And that's fine.
The 28-year-old quarterback is already in exclusive company with two championships to his name, and a third would put him on an even shorter list. Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana won four, while Brady and Troy Aikman have three.
As was evident from the moment Roethlisberger stepped into the league, he just isn't like anyone else. As such, nobody would be willing to elevate Roethlisberger to the level of Brady or Peyton Manning, no matter what. He's not a protypical quarterback, and he's far from a pure passer. He gets sacked more than anyone and his throwing motion isn't used to teach high school quarterbacks how to throw.
But he wins, and isn't that the reason that teams take the field in the first place?
"He may do it unorthodox, but he just has this confidence he's going to win every game that he's in," veteran wide receiver Hines Ward said after the Steelers beat the Jets in the AFC Championship Game. "As long as he's in our huddle, I'm smiling, because I know we have a chance to win this game."
Yet, when discussing Roethlisberger these days, there are certain objections that many are quick to raise.
Of course, the Big Ben off-the-field argument is one that really can't be ignored. That, however, doesn't need to play a role in stacking up Roethlisberger to the quarterbacks who came before him. Twenty, 30 years down the line, it might not be a major part of the quarterback's final story, so for now, there's no need to compare his moral character to others.
The other, at least in New England, is that should Roethlisberger and the Steelers win their third Super Bowl in six years, none of them will have gone through the Patriots, largely considered to be considered the team of the decade. While it's easy to say the Patriots would have beaten Pittsburgh in 2006 or 2010, the fact is they didn't, and that's hardly Roethlisberger's fault.
What really does matter, when it comes down to it, is winning, and Roethlisberger is just good at it. Even if he's been mediocre for three hours, he'll come up with the crucial third-down pass to seal a win. Even if his near-perfect pass to Santonio Holmes to win a Super Bowl flies through the receiver's hands, he can make that perfect throw on the very next play.
He's yet to be a Super Bowl MVP, but without him, the Steelers don't win that game. Without him, the Steelers don't get to Super Bowl XL (he played poorly in that game, but he had thrown seven touchdowns and one interception in the three playoff games to get there). Without him, we'd probably be seeing a whole lot of Rex Ryan in Dallas this week.
Over the next several days and perhaps weeks, months and years, there will be endless debate regarding Roethlisberger's standing with Brady, Manning and whomever else. But know this: It doesn't matter. Winning championships, on the other hand, does matter, and a win over the Packers will make Roethlisberger a true legend in his own right.
What is Ben Roethlisberger's football legacy? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
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