Why The Steelers Won the 2004 Draft With Ben Roethlisberger


October 28, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws a pass against the Washington Redskins during the first quarter at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Steelers won 27-12. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

I will place any of amount of money that both announcers during the game mention that Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger are both from the 2004 Draft Class, both have two rings with Manning’s MVP award to boot and that they’re not sure who’s the better quarterback. I’d place less money, but still a decent amount, that during pre-game shows and during the game, Manning gets more votes.

Except then they’re all wrong. Very very wrong. Ben Roethlisberger is the better quarterback and it shouldn’t even really be a question.

First the stats. Eli has attempted 634 more passes than Ben and yet Eli has just 1,314 more yards.  Ben has a much higher completion percentage (63.4% to 58.7%) and 34 less interceptions. Ben also has the much higher rating of 92.8 compared to Eli’s 82.6. Those are huge differentials considering Ben was in a “run first game manager” position his first few seasons. Oh yeah, let’s talk about that first season. 16 consecutive wins? One of the greatest rookie seasons in NFL history? I can’t believe people forget that was the season that Ben lead the Steelers to huge victories over the then undefeated Pats and Eagles, the Super Bowl participants, in back to back weeks.

So next, let’s look at how each physically plays the quarterback position. Both guys are good sized guys with some mobility but Ben’s additional 30 pounds are what make him a physical wonder at the position. Ben adds more zip on the ball, has the better deep ball, and is more elusive in the backfield than almost any other player. His pure strength makes his the most difficult player to bring down and his improvisation is the best in the league. Once again, Ben is superior to Eli.

The final aspect experts will swing Eli’s way is “clutch gene.” They’ll point to the two Super Bowls and his most recent comeback against the Redskins. But people won’t mention is Ben’s comeback against Baltimore in the Steelers’ most recent AFC Championship. They won’t mention that Ben’s last second TD to Santonio Holmes in XLIII was the second latest game winning score in NFL postseason history. They won’t mention that according to Pro-Football Reference, both guys have 28 game winning drives to this point.

I think it’s pretty clear: Ben is by far the better quarterback. Stats prove it, physically he’s more dominant, and just as clutch as Eli. But that’s not what you’ll hear this weekend. Just take heart in knowing that you’re smarter than all of those talking heads.