Oltmanns: Roethlisberger a flat-out winner

By Alex Oltmanns

When you think of the greatest winning quarterbacks in NFL history, the names Montana, Aikman,… When you think of the greatest winning quarterbacks in NFL history, the names Montana, Aikman, Bradshaw and Brady usually come to mind.

But after the Super Bowl comes to an end Sunday, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger could emerge a member of  that elite category.

A win against the Packers would give Roethlisberger three Super Bowl championships in his first seven seasons in the league — a claim that most other quarterbacks only dream of.

Yet many people always seem quick to discount Big Ben, saying that it’s the great Steelers defense that’s winning all those championships and not the quarterback.

Yes, the defense is good, but it isn’t like Roethlisberger is the only winning quarterback to have a great defense. Bradshaw had the vaunted Steel Curtain and Montana had great players like Hall of Fame safety Ronnie Lott to back him up.

Though he doesn’t have the most spectacular statistics, Roethlisberger has proven time and time again that he is a pure winner. Whether it be his 10-2 career playoff record or the countless late-game comebacks, Big Ben comes up big when it matters most.

That playoff record is hard to argue against, but some NFL pundits say they would still choose Ben’s counterpart in the Superbowl, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, over Roethlisberger.

Rodgers has all the flashy stats, throwing for 3,922 yards this season to go along with 28 touchdowns to just 11 interceptions.

But what has Rodgers ever won worth noting in his NFL career? Up to this point, he has as many playoff wins as Roethlisberger does Super Bowl rings: two.

ESPN analyst Skip Bayless got it right recently when he tweeted, “To start a franchise, Roethlisberger or Rodgers? This question is an insult to Roethlisberger. 2-2 in SBowls. 10-2 playoffs. Clutch gene.”

And as for the school of thought that says that Roethlisberger relies on his defense and the running game to win, let’s look at some of his stats from previous seasons.

They might surprise you.

In 2007, Big Ben threw for 32 touchdowns, putting him third among NFL quarterbacks that season, and just last year he threw for 4,328 yards — more than Rodgers has this season and more than supposed star quarterbacks Philip Rivers, Brett Favre and Kurt Warner had that year.

In just his rookie year, Roethlisberger put on what might be the most incredible and unprecedented feat any NFL quarterback has ever managed —he started off 13-0, an achievement no other signal caller in the history of the league can say.

Maybe it’s his off-field transgressions that make fans and analysts refuse to accept Ben’s greatness.

Bayless went on to tweet, “The many who’d take ARodg over Ben are GB fans or love ARodg b/c they HATE Favre or they consider Ben a bad guy who got pass from police.”

But come this time next week, NFL fans everywhere will have to face the fact that Roethlisberger is just beginning a Hall of Fame career and, if he keeps this up, might go down as the premier winning quarterback in NFL history.