The Pittsburgh Steelers have a two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback, but here’s why Ben Roethlisberger has never made first-team All-Pro.
When Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger finally decides to hang up his cleats, he won’t do so without an extensive list of accomplishments. Through sixteen NFL seasons, Roethlisberger has compiled 56,545 passing yards and 363 touchdowns to 191 interceptions, according to Pro Football Reference. He’s a two-time NFL passing leader and has earned six Pro Bowls.
However, one thing that Ben Roethlisberger has not accomplished (and probably never will) is earning a single first-team All-Pro appearance.
When you think about players who are among the best in the league at their position, they usually have All-Pros attached to their name somewhere along the way. Take some current and former Steelers for example. Troy Polamalu was widely regarded as one of the very best safeties in the NFL. Despite 6 of his 12 NFL seasons cut short due to injuries, Polamalu earned 4 first-team All-Pro appearances that helped set him on the fast track to the Hall of Fame.
Other Steelers considered among the best in the league at their positions include players like David DeCastro, Maurkice Pouncey, James Harrison, Antonio Brown, and Alan Faneca. Each of these players earned multiple first-team All-Pro appearances throughout their careers – careers that will all end up being shorter than Roethlisberger’s.
So why hasn’t Roethlisberger ever been a first-team All-Pro player? Mostly because he’s never been the very top player at his position.
In most years, it’s pretty easy to leave him out of contention. In his first three years combined, Ben threw for just 52 touchdowns and 43 touchdowns in 41 games and didn’t come close to earning All-Pro honors. From 2008 to 2012, Roethlisberger never threw for more than 26 touchdown passes while throwing for at least 12 interceptions three times.
Ben’s best stretch of play has come late in his career where he earned four straight Pro Bowls from 2014-2017. Unfortunately, Pro Bowls aren’t the same as first-team All-Pro honors.
When you really go back and break it down season-by-season, there where two of sixteen years that Roethlisberger could have potentially made a first-team All-Pro.
The first came back in 2007. Though Ben threw for 32 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 15 games, he managed just 3,154 yards and a 65.3 completion percentage. Roethlisberger was 3rd in touchdown passes and his touchdown to interception ratio was better than Peyton Manning’s (36 to19). Unfortunately, Tom Brady threw for 50 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, and 4,806 passing yards in 2007 and ran away with the honors.
The only other year we could have argued first-team All-Pro from Roethlisberger came in 2014 – arguably the best season of his career. Ben tied with Drew Brees for the league lead in passing yards with 4,952 while throwing for 32 touchdowns and 9 interceptions on 8.1 yards per attempt. Unfortunately, there was a lot of great quarterback play that season. Six quarterbacks threw for more touchdowns – three of them with the same or fewer interceptions as well. First-team All-Pro honors ultimately fell to Aaron Rodgers who had 40 total touchdowns and 5 interceptions in 2014.
We all know that Ben Roethlisberger has been one of the league’s most valuable and most important players for more than a decade. However, it’s very hard to make the case that he was, at one point or another, the single best quarterback in the league. That is why he hasn’t earned a first-team All-Pro in his sixteen-year NFL career.