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Is Ben Roethlisberger a Hall of Famer?  The arguments for, against the registration of Steelers QB in Canton

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Is Ben Roethlisberger a Hall of Famer? The arguments for, against the registration of Steelers QB in Canton

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Ben Roethlisberger’s career is over. The longtime Steelers starter officially announced his departure after playing in all but one game for the team during the 2021 NFL season. He helped lead the team to a 9-7-1 record, but they were knocked out in the first round of the 2022 NFL Playoffs at the hands of the Chiefs, 42-21.

Roethlisberger was the Steelers’ main starter for 18 seasons. He started his career as a substitute but soon entered the fray for the Steelers and posted an undefeated 13-0 regular season record as a rookie. From there, he became one of the best and most consistent quarterbacks in the NFL and led the Steelers to two Super Bowl victories.

The last few seasons haven’t been good for Roethlisberger as injuries and age have sapped his once top-flight skills. As such, he’s riding into the sunset having picked up more wins than any other quarterback in Steelers history.

Roethlisberger garnered numerous awards and accolades during his NFL career. Will he get one more by being elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame? We won’t know officially for at least five years from now, but the case for him to do so seems solid.

GREER: Looking at Big Ben’s all-time high passing numbers

Ben Roethlisberger’s Hall of Fame case

If you break down Roethlisberger’s Hall of Fame case just by looking at how he compares to the average Hall of Fame quarterback, he looks like a shoo-in.

Sure, the NFL has become a much happier league since Roethlisberger was drafted in 2004. However, even taking that statistical inflation into account, his accomplishments still line up with average gold jacket quarterbacks. .

Player Completion % passing yards TD pass interceptions Super Bowl wins Professional balls All pro
Ben Roethlisberger 64.4 63,844 417 210 2 6 0
Average HOF QB 59.1 38,166 260 195 2 seven 2

Minus the lack of an All-Pro nod, Roethlisberger certainly looks like a Hall of Famer. This argument is only strengthened when compared to a handful of Hall of Famers in his position.

Ben Roethlisberger’s stats

Pro Football Reference has a handy metric called “Similarity Scores” which determines how similar a player in any position was to another player in that position. When looking at some of the players paired with Roethlisberger, it’s easy to picture him as a Hall of Fame type player.

John Elway; Dan Marino, Joe Montana; Terry Bradshaw. These are just a few of the names thrown around Roethlisberger’s career. And as you can see, he compares favorably to the four Hall of Famers.

Player Registration Completion % passing yards TD pass Evaluation interceptions Super Bowl wins Professional balls All pro
Ben Roethlisberger 164-81-1 64.4 63,844 417 93.6 210 2 6 0
Dan Marin 147-93-0 59.4 61,361 420 86.4 252 0 9 3
John Elway 148-82-1 56.9 51,475 300 79.9 226 2 9 0
Joe Montana 117-47-0 63.2 40,551 273 92.3 139 4 8 3
Terry Bradshaw 107-51-0 51.9 27,989 212 70.9 210 4 3 1

Roethlisberger may not have the same All-Pro accolades as these passers, but his stats and wins speak for themselves. It should also be noted that he was frequently matched against the likes of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, all current or future Hall of Famers, so his competition was fierce.

Some may scoff at the idea of ​​comparing Roethlisberger to these legends because he played in a far more passing-focused NFL than they did. It’s a fair point to make, so it’s important to look at him in the context of his more current Hall of Fame peers.

There are three current Hall of Fame quarterbacks who played after 2000. They are Manning, Brett Favre and Kurt Warner. Here’s how Roethlisberger compares to these three passers.

Player Registration Completion % passing yards TD pass Evaluation interceptions Super Bowl wins Professional balls All pro
Peyton Manning 186-79-0 65.3 71,940 539 96.5 251 2 14 seven
Brett Favre 186-112-0 62 71,838 508 86 336 1 11 3
Ben Roethlisberger 164-81-1 64.4 63,844 417 93.6 210 2 6 0
Kurt Warner 67-49-0 65.5 32,344 208 93.7 128 1 4 2

Again, you can definitely say that Roethlisberger is short of awards, as he’s the only member of the squad to not land multiple All-Pro appearances. Additionally, each of the other quarterbacks has won MVP at least twice — Warner has two, Favre has three, and Manning has five. Roethlisberger doesn’t even have a Super Bowl MVP to his name.

That said, Roethlisberger’s passer rating and total win count are on par with his high-end peers, and he ranks in the top 10 all-time for touchdown passes and top five for number. total passing yards. He also set numerous NFL records, including the league record for most 500-yard passing games (four). As such, his numbers deserve a Hall of Fame nomination, even if he’s not in the All-Pro and MVP category.

The case against Ben Roethlisberger makes the Hall of Fame

When you look at the numbers as a whole, Roethlisberger is a pretty clear Hall of Famer. However, two factors could prevent him from getting votes during the early stages of his Hall of Fame eligibility.

Roethlisberger regressed in the last three years of his NFL career. He was always able to deliver accurate passes to his receivers, but his ability to throw deep passes and stretch the defense was almost non-existent. This is largely due to an elbow injury which he never really recovered from after sustaining it at the start of the 2019 campaign.

Roethlisberger Passing yards per game Air yards per attempt Evaluation
Before injury (15 seasons) 260.2 7.7 94.2
After injury (3 seasons) 239.1 6.4 89.6

Late-career regression is nothing new for quarterbacks who have remained in the league for more than 15 years, but Roethlisberger’s was particularly notable, as the Steelers offense has crumbled and stalled since. their 11-0 start to the 2020 NFL season. The enduring image of Roethlisberger throwing checks, suffering sacks and appearing motionless could cause some Hall of Fame voters to consider other players ahead of Roethlisberger despite his career-long accomplishments. Put that down to recency bias, which can impact voters.

Ben Roethlisberger rape case

The other part of this equation has to do with the off-pitch incidents that followed Roethlisberger early in his career. Most notably, he was charged with sexual assault in Milledgeville, Ga. in 2010. The victim, then a 20-year-old student at Georgia College & State University, alleged that Roethlisberger raped her in the restroom of a box of night after inviting her and her friends to the club’s VIP area.

Roethlisberger denied the incident – although he admitted to having been in contact with the woman in question – and a rape kit performed on the victim did not provide enough male DNA to create a profile. Ultimately, District Attorney Fred Bright announced that charges would not be brought against Roethlisberger, a decision partly influenced by the victim saying she did not want to go through an “intrusive” trial experience.

What is evident looking to the future is that a criminal trial would be a very intrusive personal experience for a plaintiff in the situation, given the extraordinary media attention that would be inevitable. The media coverage to date and media efforts to gain access to our client have been disconcerting to say the least.

Although the victim requested that there be no trial, she did not recant her accusation.

The NFL suspended Roethlisberger six games for violating the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy. It was later reduced to four games.

Although Roethlisberger has not been charged or convicted of rape or sexual assault, some voters may still factor that incident into assessing Roethlisberger’s Hall of Fame case. The Pro Football Hall of Fame does not have strict guidelines for Hall of Fame eligibility or a character clause that would prevent Roethlisberger from being inducted, so voters will make their own decision on how to evaluate. Roethlisberger’s checkered history off the pitch.

MORE: Who could be the Steelers QB of the future?

Will Ben Roethlisberger be a Hall of Famer?

There’s a good chance that Roethlisberger will eventually be listed in Canton, even if some voters choose not to vote for Roethlisberger due to his off-field issues. The real question is whether he will enter when he is first eligible in 2027.

But due to the lack of a morals clause, voters will eventually give Roethlisberger the green light. He has the numbers to be a Hall of Famer and his on-court accomplishments are among the best in the last 20 years. So it seems likely that the Steelers great will one day find their way to Canton.


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