of their first 13 seasons.

Second fastest quarterback in NFL history to reach 25,000 yards, behind Kurt Warner.

Reached 40,000 passing yards in the fifth fewest games in NFL history.

Has the highest October home winning percentage in NFL history (.947).

Has eight career 400 yard passing games, and has thrown for 300 yards in a Steelers record 48 games.

One of only four quarterbacks in NFL history to win 100 of their first 150 starts.

Ben Roethlisberger is unlike any other quarterback in the NFL and possesses a rare skill set that has allowed him survive and thrive in Pittsburgh the way no other quarterback of his era could do. It’s hard to imagine Brady, Manning or Brees having the same type of success that Ben Roethlisberger has had under the exact same set of circumstances as Ben has played under, however, it is easy to imagine Ben having similar success in the situations of those above mentioned quarterbacks. While Ben may not care how those outside the locker room and coaching staff view his accomplishments, it is about time he starts to receive the recognition and respect his achievements have earned him, which is  currently being the best quarterback in the NFL going back to 2014.

 

 

 

 

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