The League

Michael Bean
Steelers Blogger

Michael Bean

Michael is the founder and editor of Behind the Steel Curtain.

What About Big Ben?


What a day for quarterbacks in the National Football League. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 417 yards in Pittsburgh's 27-14 victory over Cleveland, but his performance was arguably not the best - or even one of the three best - of the day. Tom Brady threw for 380 yards and six touchdowns, Drew Brees threw for four of his own during New Orleans's thrashing of the previously unbeaten Giants; and Matt Schaub, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers all turned in monster games in victory.

The NFL has clearly evolved in to a pass first league - if you can't throw the ball or defend the pass, you've got next to no chance of being competitive. So who would I want quarterbacking my team in a one-game, winner-take-all situation?

A year or two ago, I would have had to decide if I would answer objectively or if I'd be a homer and simply say Big Ben. This is Roethlisberger's 6th NFL season - the year when many quarterbacks really start to 'get it' from a mental standpoint. Even Peyton Manning (who by the way is playing as close to perfect as possible thus far) didn't quite have it all together four or five years in to his career. Same with Brees.

It's obvious that Ben has a much better grasp on what's unfolding in front of him this year. He's protecting the football fairly well, is distributing the ball nicely to his multitude of weapons, and is proving that he's much more accurate than people give him credit for (his 73.8 completion percentage was tops in the league heading in to this week). The reasons I'd take Ben Roethlisberger in a single-game setting though is his ability to keep plays alive with his legs, his fearless attitude when the game is on the line and his past history of leading his team from behind, time and time again, late in ball games. He has more 4th quarter comebacks than any quarterback in the league since 2004 - his rookie season.

There's obviously no wrong answer here. I'm tempted to say Brees because I grew up playing sports with him as a child and have been wowed by his mind-boggling accuracy since he was in the 6th grade. By the way, he's not anywhere close to the 6'1" they list him at. Maybe 5'11" 1/2. Many would point to Peyton Manning - and for good reason. As much as it pains me to admit it, Peyton is the greatest quarterback to have ever played the game. He could stand to have some more impressive post-season performances though. As for Brady? I suppose he was able to silence his doubters this afternoon, but simply because of Ben's superior mobility at this point in their respective careers, I'd have to go with Roethlisberger there as well.

By Michael Bean  |  October 19, 2009; 8:45 AM ET  | Category:  Peyton Manning , Pittsburgh Steelers , Quarterbacks , Tom Brady Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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