February 9, 2011

Big Ben is not a big game QB

by Dan Bilicki In: Basketball, Football

Now that the dust has settled, the ice has melted and the parade has taken place, there is one thing that needs to be discussed about this past Super Bowl and the impact it should have on one man’s legacy. Just where exactly does Ben Roethlisberger sit historically as on the QB charts?

Heading into Super Bowl XLV, it was discussed how Big Ben could win his third Super Bowl at the ripe age of 28. Few quarterbacks have ever won that man Super Bowls in their distinguished careers, let alone before they turned 30.

But now, the spotlight should be focussing on how the Steelers won those big games and how they could have been in spite on of Roethlisberger’s efforts.

Look at his first title, Super Bowl XL against the Seahawks. If not he had a QB rating of 22.6, one of the lowest in Super Bowl history and the worst by a winning QB. To give you an idea of how bad he performed, if every pass you threw hit the ground, your QB rating would be 39.6. Also, it could be argued that if there were a fair set of referees for the game, the Seahawks very well could have won it.

His next title came in 2008, at Super Bowl XLIII against the Arizona Cardinals. While Ben did a lot better than his first time around, he was definitely aided by James Harrison’s 100-yard interception return for a TD to close out the first half and also bailed out on the game-winning TD pass. On that pass, Roethlisberger threw to Santonio Holmes in triple coverage and Holmes made a spectacular effort to keep both feet down while hauling the ball in.

Now, on Sunday, Roethlisberger couldn’t lead his team on a final comeback, despite facing a Packers secondary that was missing two of its starting defensive backs. He played a generally sloppy game, missing several easy reads, failing to get Heath Miller involved despite the fact that he was constantly open and also didn’t see a single blitz coming in the final two minutes.

So can we really call Big Ben a big game QB? The evidence is startlingly against him. Perhaps he’s just a product of hype and has been carried by those around him. Maybe we, as fans and/or media are putting too much into QB wins and losses, the same way that for a long time too much has been put into pitchers’ wins and losses in baseball. Remember, this past MLB season we saw a guy with 13 wins take home the Cy Young award as top pitcher.

So let’s stop evaluating QBs by their wins and start looking at how these games are actually won before heaping on praise.

And to think: Big Ben was one drive away from being nearly immortal in Pittsburgh.

Finally, I hate to toot my horn – actually, who doesn’t like doing that? – but it turns out I should have rode the team that I picked at the beginning to win it all: Green Bay. I may have said the Packers would beat the Ravens, but getting the winner right out 32 teams isn’t bad at all.

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