Thanks to becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 500-plus yards twice in a regular season game and thanks to his franchise record-setting 522-yard passing and six touchdown passes in a 51-37 shootout against Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts at Heinz Field, Roethlisberger is not only a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer, but is now officially an elite quarterback.
As a Browns fan, this writer still cringes back to the day in the 2004 NFL Draft, when Cleveland passed on the Lima, Ohio-native and former Miami of Ohio standout for Miami Hurricanes tight end, Kellen Winslow II.
While Winslow II is now out of the league, Roethlisberger has two Super Bowls, is the youngest QB to ever win a Super Bowl, is now is the first to ever pass for 500-plus yards twice, including the fourth highest regular-season game total ever (522).
So, why now do you call Big Ben “elite”?
As I wrote in an earlier #INSCMagazine column here, it’s easy to often get caught up in all the hype for proverbial media darlings such as Brady, Manning, Brees, Aaron Rodgers—and even Eli Manning—that it’s often easy to overlook Big Ben.
Taken in the same draft class as Eli and Philip Rivers, aside from Eli, Rivers has never guided the Chargers to the Super Bowl, and Big Ben already has two Super Bowl rings on his hand.
Maybe it’s the case of East Coast bias and wanting to see another Manning shine.
Having lived in the Steel City for over a decade, this writer can attest that Big Ben seen universally as the second greatest QB behind Bradshaw.
Personal off-the-field issues and trade rumors may be a reason many outside of The City of Champions would ever consider Roethlisberger “elite”, but at the end of the day, it’s all about wins and Super Bowls.
He may not have the dashing GQ-good looks of Brady or the media savvyiness of the Manning’s or even A-Rod, other than Brady and Eli, the rugged mountain-man Roethlisberger has more rings than Brees, Peyton and Rodgers.
Some may also choose to nit-pick Roethlisberger’s exploits due to playing in a Madden-style passing league and having the benefits of a physical defense and strong running game, but when the pocket does collapses and there’s less than two minutes remaining, there is no quarterback more dangerous outside the pocket and able to extend plays than No.7
Case in point, his game-winning touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes in Super Bowl, XLIII.
Also consider that at the age of 32, Big Ben is still in his prime and has at least another three to four years to add another Super Bowl to his Hall-of-Fame resume. As I stated earlier, love him or hate him, regardless of your football loyalty, it is time to officially call Roethlisberger one of the best.
Move over Manning, Brady, Rodgers, Brees and Eli, you finally have some company in Roethlisberger.
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