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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Is the World Ready for Ben Roethlisberger to Win a Third Super Bowl?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are hosting the New York Jets in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday. It’s a familiar spot for the Steelers — they’ve now reached five conference championship games in the last 10 years. They lost their first two to the Patriots, won the next two, and went on to win the Super Bowl both times. Both Super Bowl wins have come since Ben Roethlisberger became the team’s quarterback, meaning the young QB has a chance to win his third championship in only seven years in the league. With only four teams left in the NFL playoffs, I ask if the sports world ready for such history to be made.

It was only March that Big Ben was investigated for his second sexual assault allegation. The man was ridiculed by the media and fans alike, and he was suspended the first four games of the season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. People like me figured the suspension spelled the end of Pittsburgh’s season — no way they’d make the playoffs if Roethlisberger missed the first four games. Sure enough, the team went 3-1 without him, showcasing what appeared to be the league’s stingiest defense. Adding the QB to the mix has made the team only more dangerous — they finished the regular season 12-4 and earned the second seed in the AFC playoffs.

While the Jets have been talking their way through the playoffs and celebrating as if they’ve won the Super Bowl, the Steelers have been quietly awaiting. The Jets won in Pittsburgh in week 15 22-17, but New York has not been as focused for this game and face a potential emotional let down after beating New England. While New York busted out in the AFC title game last year, the Steelers know how to maintain the focus that can result in them sneaking into their third Super Bowl in the last six years.

Only four quarterbacks have won three or more Super Bowls in their career. Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw sit atop the board with four apiece, while Troy Aikman and Tom Brady each have won three. With two more wins this year, Roethlisberger can separate himself from the likes of John Elway, Jim Plunkett, Bart Starr, Roger Staubach, and Bob Griese. With that group, we’re talking about some of the best quarterbacks in the history of the game. Does Big Ben seem better than those players? Is he truly that elite of a quarterback?

Sure he’s been backed by stellar defenses, but Roethlisberger is a rugged playmaker who is difficult to sack, impressive in improvisation, and able to throw the deep ball with perfection. He doesn’t get the credit of being in the same class as guys like Montana and Brady, but with another championship it will be impossible to deny. Given his sketchy background and the events of March and April, can you imagine how uncomfortable it will be to see him hoist the Lombardi Trophy once again? I for one am not ready for that moment, and am only hoping Karma can run its course.



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