Over the last year, I’ve had argument after argument about the quality of Big Ben as an elite NFL QB. Â Usually, I argue that he is, while others say his stats don’t support the elite title. Â So, here we are in the middle of the 2009 season and Ben has thrown 14 TDs, 7 INTs, a total of 2,295 yards and has a passer rating of 104.1. Â The only QB leading Ben in rating this year is Peyton Manning. Â Even Tom Brady only has a passer rating of 99.2.
But I don’t want to get caught up in statistics because numbers tell the story you want to tell. Â You can present them in a way that helps you meet your objective – ask anyone who has ever delved deep into a prob&stat class and you will understand what I mean. Â The reason I bring this up is that the play on the field is what counts. Â The team effect. Â For example, you can be a great QB (Philip Rivers) but if you don’t have the complements of a full team to support the end goal (WIN) then are you really elite?
Some of it is just bad luck, but it’s also what you make of it. Â Bad luck being the team you are playing on. Â But the offensive line hasn’t been great in Pittsburgh, and certainly not after Alan Faneca left to go to the Jets. Â It’s been a work in progress. Â This season is the first season I can truly say that the O-line is impressive and works hard to protect Ben. Â And much of that is thanks to Ben. Â He’s spent a lot of time off the field with his O-line. They have gelled and the production on the field right now is outstanding. You have to put work in on the field and off the field to foster a team environment.
As a lifetime Steelers fan, I can’t think of anyone else I would rather have leading my team. Â Over time, Ben has evolved into an accurate passer, a football player first and a quarterback second. Â It’s never pretty, and it’s never perfect, but in the clutch moments, he comes through. Â This attitude of going to work, getting the job done, it makes each win that much more rewarding.
In a recent article in USA Today, Ben said when asked about his Bob Marley T-shirt and jeans,Â ”People ask, ‘Why aren’t you dressed up?” he said on his way out of the locker room in Denver. “Well, most of the people in Pittsburgh, they don’t wear suits to work. I try to represent the city and the people. I’ve never been a flashy guy. I’m just me.”
I’ll speak for the people of Pittsburgh and say THAT is why we love him – Â No GQ covers, just straight up football. That’s what the Steelers are about. Â Thanks Ben, we love you back.
Now go do work against the Bengals.
(Post dedicated to SGs Vice Chairman)