Sorry Ben, you're just not elite yet.

Even With Win, Ben Roethlisberger Not On Level of Elite Quarterbacks


Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, and perhaps Aaron Rodgers. That’s the list of elite quarterbacks playing in the NFL today. They are the top tier. The guys in the level right below them are pretty good, but they’re not elite.

In this second tier are guys like Jay Cutler, Matt Ryan, and Ben Roethlisberger.

Sure, Roethlisberger is heading into his third Super Bowl appearance, but there’s more to being an elite quarterback. When we’re talking about a quarterback being elite, we’re talking about what he does as an individual.

Winning obviously goes into that, but this season more than any proved that Roethlisberger is just another guy on an elite team.

For the first month of the season, Roethlisberger was suspended. That’s four games the Steelers would have to make it without their “franchise quarterback.” Most, including myself, thought those four games would put them in a hole from which they could not pull themselves out. After all, they already had to compete with the Baltimore Ravens and there was no way the Ravens would allow the Steelers to rebound from a 2-2 or even 1-3 start.

But after starting the season 3-1 without Roethlisberger, it was becoming evident that the entire roster and the scheme was the reason for all the winning Pittsburgh has enjoyed. Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch didn’t make a ton of mistakes, but they also didn’t have to make plays for the team to win.

So why exactly would anyone think it’s any different for Roethlisberger?

Don’t get me wrong, he’s obviously a skilled play-maker and the team is better with him, but they’ve shown that they can win without him or, as was the case in their first Super Bowl win with him in 2005, in spite of him.

Without Peyton Manning, where are the Colts? Without Tom Brady, where are the Patriots? Without Philip Rivers, where are the Chargers? Without Drew Brees, where are the Saints? And without Aaron Rodgers, where are the Packers?

The Patriots have shown they can win without Brady, but they missed the postseason without him. But should any of those other quarterbacks go down, it’s season over for their respective teams.

So yes, Roethlisberger is a very good quarterback, but to put him in the same company as Brady or Joe Montana as I’ve seen suggested is ridiculous. We don’t judge safeties, running backs, linebackers, or receivers on Super Bowl wins — if that were the case, Charles Haley would have been a first-ballot Hall of Famer — so why is it that’s the only thing we talk about when it comes to quarterbacks?

Tags: AFC AFC North Ben Roethlisberger Football NFL Opinion Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl XLV Tom Brady

  • stanley lepiarz

    i agree. It is very hard to put Big Ben in the “elite” category, even though he does have 2 SB rings. However, in those two victories, he has only 1 TD and 3 INTs. And when that touchdown was in overtime, which says that in 8 qtrs of the biggest games of his career he hasnt scored any tds. If it werent for Santonio Holmes amazing catch, Ben may not have any TDs at all in the big games…yikes…i will say that he is definitely a good quarterback, but with an elite defense crushing the opposition most of the time, he only does what he has to.

  • shutd0wn

    Horrible horrible points you made.

    Peyton Manning had an entire offense developed around him. From the moment he was drafted, they have done nothing but put skill position players around him. I mean look at his TE? Ever seen him try to block somebody? LOL. Did I mention they play in a climate controlled dome 8 games out of the year?

    Tom Brady, again a man in a system. A system that works. A system that is polished. Tom Brady 5 years ago, to Tom Brady today, nothing has changed. Still the same philosophy, still the same mentality. Tom has had the comfort of going into a season and knowing his offensive mindset, his offensive gameplan and goes and perfects it.

    Then you try and compare Ben Roethlisberger to them. What has Ben had to endure? Only a complete flip in their offensive gameplan a few seasons into his development. With the hiring of Tomlin/Ariens, they took an offense built for smash mouth, an offensive line full of bulky run blockers and asked them all to stand up and pass block. And put Big Ben in the middle of all of it! That is like putting a speedy engine into a tank. The remaining parts are most likely going to have to be replaced, and slowly but surely they’re doing it. In the meantime Ben has to put up with the crap and the holes that comes with it.

    To say Ben wouldnt be successful if he had an entire offense built around him is stupid. To say Ben wouldnt be successful if he was in a fundamentally sound offense ran by a genius of a coach is stupid. I am no way saying he would be, but I am not going to be ignorant like you and say he wouldn’t be. Quite frankly I don’t know.

    However what I do know is Ben has had to be productive behinds all the bullshit Arians has thrown at him, and the amazing part is he has. He’s been brilliant amidst all the inconsistencies and head scratchers that our OC has dished out. He has been brilliant, despite not having the benefits and pleasures some of your elite QB’s have had.

    • stlinthe419

      Ben only has to get done what he needs to. He is definitely a great quarterback, but I would agree with him not being considered elite. He cant thread the ball through the defenders, like a quarterback needs to, but can turn bad plays into further yards, mainly because his size prevents an immediate tackle. He will NEVER be a role model because of his actions last year that caused the suspension. His personality when he first joined the NFL was despicable. He was very arrogant, rude, and conceited. Those are just a few of the reasons why I could never put him in the same “wagon” with QB’s like Manning, Montana, or Marino.

      • shutd0wn

        Have you watched him play? He’s had some of the best plays in NFL history with the way he threads the needle. The Holmes catch in his last Superbowl thrown in triple coverage to a spot only Holmes could catch it.

        His game winner against Green Bay in ’09 was a 30 yard strike to Wallace who was blanketed by a CB and again threw it to his back shoulder where only Wallace had an opportunity to make a play.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6vaR0nobrU

        Commenting on Ben’s accuracy is very foolish because that’s actually one of better numbers. His accuracy, completion % and yards per throw are amongst the best in the league. Even according to the haters, that’s all he has going for him, but somehow you even missed that.

        I agree Ben’s conduct in the NFL was horrible, he was a rude and disrespectful person. But conduct off the field has no bearing on how well of a QB he is on the field. I never liked the guy off the field. As a die hard Steeler fan, no one in my family is allowed to wear his jersey. But the dudes a tremendous QB, and its pathetic people try so hard to down grade him every which way possible.