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Ben Roethlisberger = Rodney Dangerfield

1st Place, AFC North
111.9 QB Rating
66% Completion Pct
20 TD / 6 INT
217 Passing Yards Per Game

What are these? They are the 2007 stats of one Ben Roethlisberger at the halfway point. Pretty good, no? Well, actually, no, according to a still-large pool of sports media members.
I've been very outspoken on the national perception of Roethlisberger, but at the midpoint of the season, I feel the need to speak out once again. Yes, I know the analogy about opinions, and I know they really don't mean anything. But as an objective football/Steeler fan, there just seems to be an injustice going on here that greatly annoys me.
First comes an email yesterday from a reader named Ethan, who is familiar with my Ben Soapbox:
"Don, you would love the Mike and the Mad Dog show that's on now. They've spent all afternoon debating the merits of Eli vs Big Ben. Mike said that if you polled NFL GM's, about 50% of them (and maybe more) would take Eli. They concluded that Ben isn't even one of the top five qb's in the league. They like:
1. Brady
2. Manning
3. Palmer
4. Brees (!)
5. Favre
This really ruffled the feathers of the New York faction of Steeler Nation, so M & MD have been taking angry phone calls all afternoon."
Then comes a segment by Mel Kiper on this morning's Mike and Mike show on ESPN Radio. Mike Greenberg asked Kiper "outside of Brady and Manning, which QB would you pick to start a franchise?"
You know the answer before I write it. Yep, Carson Palmer. Even better, when they asked Kiper who else intrigued him, guess what his answer was? DEREK ANDERSON. You mean the same Derek Anderson who couldn't beat out Charlie Frye in training camp just a few months ago? Yeah, he has a career passer rating of 82, an impressive lifetime record of 6-4, and his team just traded a 1st and 2nd round pick because they felt they needed a QB...but you're absolutely right, Mel. That's certainly enough data to leapfrog him into the top five.
The granddaddy of them all is revisiting Peter King's utterly ridiculous 2007 Quarterback Rankings, from June 18. I laugh out loud (or LOL, for you non-hip readers out there) when I am constantly reminded that Peter King is considered one of the foremost experts on football in our country. I thought experts were supposed to know what they were talking about. This article clearly shows that King knows no more than you or I (you know, people who aren't considered at the absolute top of the football writing field) when talking about football.
King's column, which I dissected in depth immediately after he tossed it to the masses, was contradictory on a number of levels. For instance, as part of his formula, he says, "I value postseason success". Really? That's funny, because 7 of his top 10 have never even won a playoff game. He then went on to rate a player's intangibles, which by definition cannot be done. It was an absolute laugher.
To revisit, here are his rankings, which speak for themselves:
1. Manning (Peyton, not Eli, altough with King's logic I wouldn't be surprised)
2. Brady
3. Brees
4. Palmer
5. Bulger
6. Hasselbeck
7. Young
8. Rivers
9. Kitna
10. Cutler
11. Romo
12. McNabb
13. McNair
14. Favre
15. Pennington
16. Delhomme
17. Roethlisberger

That's enough rhetoric about opinions. Let's cut to the chase and take a look at Ben's career stats. As you know, the numbers never lie:
2004: 14-0 regular season, 1-1 playoffs, 98.1 QB Rating, 17 TD/11 INT, 66% completion pct, 1 rush TD, 187 Passing Yards/Game.
Notes: He went 15-1 as a rookie, losing his 1st game in the AFC Championship against the dynasty of the day. I'd say a solid campaign by all accounts.
2005: 9-3 regular season, 4-0 playoffs, 98.6 QB Rating, 17 TD/9 INT, 62% completion pct, 3 rush TD, 183 Passing Yards/Game
Notes: Steelers get a low seed in part because of their 2-2 record without Roethlisberger. A Super Bowl win in year two and a career record of 24-4, 29-5 including playoffs. Not too shabby of a career so far.
2006: 7-8 regular season, 0-0 playoffs, 75.4 QB Rating, 18 TD/23 INT, 60% completion pct, 2 rush TD, 234 Passing Yards/Game
Notes: Near-fatal motorcycle crash, appendectomy on the eve of the opener, and a concussion to boot. Spare me the "Super Bowl Hangover" analogies. Ben's inability to prepare in the offseason due to the accident was reason #1, 2, and 3 why this team did not play up to snuff.
2007: 6-2 regular season, 111.9 QB Rating, 20 TD/6 INT, 66% Completion Pct, 1 Rush TD, 217 Passing Yards/Game
Notes: Roethlisberger, of sound mind and body with an offseason split between relaxation and preparation, is playing better than ever. In addition, he has a bigger say in the offense and a better working relationship with his coordinator.
Career: 36-13 regular season (41-14 including playoffs), 91.9 QB Rating, 72 TD/49 INT, 63% Completion Pct, 6 Rush TD, 209 Passing Yards/Game, and one Super Bowl ring.
I ask, on what planet is a 74.5% winning percentage - an average of 12-4 per season, mind you - not incredible? I think the evidence is overwhelming that Roethlisberger is clearly the #3 quarterback in the game, without a doubt.
Critics will look at his 2006 campaign and knock him based on that, but when looking at 2004, 2005, and 2007 (you know, the years when his life wasn't in danger), it's clear that 2006 was the exception and not the rule.
Keep your Palmers, your Breeses, your Romos and your Youngs. Their perceptions are largely based on expectations for the future that have yet to be met. I'll take my chances with the young guy that's already been there, done that, and will do it again. He's the NFL version of Rodney Dangerfield - he gets no respect. Unfortunately, as long as Manning and Brady are around, he will be at highest #3. But let's just say this: he's closer to #3 than to #17. If you don't agree with that, maybe that means you're ready to be an NFL expert.


HotDog_Zanzabar said...

Peter King should spend more time watching games and less time hitting on young, male baristas.

TheStarterBoyfriend said...

I couldn't agree with you more. I think I even heard, somewhere, buried within a comment on SI or ESPN or INSIDE THE NFL, that the Steelers were a "sleeper" team. Fine by me. If no one wants to recognize the accomplishments of Roethlisberger, James Harrison, Santonio Holmes or how our secondary is virtually shutting down the passing game of opponents, I'm fine with it.

The Steelers aren't playing with a big, festering chip on their shoulder (like the Patriots), or trying to beat the over-hyped expectations of everyone in the league (like the Colts). We're just playing good, solid football.

Apparently, though, the league would rather have the kind of play-action passing, or running that they can apply more superlatives to.

Debra said...

Rodney Dangerfield, indeed. Come to Philly on any given Sunday. Obnoxious NFC Easters are eager to tell how you how much...BEN SUCKS. According to this collective pool of genius, Ben sucks because:

1) Brady and Manning are better.
2) He played badly in the Super Bowl.
2a) He had the Bus.
3) He fits the Steelers' "system"--no actual QB skills of his own.
4) His first two years were an anomaly. You know, like Tommy Maddox. (Proof = the 2006 season.)

These reasons are also recited extensively by self proclaimed "students of football" who don't have an actual NFL rooting interest, yet they are well-versed on how much...Ben sucks. Kinda like the "experts". Hmmm.

worstavid said...

Awesome article Raul. Hard to argue with stats like that!

Mikej3131 said...

Lets examine your B*llSh*t reasons on why Big Ben sux....

1)Brady and Manning are better.
Yea great point Debra.....hmmmm doesnt prove that Big Ben sux....that was a good one

2) He played badly in the Super Bowl.
I hate when people say this....Let me clear things up a bit...Roethlisberger is the number one reason that team got to the Super Bowl that year, so it doesnt matter how he played in the Super Bowl because the steelers wouldnt have made it to the SB with any other quarterback(yes, even if the steelers had manning or brady, they would not have beaten denver or the colts on the road). He beat those defenses in the playoffs the only way they could be beaten(avoid the colts insane rushing linemen and denvers blitzing defense by throwing completion after completion on the run, and under pressure. Any other quarterback would have folded or choked in that situation but Roethlisberger put up the third best playoff performance(third best passer rating in NFL history in the playoffs) in NFL history for a QB. And he did this all without a running game and without an offensive line(there running game was terrible in the playoffs that year and Big Ben was getting rushed out of the pocket every other play because of the offensive line) and he did this all on the road at two of the hardest places to play at. Manning or Brady wouldnt have known what to do if their offensive line failed and they had all that pressure in their face coming from Dwight Freeney and denvers defense on the road....But Pittsburghers werent surprised because we see this guy play every week and he is better than any other QB at avoiding the rush and throwing on the run. He doesnt need an offensive line(yes the steelers offensive line is over rated).

2a) He had the Bus.
HAHAHAAHA, that was the biggest laugh ive had in a longgg time. Please take a look at the Bus's statistics since roethlisberger was drafted. My point i will make here is, "He had the Bus" means he had a rusher who only averaged about 2.5 yards per carry, was on the downside of his career and was not even in the top 20 of running backs of those years. Come on now, that comment right there proves that you do not watch steeler games and know nothing about the steelers to be giving your opinion about Big Ben

3) He fits the Steelers' "system"--no actual QB skills of his own.
Yeah ok, just like he "fit the system" at Miami of Ohio and put up passing record after record and practically won every game he played there(just like practically every game he wins with the Steelers, excluding the 2006 season that was 1oo percent because of his motorcycle accident). Point blank, he is a winner, you cant say the same thing for Carson Palmer. And what happened when the "Steelers offensive system" totally screwed up in the '05 playoffs when the running game was not there and the offensive line couldnt block anybody(he put the offense on his back and carried them to the super bowl). That is the same thing that happened this week when Baltimore shut down Willie Parker and Terrel Suggs was in Roethlisbergers face all night(he shook off 250 linebackers, ran out the pocket and delivered strikes in the end zone), that is classic Big Ben.

4) His first two years were an anomaly. You know, like Tommy Maddox. (Proof = the 2006 season.)
Please dont ever compare Tommy Maddox to Ben Roethlisberger. Has Tommy was a super bowl? How many playoff games has Tommy won?
Two solid years in the NFL coming straight out of college, winning a super bowl is not called an "anomaly".....Having a bad year because of nearly dying in a motorcycle crash would be considered an "Anamoly"..The proof is in this years performance by Big Ben, go ahead an take a look at his record and his stats this year.

Maybe some day he will get the recognition he deserves once he wins another super bowl and keeps consistently winning football games like he has been doing since college

Cotter said...

Tell me how he's got a guy who recently lost his starting job to Kellen Clemens and another guy who'll probably lose his at seaon's end to Kevin Kolb, higher than a Super Bowl champion?

Not to mention a guy who's sole job is to hand the ball to Ladanian Tomlinson and a guy who rushes for more touchdowns than he throws.

And Steve McNair? Did Peter King watch that game on Monday? This isn't 1999 anymore man, live in the now!

Peter King is a serious purveyor of misinformation, IE - an idiot.

okel dokel said...

Well, I have had my share of issues with Ben; he tends to force the ball in to double coverage, but that is my own thing. I would even bitch about Manning or Brady.

As hotdog_zanzabar said, Peter King is too busy fellating Starbuck's baristas for his double-skinny, half-caf vanilla, hazelnut lattes to understand what makes a good quarterback.

You can also add Sean Salisbury (Jeff Reed's cell phone picture buddy) to the list of those who feel Palmer is better than Ben. He said he would choose Palmer because Ben, "hasn't proven he can carry a team on his shoulders." Well I think mikej3131 offered the evidence that he can.

Debra, I live in Eagles country and they are starting to whine about how they would like to see Cowher as coach, it won't be long until the covet Big Ben.

What really gets me about the "love affair" with Carson Palmer is he has had two good receivers and a decent running back along for the ride and he still has not taken the Bengals to the promised land. I guess Kimo von Olehoffen is reason.

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

I could see some of the things the "experts" are saying being valid before this season.

He was great for a young quarterback in 04 and 05, but the system was designed to take pressure off of him. But, he made the plays when he had to and that's all you can ask for a rookie, and then 2nd-year, quarterback.

So, after what happened last year maybe the critics were somewhat justified.

But c'mon... what the hell more does this kid have to do this year? 20 effing TD passes halfway through the year.... TWENTY!

So what if he doesn't throw 30 passes per game. The ones he throws are downfield, and they're COMPLETED!!

Sorry, but Ben throwing 23 passes per game for 220 and 2 or 3 TDs is more impressive than one of those West Coast guys that throws 40 four-yard passes per game.

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

I could see some of the things the "experts" are saying being valid before this season.

He was great for a young quarterback in 04 and 05, but the system was designed to take pressure off of him. But, he made the plays when he had to and that's all you can ask for a rookie, and then 2nd-year, quarterback.

So, after what happened last year maybe the critics were somewhat justified.

But c'mon... what the hell more does this kid have to do this year? 20 effing TD passes halfway through the year.... TWENTY!

So what if he doesn't throw 30 passes per game. The ones he throws are downfield, and they're COMPLETED!!

Sorry, but Ben throwing 23 passes per game for 220 and 2 or 3 TDs is more impressive than one of those West Coast guys that throws 40 four-yard passes per game.

Mikej3131 said...

To Louis Lipps comment,

Please refer to my first post. Also, the system didnt take pressure off of him in the 05 playoffs(the system was shut down) and he still shined. And if the steelers system is supposed to take pressure off of a quarterback like you say, then why didnt Tommy Maddox take the steelers anywhere and have a horrible 03 season? Why did Kordell Stewart suck? That is the biggest stereotype Ben gets and it is totally false. HE IS NOT A PRODUCT OF THE SYSTEM. If that were the case, Tommy Maddox and Kordell Stewart would have been successfull.

The critics were not justified, Big Ben is just under-rated and over-looked, plain and simple.

Reid said...

If you want to see how good of a quarterback Ben can be look at the 2005 AFC championship game. Which at the time was the most important game of his career (aside from the previous years AFC championship, where he as a rookie, got out played by the quarterback who had the best playoff winning percentage ever, although he did beat them in the regular season). anyways in that game against the second best team in the AFC that year with an outstanding secondary with probably the best shut down corner in the league Champ Bailey, Ben was like 22/29 with multiple touchdown passes and no int's. Not to mention it was an away game in Denver, and came right after beating the Colts who were considered by far the superbowl favorites that year, and were expected to go undefeated. But you know a clutch performence in a important game like that has nothing Palmer, let alone Eli Manning who was sooo good in the post season last year.

PensblogCharlie said...

I was searching "Homo-erotic" and I came across your post here.

Isn't it common knowledge that Big Ben is good?
Really how many critics are out there?
This is exactly why Steeler fans are nauseating.

By even having to defend him makes you look like a bigger joke than you already are.

Peter King is one person. The Steelers, and especially big ben, get a ton of love from the media
Bottom line, Ben is a solid QB. And the sky is the limit.

He is having a great season, stop acting like no one else knows it.

P.S. Steelers 34-Browns -10---

P.S.S. Evgeni Malkin > Big Ben.


PensblogCharlie said...

And oh yea.

Stick to the hard hitting stuff.

Like showing what kind of cars people drive.


anonymous educator said...


I'm pretty sure Debra was being sarcastic.

I'll be honest, I didn't realize quite how good Ben has been. I still might take Carson Palmer. But Eli? And Peter King is terrible.

Great post.

Ryan said...

Hahahaha Pensblog Charlie with the bitchslap!

Tim said...

I've known Roethlisberger was the 2nd coming of Elway since Nov. 10, 2001.

Some people just take longer than others to see the light.

Debra said...

yes, thank you anon educator:
@ mikej3131
read it again. Those are not my arugments. I was mocking the illogical arguments of all the Ben haters out there. I could've written two pages refuting them but didn't feel the need. u did it for me. thanks.

John said...

I disagree Charlie, outstanding rookie season followed by complete disappearance in the playoffs means Malkin=Ben. Of course that would also mean Malkin will lead them to a championship this year which would be outstanding. And if you think those there are not enough examples of the media downplaying Ben's abilities, I guess you have not listened to him be referred to as a "game manager" for the last 3 years.

HotDog_Zanzabar said...

Chralie is your typical Penguin fan that hates the Steelers because they get more media attention. Being openly gay doesn't give him much credence in his argument either.

meecrofilm said...

Charlie definitely likes the Steelers. Like he's said before, they have the best man-on-man coverage in the league.

Typical Steelers fan... thinking a Pens fan is jealous of the attention the Steelers get. And being openly gay gives him just as much if not MORE credence. Bigot.

boredinpittsburgh said...

In case you didn't already think King was a moron, he rated Steve McNair ahead of Brett Favre on his QB rankings. Yes, that is the same McNair who lost his job to Kyle "I have already been labled a bust" Boller.

meecrofilm said...

Kitna was #9. That destroys all credibility. all credibilty.

John said...

I am rather confused as to what being openly gay has to do with his argument at all. How could that possibly make someone more or less credible? And is it possible that I am both a Steelers and a Penguins fan, and if so what is the "typical" way for me to behave?

Cliff said...

King has since come around.
From 11/11/2007 on

None of those items, however, was the story of the day. Ben Roethlisberger was. When I watched Roethlisberger last year, I thought, "Flawed quarterback.'' When I watched Roethlisberger on Sunday, I thought, "Franchise quarterback.''