Now With Two Rings, Is Big Ben Elite?

February 6, 2009 at 7:23 am Leave a comment

big-ben

What does it take to be considered an Elite quarterback in the NFL? How do you get thrown into the same category as Peyton Manning and Tom Brady? Is it Super Bowl victories? Is it passing yards? Is it MVP awards?

To me, an Elite quarterback is a guy that can go to the worst team in the league (i.e. Lions, Rams, Chiefs of last season) and change that team into a serious deal. For example, take Peyton Manning and put him on the Detroit Lions. Do the Lions still finish winless? No.

Take Tom Brady and put him on the Rams roster? Do the Rams still finish last in their division? I don’t think so.

So what would happen if you put Ben Roethlisberger on the Rams? The Lions? The Chiefs?

In my opinion, Ben Roethlisberger (love him or hate him) is an Elite quarterback in this league and here’s why:

1.) He’s a Winner – Simple, I know, but really think about this one. Big Ben shows up and gets it done, no matter the circumstances. Take his first Super Bowl for example, Roethlisberger had a horrible game (9-21, 123 YDS, 2 INTs) with a Super Bowl-worst 22.6 quarterback rating. But, Big Ben converted EIGHT 3rd downs including a 3rd and 28 that set up the Steelers’ first touchdown. Roethlisberger doesn’t look at the stats, he looks at the score. Whatever it takes, however much it takes, Big Ben gives you an opportunity everytime he takes the field.

2.) He Isn’t Pretty – This is more of an analyst’s standpoint on why Big Ben is NOT Elite and it goes somewhat hand-in-hand with my first argument. But it’s true, many people think that Big Ben isn’t Elite because he doesn’t throw the ball as pretty as Peyton and Brady. But let it be known, just because Manning’s jersey stays cleaner than Big Ben’s doesn’t make Ben any less of a quarterback. Big Ben doesn’t have the mechanics of Peyton, he doesn’t have the pocket presence of Brady, but he completes his passes and gets his team down the field. Big Ben may not be a Fantasy God, but he is “pretty” in his own ways.

3.) Play the “Switch” – I have a theory. Switch the quarterbacks from Super Bowl XLIII and see if the outcome changes. For instance, take Roethlisberger and put him on the Cards. Now take Kurt Warner and put him on the Steelers. Do the Steelers still bring a trophy back to Sixburgh? I say no. Santonio Holmes, of course, deserved the MVP hardware but a strong case could be made for Big Ben. It was Big Ben that gave Holmes those nine receptions, right? The game-winning catch was a pass that had to sail just perfectly over three defenders and into the deep corner of the endzone. When Holmes bolted for 60-yards, it was Big Ben that scrambled for his life and got the ball to him. On third downs, it was Ben that ran around like a chicken with his head cut off and tossed a ball that only his receiver could catch. Warner couldn’t do that, any of that. Big Ben wins Super Bowls.

4.) Toughness – Arguably the toughest player, let alone quarterback in the game today. Peyton is tough, we know this from his consecutive game record. But Big Ben plays with injuries EVERY game. Concussions, tears, strains, pains, pulls, aches, you name it, Big Ben can play through it. And this whole toughness-factor leads into the reliability of a team’s quarterback. I don’t know about you, but I want confidence in a guy that I know will come out and play whether he feels great or he’s bleeding out of his ears.

Again, I understand that some hate the Steelers and others love them, but let’s look past the black and gold jerseys. Ben Roethlisberger is an Elite quarterback in this league because of his ability, his leadership, and his mentality. You can make an argument for your favorite quarterback if you’d like and totally disagree with my argument for Big Ben. But please take these tidbits into account when brainstorming your nominee: Ben Roethlisberger has an incredible 19 fourth-quarter comebacks. He has been in the league just five years and has led his team to the playoffs in four of them. He has a career playoff rating of 87.2. He is 8-2 in the playoffs overall. And did I mention he has two Super Bowl rings?

And for the record, I’m not a Steelers fan or a Roethlisberger freak. I enjoy rooting for the underdog (in this case, Big Ben) and I like the gritty mechanics and nothing-matters-but-winning mentality. Therefore, I support Big Ben.

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