Why are people doubting Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger?

Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

On March 4th, it was announced that Ben Roethlisberger’s contract had been negotiated for him to return for the 2021-22 NFL season.

It’s official, Ben Roethlisberger is coming back to the Pittsburgh Steelers for at least one more go at hoisting up his third Lombardi Trophy. This solidifies the AFC North’s quarterback lineup as Baker Mayfield (CLE), Joe Burrow (CIN), Lamar Jackson (BAL), and Roethlisberger himself. Such news has resulted in multiple online pages taking polls, asking who is the best QB in the division, or wanting users to rank the talents from worst to first. To my surprise, many have declared Ben as the worst QB in the AFC North.

Now, surely some are just haters, looking for a rise out of particularly rowdy Pittsburgh fanatics. However, some others do appear to hold a more objective point of view. But nonetheless, I have trouble seeing why Roethlisberger’s placement within the QB hierarchy is such a hit-or-miss discussion. Are the people really going to take a crack at ignoring how well the Steelers performed last season?

No, it did not end as great as it began, but 12-4 with a divisional crown amongst rather formidable competition (while locking in at the #3 seed of the AFC playoff bracket) is nothing to be ashamed of, and as QB1, Ben certainly deserves a good amount of credit for the Steelers obtaining such feats.

Now turning to why Roethlisberger is receiving so much hate, his biggest criticisms are inconsistencies regarding his overall quality of performance, and his tendency to throw an abundance of interceptions. But how old is Ben again? He just turned 39; that is ancient by NFL quarterback standards.

Who wouldn’t be a tad inconsistent at that age? And as far as interceptions go, that has less to do with his age and more to do with how he plays the game of football. He’s a gunslinger, he always has been. And a gunslinger is bound to throw his fair share of picks. In other words, Roethlisberger has always been that way, so why is he just now getting this much scrutiny for it?

Ben can still get the job done for Steelers

My intention has been to combat the doubt surrounding Big Ben returning, and while I have no desire to be petty, I feel like I have to bring a few facts to the light about the QB competition in his division. They are the ones that Ben is being compared to, after all.

First up is Lamar Jackson. He’s fast, elusive, exciting, and can make a play where most other quarterbacks would not be able to see one. However, he has been labeled something that Roethlisberger never has, and that is a choker. He builds the hype all regular season just to stall out in the playoffs. Baltimore hasn’t even made an AFC championship appearance with him leading the brigade.

Next, we have Baker Mayfield. He is the leader of what can be one of the most explosive offenses in the entire league and even helped Cleveland break a ceiling for their franchise that the current generation of NFL fans had never seen broken before. However, how elite is he by himself? He can’t move like Lamar, he can’t rack up the passing yards like Ben. What makes him so unique beyond Progressive?

Lastly, there’s Joe Burrow, who will never hold a true standing in relevance until he gets out of the dumpster fire in Cincinnati. My point is, how can Ben be so easily, without any question, crowned the worst quarterback in a division when he just won it and still has some aspect of superiority over his counterparts?

Related Story. Ranking the AFC North QBs with Ben Roethlisberger set to return. light

Ben Roethlisberger is not an elite quarterback, at least not anymore. And I was an advocate for him to be on his merry way after his playoff performance versus Cleveland, which left him with a stat line that just screamed “Ben.” But I refuse to endorse the notion that a playoff choker, a game manager, and a 2nd-year QB on a cursed team are all superior to him, especially after he just won the division again. The vast majority of that squad he just won with will be right back with him on the Steelers roster next season. So don’t look out for Baltimore, or Cleveland, or Cincinnati (duh). Look out for Pittsburgh, because they’re looking to run it back.