Commentary

Why Big Ben measures up to Brady

The Pittsburgh quarterback has excelled in a more explosive offense

Updated: January 12, 2011, 4:50 PM ET
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider
RoethlisbegerJason Bridge/US PresswireBen Roethlisberger could tie Tom Brady with three championships this year.

By the end of the 1977 NFL season, Pittsburgh Steelers star Terry Bradshaw could have had every reason in the world to feel like the world's most overlooked quarterback.

Over the previous six years, he had posted a stellar 49-17 regular-season record and an equally impressive 8-4 postseason mark. Two of those playoff wins were Super Bowl victories and in both of those contests he threw a fourth-quarter touchdown pass that helped seal the win for the Steelers.

Despite this abundance of success, Bradshaw still seemingly had not convinced the world he was among the best at his position. Proof of this can be found in the 1977 All-Pro and Pro Bowl voting.

Bradshaw had guided his team to a 9-5 record and the AFC Central Division title and yet was beaten out for those postseason honors not just by the likes of Bob Griese and Roger Staubach (the consensus choices as the top quarterbacks of that season), but also by lesser talents such as Pat Haden and Jim Hart.

Near the end of the 2010 season, Ben Roethlisberger could be in exactly the same kind of overlooked boat as his Black and Gold predecessor. Like Bradshaw, he has a superb regular-season record (69-29, a .704 win percentage that is third-best of any quarterback since 1970) and a dominant 8-2 postseason mark that includes two Super Bowl titles.

Also like Bradshaw, Roethlisberger is coming off a campaign where his team went 9-3 with him under center and won a hard-fought division title. Still, it wasn't enough for him to be named one of the six quarterbacks going to the Pro Bowl.

While that certainly doesn't seem fair on its face, what makes it even more unjust is that a closer look at the game tape and metrics shows that Big Ben was just as good this season as AFC Pro Bowl starter -- and all but certain 2010 NFL MVP -- Tom Brady.


To read more about why Ben Roethlisberger is a better quarterback than Tom Brady, you must be an ESPN Insider.