I spend a good bit of my day running from place to place in my car and I usually have my radio tuned into ESPN because I really enjoy hearing the different opinions of people more ‘in the loop’ than me. Unfortunately, this also leaves me prone to bouts of anger and disbelief as I constantly hear these respected media folk turn into band-wagon boys at the sight of the flavor of the moment.
Such has been the case this week with Green Bay’s quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who after a sizzling 31-36, 366 yards and 3 touchdown performance against #1 seeded Atlanta has become the man of the hour on the sports talk rounds. The talk and praise of Rodgers has gone so deep that many are practically begging to anoint him as the greatest quarterback not named Brady or Manning.
I say hold on a sec. What about that quarterback down in Pittsburgh? What is his name again…oh wait, it is ‘Big’ Ben Roethlisberger, owner of two Super Bowl rings.
Roethlisberger is not the most revered player in the league, an aloof personality and off-the-field transgressions have seen to that, but the guy does have something going for him, he is a winner. Not only is he a winner though, he’s a winner when the game is on the line in the most important of situations. He is a guy who has faced the toughest defenses in the league on a yearly basis and has not flinched once. Heck, I saw the guy break his nose while playing on a broken foot and not miss a snap.
That is toughness.
If you want to throw out statistics to argue your case for Rodgers over Ben, I can do that as well. Rodgers has a career playoff record of 2-1 while Roethlisberger’s is 9-2. Rodgers has no Super Bowl appearances, let alone wins, while Roethlisberger is 2-2 on the Super Bowl front. To reach the Conference Championship, Rodgers had to go through an Atlanta team that was lead by a quarterback that has no playoff wins. Roethlisberger had to go through the Baltimore Ravens, a battle tested team that knows how to win playoff games, whether it is at home or on the road.
I am not trying to diss Rodgers here, really, because I think the guy has all the makings to be the next Steve Young. I do not mean that in playing style, but that Young followed a Hall of Fame QB and went on to carve his own place in the Hall of Fame. Rodgers can do that in Green Bay. He can forge his own identity in a city that had been Brett Favre’s for the longest of time.
But that is still yet to happen.
Look, the guy has won back-to-back playoff games in two very hostile environments and that is commendable, but let’s not get too overboard with our worship of him just yet. Let’s see how he fares in the conference game and potentially the Super Bowl before we go naming him the greatest QB in the league.
Oh, and while we’re at it, let’s not forget the guy who has done it and is still doing it down in Pittsburgh. He may not be the hot topic this week but he does continue to show on a weekly basis why he should be named among the 3 elite quarterbacks in the league.
And for the record, I would pick ‘Big’ Ben to lead my game on Sunday…or any day of the week for that matter.