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?