Steeler Nation, Its hard to believe we are fast approaching the ten year anniversary of the first time quarterback Ben Roethlisberger stepped behind center to take his first NFL snap. The date was Sept 19th 2004 , as Big Ben came off the bench in relief of an injured Tommy Maddox who had injured his elbow in the third quarter of a game vs. the Baltimore Ravens.
The Steelers would go on to lose that game but gain a franchise quarterback. Ben Roethlisberger would make his first NFL start the following week and went on to win 13 straight games that season as the Steelers went 15-1 in the 2004 regular season.
Roethlisberger set a new record for wins in a season for a rookie quarterback going 13-0 in the regular season and 14-1 including the playoffs. The Steelers would eventually lose to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game. Roethlisberger was unanimously selected as the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press, the first quarterback in 34 years to be so honored.
In 2005 Roethlisberger would become the youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl at the age of 23,as the Steelers defeated the Seattle Seahalks 21-10 in Super Bowl XL. The Pittsburgh Steelers finally won their long awaited 5th Super Bowl and the legend of “Big Ben” had just begun.
Ben Roethlisberger would lead the Steelers to another Super Bowl title in 2008 , winning with a clutch game winning drive, leading the Steelers’ offense 88 yards in eight plays, including four passes for 73 yards to receiver Santonio Holmes on the drive, finishing it off with the six-yard TD pass that put the Steelers ahead with 0:35 remaining in the game. The Steelers beat the Arizona Cardinals 27-23 in Super Bowl XLIII
This drive was legendary and will go down as one of the best executed by a quarterback in Super Bowl history.
Roethlisberger and the Steelers would return to the Super Bowl in 2010 to play the Green Bay Packers. Though the Steelers had a chance for another comeback , they would come up short losing Super Bowl XLV 31- 25 . Roethlisberger would finish the game completing 25/40 for 263 yards, 2 TDs and 2 interceptions.
In recent weeks, many have discussed who is the best QB of the 2004 draft class. The answer is without a doubt Ben Roethlisberger. Eli Manning and Philip Rivers had more hype coming out of college and into the draft with both quarterbacks being chosen before Roethlisberger . Manning was the 1st overall pick ,Rivers went 4th overall ,leaving Roethlisberger to fall into the Steelers hands as the 11th overall pick in the first round in 2004.
Since the 2004 draft Roethlisberger has been the winningest quarterback of the class. Roethlisberger has a career winning percentage of 95-47, 66.9% Rivers is second with 79-49, 61.7% and Manning third 85-66, 56.3% .
Roethlisberger also has the most Super Bowl appearances with three and is tied with Eli Manning with two Super Bowl wins. Phillip Rivers has never played in a Super Bowl.
Ben Roethlisberger has been the most consistent winning quarterback of the three despite being sacked a whooping 386 times since 2004, 13th-most all-time among quarterbacks .
Roethlisberger has thrown for more touchdown with a career of 234, followed by Manning with 233 and Rivers with 224.
Roethlisberger has a career quarterback rating of 92.6 and has been one of the best clutch quarterback of his generation but the ultimate stat for a great quarterback is winning and Super Bowls and Ben Roethlisberger is the best quarterback of the class of 2004 in both categories . He has a 10-4 playoff record and Roethlisberger has never had a losing season .
Steeler Nation , ten years ago Ben Roethlisberger made his first start and the winning began. He is now 32 and still in the prime of his playing career. Roethlisberger is now a veteran leader with a brand new cast of young offensive weapons to teach what he knows best… Winning !
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