Thursday, January 27, 2022

Ben Roethlisberger by the numbers: Steelers quarterback set to end career as one of top QBs in NFL history

Ben Roethlisberger is set to play his final regular season game in the NFL Sunday, capping off one of the greatest careers for a quarterback in NFL history. Roethlisberger is in his 18th season with the Pittsburgh Steelers, leading the franchise back to its glory days with two Super Bowl titles and eight AFC North championships. The Steelers became the first team in NFL history to win six Super Bowls thanks to the play of Roethlisberger.

Roethlisberger has thrown for 63,844 yards and 417 touchdowns in his Hall of Fame career, each rank among the top-10 in NFL history. He’s led the league in passing yards two times and passing yards per game three times, while earning six pro Bowl appearances. Even though Roethlisberger never picked up a First Team All-Pro honor nor has any major awards outside of winning the 2004 Offensive Rookie of the Year honor, Roethlisberger is one of the best quarterbacks to grace the football field.

Arguably the greatest quarterback in Steelers history, this week’s “By The Numbers” looks back on Roethlisberger’s career and where he ranks among the all-time greats. 

Most passing yards — NFL history

  1. Tom Brady — 84,194
  2. Drew Brees — 80,358
  3. Peyton Manning — 71,940
  4. Brett Favre — 71,838
  5. Ben Roethlisberger — 63,844
  6. Philip Rivers — 63,440
  7. Dan Marino — 61,361
  8. Matt Ryan — 59,519
  9. Eli Manning — 57,023
  10. Aaron Rodgers — 55,222

Most passing touchdowns — NFL history

  1. Tom Brady — 621
  2. Drew Brees — 571
  3. Peyton Manning — 539
  4. Brett Favre — 508
  5. Aaron Rodgers — 447
  6. Philip Rivers — 421
  7. Dan Marino — 420
  8. Ben Roethlisberger — 417
  9. Eli Manning — 366
  10. Matt Ryan — 366

Highest passer rating — NFL history 

  1. Aaron Rodgers — 104.4
  2. Drew Brees — 98.7
  3. Tom Brady — 97.5
  4. Peyton Manning — 96.4
  5. Philip Rivers — 95.2
  6. Matt Ryan — 94.3
  7. Ben Roethlisberger — 93.6
  8. Joe Montana — 92.3
  9. Matthew Stafford — 91.1
  10. Carson Palmer — 87.9

*minimum 5,000 attempts

Roethlisberger ranks among the top ten in any major passing statistic. He’s fifth in NFL history in completions (5,410), eighth in attempts (8,399), and sixth in yards per attempt (7.60). His 248 games played are the sixth-most by any quarterback in league history and his 246 games started is third in league history. 

Roethlisberger has thrown for 3,000 yards in 15 of his 18 seasons in the NFL. Only Tom Brady (19), Brett Favre (18), Drew Brees (16) and Peyton Manning (16) have more 3,000-yard passing seasons in NFL history. He’s the first player in NFL history to throw for 500 yards in a game on three separate occasions and his eight career 450-yard games (regular season and postseason) are the most in NFL history. His 74 300-yard passing games (regular season and postseason) is seventh in franchise history. His 107 games with a 100 passer rating (regular season and postseason) are seventh in NFL history. 

Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are the only quarterbacks in NFL history that have thrown for 50,000 yards and won at least two Super Bowls. The Steelers legend holds 50 franchise records by a quarterback and holds or is tied for 52 team records. 

What has made Roethlisberger great was his ability to win football games and perform in the clutch, a huge reason why the Steelers have stayed one of the dominant franchises in all of sports.  

Most wins as starting quarterback — NFL history

  1. Tom Brady — 241
  2. Brett Favre — 186
  3. Peyton Manning — 186
  4. Drew Brees — 172
  5. Ben Roethlisberger — 163

Most game-winning drives — NFL history

  1. Peyton Manning — 54
  2. Drew Brees — 53
  3. Tom Brady — 53
  4. Ben Roethlisberger — 52
  5. Dan Marino — 47

Most fourth-quarter comebacks — NFL history

  1. Peyton Manning — 43
  2. Tom Brady — 42
  3. Ben Roethlisberger — 40
  4. Drew Brees — 36
  5. Johnny Unitas — 34
  6. Matthew Stafford– 34

Most victories decided in games by six points or less — NFL history

  1. Ben Roethlisberger — 58
  2. Drew Brees — 57
  3. Tom Brady — 57
  4. Peyton Manning — 56
  5. Brett Favre — 55
  6. John Elway — 55

Roethlisberger has been known to shine in the fourth quarter (he leads the league in game-winning drives this season), an indicator of why he’s been able to win so many games since his rookie season. His .636 win percentage in games decided by six points or less is the second-highest in NFL history, trailing only Tom Brady (.695). 

Roethlisberger’s 1,402 completions, 64.6 completion percentage, 16,711 passing yards, 119 touchdowns and 94.3 passer rating in the fourth quarter are third in NFL history for players that have thrown a minimum of 5,000 attempts. 

The fourth-quarter comebacks and game-winning drives are part of Roethlisberger’s legacy, but so is his ability to show up in the postseason. Roethlisberger is tied for fifth in NFL history with 22 postseason games played and his 13 postseason victories are tied for seventh in NFL history. His 5,757 passing yards are fifth in NFL playoff history and his 34 touchdown passes are tied for seventh. 

Roethlisberger is one of 12 quarterbacks to win multiple Super Bowl titles and one of 12 quarterbacks to make three Super Bowl starts. He’s the youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl and the second-youngest to start a Super Bowl, behind only Dan Marino. 

Roethlisberger won’t be considered in the “greatest of all time” conversation, but he’s in a the debate as a top ten quarterback in NFL history. The passing numbers, Super Bowl championships, and fourth quarter performances are enough to state his case. 

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