Lots of discussion today on social media and in the local news about Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger closing in on Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw’s team record for passing yardage in a career. This particular talk inevitably brings up the issue of who is/was the better quarterback which in my personal opinion is like often comparing apples and oranges.
These guys played in vastly different eras with different competition and different teammates. Still, I wanted to delve deeper into the two men as QBs and authored a two-part article on both men as they entered their ninth years at the age of 30. I wrote this back in the summer before Ben started his ninth season and compared heavily both their statistics and and team success and frankly, the numbers were somewhat similar, but my declaration was that Roethlisberger is clearly the better QB at this point in their careers.
As he enters the game this week against Tennessee, Roethlisberger is 300 yards shy of Bradshaw’s career record for passing yards which of course Bradshaw accomplished in 14 years compared to Ben’s nine. Of course if you ask Roethlisberger I’m sure the record does mean something to him, but the number he has to be shooting for his ‘four.’ The ‘four’ of course refers to the number of Super Bowls won by Bradshaw during the team’s dynasty-run in the 1970’s.
Chances are that Roethlisberger won’t need to get to that number for the ultimate in personal glory meaning a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Any quarterback to start for two or more Super Bowl winners is in the hall, but sadly, some still raise doubts because of his off-field issues.
As Roethlisberger closes in on another of Bradshaw’s records I can’t help but point out the similarities in their ninth seasons, at least so far in the early going of 2012. In his ninth season, Bradshaw set a team record for touchdown passes in a season with 28. He also went on to win the NFL Most Valuable Player award and happened to also win the MVP in Super Bowl XIII as the Steelers won their third Lombardi trophy.
At this point, Roethlisberger is having his best statistical season with 1,111 yards to go with eight touchdown passes and just one interception. His completion percentage is a shade under 66% and on third downs he is completing over 70% of his passes. While it’s still too early to say what the remainder of the season will bring, I can’t help but revel in the irony between the two men.
I don’t know about you, but I would certainly like to see Ben Roethlisberger win the league MVP, Super Bowl MVP and earn his third Super Bowl trophy this year. I’m pretty sure I’d be OK with those achievements and I guarantee he would be too.