Ben Roethlisberger is one of the top five quarterbacks in the NFL today. Call me a homer. I know I'm one of those. But Roethlisberger's place on the top tier of league quarterbacks is not debatable.
This is a sore subject for Gerry Callahan of the Boston
. He thinks Roethlisberger is a mediocre (he actually said "good" but everything else in the column made it hard to believe he actually thinks this) quarterback who happens to have a great supporting cast. According to Callahan, Tom Brady has had to overcome more than Roethlisberger in his Super Bowl runs.
Yeah, he actually said that.
The article says Roethlisberger has had defenses and running games that Brady hasn't, so Roethlisberger should not be used in the same breath as Brady.
Of course, Callahan uses no statistics to back this up. Just general statements without any research. Fortunately, I did that for him.
|Brady, left, and Roethlisberger have had |
a lot of help in their Super Bowl wins.
In the season leading up to Roethlisberger's first Super Bowl (2005), his leading rusher, Willie Parker, had 1,202 yards and four touchdowns. Parker also had 93 yards and a touchdown in the Super Bowl. The Steelers defense was third in the league in points allowed that season.
Now we move on to Brady, whose leading rusher, Antoine Smith, had 1,157 yards and 12 touchdowns n his first Super Bowl season (2001). Smith ended up with 92 yards in the Super Bowl win that season. The Patriots defense ranked sixth in points against that season.
So far, I'd say these guys are pretty even. Let's go to their second Super Bowl runs.
The Steelers did not have a 1,000-yard rusher in 2008. Parker missed five games because of injury and finished with 791 yards and five touchdowns. His backup, Mewelde Moore, was solid in relief with 588 yards and five touchdowns. The team could not run the ball in the Super Bowl, though. They finished with 58 yards on 26 attempts with Gary Russell scoring a touchdown. The defense was first in the league in points against that season.
Brady's running game took a big hit in the 2003 season. The team didn't have a go-to guy. Smith started six games and had 642 yards and three touchdowns. Kevin Faulk had 638 yards and zero touchdowns. The Patritos defense was first in the league in points against that season, though. Smith also had 86 yards and a touchdown in the Super Bowl.
So the Steelers had an edge in rushing touchdowns in these teams' second Super Bowl seasons, but the defenses were both the best in the league at the time. Is anyone else seeing the flaws in Callahan's argument? Do I have to go to year three? I will anyway.
The Steelers had a great rushing game this season. Rashard Mendenhall paved the way with 1,273 yards and 13 touchdowns. The Super Bowl obviously hasn't been played this season, so we'll have to wait on that statistic. The Steelers were again first in the league in points against for the regular season.
The Patriots had an even better rushing attack in their third Super Bowl season (2004). The newly acquired Corey Dillion went off for 1,635 yards and 12 touchdowns that season. He also tacked on an addition 75 yards and a touchdown in the Super Bowl. Assisting Brady and Dillion was the defense, which was No. 2 in points against that season.
So where is this clear advantage Callahan is giving to Roethlisberger in these Super Bowl years? The statistics that Callahan conveniently left out point to almost a dead heat. It's also interesting to note that Callahan didn't say anything about Roethlisberger playing behind terrible offensive lines this season and in 2008, while Brady has had one of the best lines in the league for years now. But that would give Roethlisberger some kind of credit, and it's clear Callahan was going out of his way to make sure he didn't do that with this column.
I'd love to see Brady behind the Steelers' line. I think the Divisional Round showed us that Brady gets ruffled when he is under a lot of pressure.
But wait! Callahan did do some research in this article. He took 10 seconds and looked at Roethlisberger's Super Bowl numbers. He also pointed to Big Ben's stat line from Sunday's AFC Championship win as proof that Roethlisberger doesn't deserve to be mentioned among the NFL's elite.
There is no doubting Roethlisberger was bad in his first Super Bowl. He went 9-for-21 for 123 yards, didn't throw a touchdown and tossed two interceptions. He did run for a touchdown. Don't let the conspiracy nuts fool you when they say he didn't get in on his dive. Last I checked, no one has X-ray vision so no one can tell me with any certainty that they can tell exactly where the ball was on that play. The touchdown run was nice, but it was still a terrible game.
|I can see how someone would forget this play.|
Now this is where Callahan got tricky. Rather than cite Roethlisberger's numbers for the 2008 Super Bowl, he just gave the quarterback's combined passer rating between the two Super Bowls (64.1). This number is going to be low because Roethlisberger had the lowest passer rating in Super Bowl history for a winning quarterback (22.6) in 2005. There is no reference to the 2008 Super Bowl, in which Roethlisberger had a 93.2 passer rating.
If I were to use Callahan's strategy when looking at Roethlisberger in the 2005 playoffs, I can make it look like he had a great series of games. In four playoffs game that season, Roethlisberger averaged a 97.87 passer rating. If you were to just look at that number, you would assume he did pretty well in the Super Bowl. Just like if you look at Callahan's 64.1 number, you would just assume Roethlisberger sucked in both Super Bowl games.
Now I will say Brady has consistently outperformed Roethlisberger in the Super Bowl. Other than 2001, when he threw for just 145 yards and one touchdown, Brady has been a major contributor to his team's wins with more than 230 yards and two touchdowns in the other two games. Roethlisberger was good in 2008 (256 yards, one touchdown and one pick), but Brady's numbers are better in the big game.
What Callahan failed to mention was how Roethlisberger led his team 78 yards (doesn't count the holding penalty) for the winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter in 2008. That drive ended on a perfect throw from Roethlisberger that will go down in history as one of the best plays in the history of the game. That's not me being a homer. That's a fact.
Brady hasn't had to lead his team to a winning touchdown in the waning moments of a Super Bowl. This isn't a criticism of Brady. He and his team played well enough in their wins that all they needed were field goals. It's just worth noting that Roethlisberger has taken his team all the way to the end zone with the game on the line. Brady hasn't.
Roethlisberger is great under pressure and has proven he can lead his team down the field for a touchdown on the world's biggest stage when his team needs it. That doesn't really show up in the statistics, but it's something you have to take into consideration when you mention the best quarterbacks in league.
That brings us to last Sunday's AFC Championship game. Roethlisberger had a poor day if you look at his passing numbers. He was 10-for-19 for 133 yards and two picks. But once again, Roethlisberger made a difference with his legs. He ran for a touchdown, and also a key 11-yard run on the opening possession that kept the drive alive. The Steelers scored a touchdown a few plays later.
Then there was the final drive. The New York Jets had scored 19 unanswered points and the Steelers needed two first downs to ice the game. Roethlisberger threw two first down passes when no one expected him to throw, cementing the Steelers' place in the Super Bowl.
Are you still reading? I'm almost done. I promise.
|Gerry Callahan has a message |
to good journalists everywhere.
I'm not saying Roethlisberger is better than Brady. The Patriots' QB has the best mechanics in the league and is incredibly smart. It's scary to watch him when he's on and you're not a fan of the Patriots. Really scary.
I'm saying Gerry Callahan wrote a terrible column in which he did very little research in an attempt to make Roethlisberger look like he is a mediocre quarterback who doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Brady, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers.
Callahan clearly has a problem with Roethlisberger as a person. And that's OK. The whole Milledgeville, Ga., is a scar on Roethlisberger's career. If that was Callahan's main point, I wouldn't have posted this and you'd have 10 minutes of your life back. If he mentioned that Brady is 1-0 against Roethlisberger in the playoffs, I wouldn't have wasted your time. But he didn't. He made dumb and lazy arguments that needed to be addressed.
All of my statistics/research came from pro-football-reference.com. It takes a few minutes and is really easy to find everything you need to know about the NFL. Someone needs to enlighten Callahan of its existence before he writes another crappy column.
Boston - Foreplay/Long Time