“Roethlisberger is 32 and has taken plenty of licks over the years — he has 386 career sacks, 13th-most all-time among quarterbacks — but I think he’s in a great position to continue thriving. For one thing, he’s so strong; tacklers bounce off of him like you wouldn’t believe. He’s got great size and excellent athletic ability, and he can still make all the throws. Furthermore, it looked like he was speeding up his reads and making quicker decisions toward the end of last season, his second working with offensive coordinator Todd Haley. And it looks like he’s got a reliable ground game to lean on between the emergence of Le’Veon Bell and the addition of LeGarrette Blount.” — Gil Brandt, Senior NFL Analyst, NFL.com
More from Mr. Brandt’s column at NFL.com:
Big Ben came off the bench Sept. 9, 2004, against the Baltimore Ravens, throwing two touchdown passes and two picks in a loss — and he never looked back, taking the reins of Pittsburgh’s offense and compiling a 13-0 record en route to a playoff win and the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
Roethlisberger wasn’t even the most-hyped signal-caller in a draft class that also famously included Eli Manning and Philip Rivers. As these players approach their 11th seasons in the league, I thought I would look at the five quarterbacks drafted in 2004 who are still on NFL rosters today and rank them according to who I’d pick to lead an offense in 2014 — a ranking that does not quite match up with what one might have expected 10 years ago.
This September will mark the 10-year anniversary of an event that changed the course of NFL history: Ben Roethlisberger’s first game with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Though it might have been a bit obscured by the Steelers’ disappointing season, Big Ben still produced in 2013, posting the second-highest totals in passing yards (4,261) and touchdown passes (28) of his career — ninth- and seventh-best in the NFL, respectively. Yes, he was sacked 42 times, but a whopping 15 of those sacks came during Pittsburgh’s 0-4 start, when the team was hampered by lackluster offensive line play.
In the 2004 NFL Draft, Roethlisberger was eclipsed by Manning and Rivers. Ten years later, he’s made the most Super Bowl appearances (three) of the trio and has as many rings as Manning (two). He also carries what is easily the best career winning percentage of the group (.669 compared with .617 for Rivers and .563 for Manning).
I think Big Ben has five more good seasons in him.
You can read more on the 2004 Draft class signal callers here!
Tomorrow on NFL Network:
2:00 PM (ET): “Super Bowl Classics” – Super Bowl XLIII: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Arizona Cardinals – Ben Roethlisberger leads the Steelers to a dramatic come-from-behind victory in a wild back-and-forth game that set 12 Super Bowl records; Pittsburgh secured its record 6th Super Bowl with the win.
5:30 PM (ET): “Sound FX: Ben Roethlisberger” – On-field sights and sounds of Ben Roethlisberger’s memorable NFL career.
7:00 PM (ET): “America’s Game”- 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers – Re-live the story of the 2005 Steelers through the eyes of Bill Cowher, Jerome Bettis and Joey Porter. Narrated by Tom Selleck.