Which leads us to another signal caller this weekend who FINALLY seems to be getting some credit for getting his team back to the AFC Championship. Yes, it’s finally time people start realizing that Ben Roethlisberger is one of, if not THEE top QB in the NFL.
Sure, take your Drew Brees, your Aaron Rodgers, and anyone else for that matter in the NFC. the bottom line is that the best three throwers in the NFL reside in the AFC, and there’s a very real case to be made that the best one plays in Pittsburgh.
“When you talk about the Steelers, it’s always about the defense, it’s never about Ben,” said former NFL QB Trent Dilfer, who now works as an analyst with ESPN. “To me, there are five truly great quarterbacks in the league right now: Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Ben, Drew Brees and Philip Rivers. Aaron Rodgers is getting there, but he doesn’t have the championship pelts or, in Philip Rivers’ case, some pretty impressive playoff performances in conference championship games.
“You can take those five and put them in any order you want one thru five and it doesn’t matter. I wouldn’t call anyone crazy no matter what order you put those guys in. You can justify Tom being No. 1, Peyton No. 2 and Ben No. 3. You can justify Peyton being No. 1. You can justify Ben being No. 1, in my opinion. But, for whatever reasons, Ben doesn’t get as much respect as the others.”
But isn’t it about time that he does? How is this for a resume – 7 seasons, two Super Bowl rings, four AFC Title games, 8-2 in the postseason entering Sunday, Most wins as a starting quarterback in first five NFL seasons, and on and on and on.
He has a shot Sunday to again add to that resume, as with a win over the underdog Jets at home, he has a shot at a third ring in 7 seasons, tying the guy that everyone has elevated to superman-like heights in Brady, who won three in four seasons. If Roethlisberger wins Sunday and then two weeks in Dallas, that will be three rings in six seasons. Not bad.
Yes Roethlisberger has a very good supporting cast. A Hall of Fame WR in Hines Ward to throw to, a couple of solid backs over his career in Jerome Bettis, Willie Parker and now Rashard Mendenhall, and the big reason that many discredit what Roethlisberger has done in 7 seasons – a legendary defense.
The defense may be the same reason why Terry Bradshaw didn’t get all the credit he deserved when he was playing. The Steel Curtain was something that overshadowed Bradshaw, and now it seems the same thing is making the case for why Ben doesn’t get the credit he deserves.
“It’s like when Bradshaw was the Steelers quarterback and people didn’t think of him as one of the truly elite. You talk about Ben and people don’t give him his due, but then you look at some of the numbers and they’re amazing,” former Raiders QB and NFL MVP Rich Gannon said. “Then you consider that he has two Super Bowl wins already and getting close to maybe getting a third and you say, ‘Man, there’s something pretty special going on here.’ ”
So will the credit finally come if Ben and the Steelers can win the next two games? That remains to be seen, and it also probably rides on what type of games they are. If they turn into games where Roethlisberger ends up making a late play to win it like in Tampa vs the Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII, then there’s no question the debate for Roethlsiberger being the best in the league will grow stronger.
Roethlisberger has done enough to have his name mentioned among the elite, and it’s about time that it is.