Nov 10, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) passes the ball against the Buffalo Bills during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Steelers won 23-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Where Does Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger Rank Among NFL QB's?

After my post about the top five most irreplaceable Pittsburgh Steelers for the 2014 season, in which I had Ben Roethlisberger ranked number one, the comment section got into a pretty heated debate about where Ben stands among other quarterbacks in the NFL.  I put Big Ben at number one on the irreplaceable list because if he gets hurt this year for a significant amount of time, the Steelers season is doomed in my opinion.  As for ranking Big Ben against the rest of the NFL’s starting quarterbacks I think it is impossible to rank him outside of the top ten.  To be more specific, I have him ranked sixth behind Peyton Manning, Thomas Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and Andrew Luck.  The rest of my top ten with Ben at six is Russell Wilson, Phil Rivers, Colin Kaepernick and Matt Ryan.

The problem with ranking quarterbacks is the first and pretty much only question anybody asks is, “How many Super Bowls has he won?”  Which is a valid question I suppose.  You want to have a quarterback that can win the big one.  But just because you have gotten to the top of the mountain shouldn’t mean you are considered among the elite automatically.  For example Joe Flacco is not among my top ten.  His playoff run to Super Bowl XLVII was incredible.  Flacco deserves all the credit in the world for getting the Ravens their second Super Bowl championship.  However that was a four game stretch of great football.  Last season he threw 19 touchdowns to 22 interceptions.  That’s not a top ten quarterback in my book.  Same with Eli Manning, who has two Super Bowls, but last year he threw 27 interceptions.  I know the Giants aren’t as good as they were when they were winning Super Bowls but there is no excuse to throw 27 interceptions in todays NFL.

I think the way to rank a quarterback is to have a good balance between the ability to win the big one, stats, and potential.  I have Big Ben at six and I think that’s pretty reasonable.  Most of us can agree that Peyton, Brady, Brees, and Rodgers are the top four in whatever order you want.  Those are the best.  Ben might be fifth right behind them but those guys all put up great numbers year after year.  I know that is not necessarily Ben’s game.  He has famously said many times that he will never win an MVP award because his stats are never outstanding.  Last year however he threw 28 touchdowns to 14 interceptions.  The 28 touchdowns were only four shy of his career high.  Keep in mind he put up those numbers without Maurkice Pouncey blocking for him and he had just lost Mike Wallace to free agency. The 2013 Steelers did not have the talent of the 2005 or 2008 Super Bowl teams. But unlike Eli Manning, Ben had great numbers and almost got his team into the playoffs.

Andrew Luck being ahead of Roethlisberger is due to Luck having the potential to be the best quarterback in the league in a few years.  Right now the Indianapolis Colts aren’t all that good of a football team, yet Luck has taken them to the playoffs in his first two seasons.  He has the size, brains, and arm strength to be a force in this league for a long time.

For the rest of my top ten, I refuse to rank any of those guys above Roethlisberger.  Russell Wilson has a ring already but I think the Seahawks are just such a dominating team, it’s more about the team than it is Wilson or the quarterback position.  Rivers and Ryan are very good quarterbacks but they have down years or at least seasons that make you scratch your head.  Kaepernick and you could throw in Cam Newton if you want are physical studs but it’s still a little bit unknown if they can be great quarterbacks.

There you have it Steelers Nation.  Do you agree with my ranking of six for Ben Roethlisberger?  Should he be ranked higher or lower?

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  • John Beckwith

    I think potential, stats and “ability to win the big one” are great ways to measure a QB’s ranking–having said that I would put Newton ahead of Ben–physically let’s say they are equal (different styles, but physically dominant), “potential” edge to Newton obviously, stats are pretty even each way, and ability to win the big one goes to Ben.
    The ability to win the big one is where I doubt Ben–I just don’t see it anymore. He’s on the wrong side of 30, he threw a career high last year, but only rushed for 1 TD and 5 First Downs.
    I hope I’m wrong but his career trajectory is at a plateau I think. I mean consecutive 8-8 seasons without a playoff appearance is average, everyone RIPS Andy Dalton but he’s in a similar situation as Ben. One great WR, good defense and in the same division.
    Think about it.

    • ron cuglietta

      Its ridiculous to put Dalton in the same sentence as #7. He has never won a playoff game let alone a Lombardi. And what does rushing for only one have to do with ability? Lets gauge Bens numbers this year with a revamped offensive line

      • John Beckwith

        In that respect then you are clearly saying Eli and Ben are equal because they both have two rings–and Eli is EVEN BETTER because he beat an undefeated team.
        You’re not seeing the whole picture, I don’t think Andy Dalton is better I am just saying it’s closer than people think.

        • ron cuglietta

          We have seen a dramatic drop in Eli’s play the past couple of seasons where as I haven’t seen that with Ben, if anything he is becoming a smarter qb.The qbs ahead of #7 have all had dominant lines where Ben has had to run for his life

          • John Beckwith

            I just think there are a lot QB’s perched on a level right underneath Ben (Kaepernick, Wilson, Ryan, Smith, Foles) who could eclipse Ben this year. If he trends down, and they all have plus seasons, how can you possibly disprove that they aren’t better?

          • ron cuglietta

            Of the qbs you mentioned the only one that I see as being at Bens level is Matt Ryan. And the rumors about him on a down turn have started. Wilson is lucky enough to be on a very good team. Kapernick has potential so does Foles. Alex? Smith has never had big numbers. Ben has had off field issues in the past otherwise he would and should be top tier. This year should show everyone where he belongs now that he has an oline

  • Joshua Giovannone

    I’d agree Ben is likely 5 or 6. I wouldn’t put Luck ahead of him purely based on his potential but he could have a better season and I ser why you did. If we are talking up to this point though, Ben is five and luck can be anywhere 6 through 10 with the guys likely in that region.

  • ron cuglietta

    Ben hasnt had the offensive line that the qbs ahead(?) of him have had in the past. But things will be different this year. Marsha Brady has always had a great oline to help him increase his numbers. What would Brady have done with the anemic front five of Steeler teams of the past.

  • Ernesto Fiori

    I think it’s folly to put a guy like Luck ahead of Ben based on potential. He hasn’t accomplished what Ben has and may never do so. One could say that the moves the Steelers made in the off season along with getting some players back to full strength gives Ben more potential in the short term than Luck. It’s so much of a team game that one has to figure that into the equation. Does Archie Manning ever make anyones top ten QB list of all time?

  • Giahead33

    This writer is high as he$$ if he thinks Luck should rank higher than Ben!!! Wilson was just lucky enough to land on a good team, he’s not as special as everyone in the northwest thinks!! 1. Brady 2. P Manning 3. Rodgers 4. Brees 5. Roethlisberger…..and that’s the bottom line!!!

  • Craig

    Unlike Baseball that has individual Off./Def. stats for each player, Football is totally a team sport w/ the Off. affecting the Def.- through TOP and the Def. having effect on the Off. by the turnover ratio. I think the only way to rate players is to fantasize different players from different teams in their positions on the other teams. EX; Brady QB for Pitt and Ben for NE and how you think they would perform. Like during Joe Greens playing years he was double teamed on nearly every play enhancing the LB positions quality of play so you can argue that say Bill Burgey may have been a better player in Pitt. at LB than Lambert just as I believe that Tommy Nobis was better than Butkus but was stymied playing in Atlanta. I believe that Bens QB value/ playing ability hasn’t even come near his potential as a field general because he has ben hampered by his Off. coordinators style and been more a basketball (as in getting bounced on the field) than a quality properly used QB. T truly believe he is going to excel beyond anybody’s expectations in the future- and I am nor have ever been one of his big supporters as person of character or his play-calling choices. This year GO BEN, GO STEELERS!

  • Pap Fitz

    I have difficulty seeing Luck above Ben just because of “having the potential.” Based on what is and not what might be, Ben has been near the top as long as he has been under center. Yes, Flacco’s numbers are somewhat a “fluke” and the Raven’s aren’t near as good. And remember, Rivers made it to the playoffs last year because of the error in officiating. It was sad to see that seal Pittsburgh’s fate, especially after being so much better then second half of the year. If the officials had done their job right, Rivers may not even be in the top 15.