28 starting quarterbacks have won a Super Bowl, and Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger is one of 10 quarterbacks with multiple rings. If Roethlisberger can beat the Packers next week, he would be the fifth quarterback with three rings, and he'd join Joe Montana (4-0), Terry Bradshaw (4-0) and Troy Aikman (3-0) as the only quarterbacks with a perfect record in at least three Super Bowl appearances.
Clearly, the 28-year-old has some tall history to deal with over the next couple of weeks, and he could guarantee himself a Hall of Fame election in just his seventh professional season.
But Roethlisberger will oppose a relentless contender. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was lights out in Green Bay's first two playoff victories, and he did just enough to pace the Pack to an NFC Championship win in Chicago. Already, Rodgers and the Packers have become the second No. 6 seed to knock off the top-three seeds on the road, and a victory in Dallas will elevate Rodgers' legacy to new heights.
Rodgers, 27, might be the best current quarterback in the NFL without a ring. A late-season concussion forced him to miss the majority of two games, and he fell 78 yards shy of becoming the seventh player in history to throw for 4,000 yards in at least three consecutive seasons. Like Drew Brees last year, Rodgers can jump into the NFL's class of elite quarterbacks if he can add some Super Bowl jewelry.
The quarterback storylines of the last two Super Bowls are similar in that sense. Colts quarterback Peyton Manning was aiming for his second ring, and it would have been enough for many to dub him as the greatest of all-time. After a fourth-quarter interception that propelled the Saints to victory, though, Manning may never get another chance to play for that distinction. (His current 9-10 playoff record should keep him on the outside of that discussion.)
Roethlisberger most certainly isn't playing to be known as the greatest in NFL history. His numbers have always been good, but not great, and his off-the-field issues hurt the squeaky-clean image that the league wants its quarterbacks to possess. Yet, a 3-0 Super Bowl record and an 11th playoff victory will make him one of the most successful players in postseason history, which is the mark of greatness.
Rodgers is like Brees. He's likeable, does it the right way, runs the offenses with a rocket arm and has the talent to put a team on his back. The Packers looked like Super Bowl contenders before the 2010 season, but they lost running back Ryan Grant (who had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons) in the opener and tight end Jermichael Finley (the man who the offense was designed around in the offseason) a few weeks later.
Rodgers and the Packers had every excuse in the world to fall short, especially after a two-game losing streak that came with his concussion. But here they are, winners of five in a row and slight favorites to win the Super Bowl.
Rodgers and Roethlisberger are fighting for different spots on the quarterback food chain, but next week's victor will solidify their place among the game's most elite.
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