Throwback Thursday – Steelers vs. Giants, December 18, 2004

Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger (Photo by Tom Berg/Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger (Photo by Tom Berg/Getty Images) /

In 2004, both the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Giants drafted their franchise quarterbacks.

The Steelers selected Ben Roethlisberger out of Miami (OH), the New York Giants, this week’s opponent, got NC State’s Philip Rivers, and the still-in-San Diego Chargers picked Eli Manning from Ole Miss.

No, that wasn’t a failure in copy editing on the part of this website.

Eli Manning did not want to play for the Chargers:

"“[Manning’s agent] told me that Archie wishes that we do not select Eli and that they think he would be a good fit in New York (with the Giants),” [Chargers general manager A.J.] Smith said in 2004, via the San Diego Union Tribune. “We understand his position and certainly understand his interest in New York, but we will do what we think is the best for the franchise.”More from Still CurtainSteelers news: Brian Flores odds to land HC job, no projected compensatory picks, and moreWhy Jordan Addison to the Steelers is a good idea4 reasons Steelers would have been embarrassed in the NFL playoffsThe easiest cut the Pittsburgh Steelers will make in 2023Steelers news: Rashard Mendenhall calls out Big Ben, Brian Flores interviews for HC job, and more"

After a threat from Manning to forgo the NFL in favor of law school, the Chargers picked him and then traded him to the Giants for Rivers, the fourth overall pick.

Manning and Roethlisberger met at Giants Stadium on December 18, 2004. Big Ben went 18 of 28, throwing for 316 yards and a touchdown, and the Steelers pulled off a 33-30 win despite two interceptions from Roethlisberger.

Roethlisberger was joined in the passing compartment of the box score by Antwaan Randle El, who threw a touchdown pass in his only completion of the game and contributed another touchdown receiving. Jerome Bettis scored on the ground, and Jeff Reed was 4 for 4 on field goals.

Coach Bill Cowher after the game, quoted in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

"“We had a couple of picks today, but generally [Roethlisberger] looked pretty good,” coach Bill Cowher said.“He has been making good decisions with games on the line,” Cowher said. “In the fourth quarter, he has a feel for the game and an understanding of the game and he manages it well.”"

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Manning, for his part, was 16 of 23 for 182 yards, 2 touchdowns, and an interception.

The Steelers take on the Giants to kick off the 2020 season Monday night at 7:10 PM at MetLife Stadium.