If you’re a believer in numerology, you have to like where Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers ended up on a recent ranking of the top NFL quarterbacks.
As revealed Tuesday morning on ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” Roethlisberger is the seventh-best QB in the league according to NFL analyst Ron Jaworski. The former Philadelphia Eagles Pro Bowl signal-caller and “Monday Night Football” color man has sorted the league’s 32 starters in recent offseasons, with Roethlisberger – who wears No. 7 – dropping one spot from last year.
Jaworski bases his rankings partially on ESPN’s proprietary Total Quarterback Rating (Total QBR), by which Roethlisberger was the 12th-best quarterback in 2012 with a 62.8. Total QBR weighs clutch situations more heavily than the traditional NFL QB rating, among other slight differences.
But as Steelers fans know, Roethlisberger’s special abilities cannot always be quantified by stats, a reality Jaworski recognized during his ESPN appearance. “Jaws” cited Big Ben’s elusiveness and comfort with improvisation as attributes that set him apart from his peers. Jaworski called Roethlisberger “the most unconventional quarterback in the league” with “an ability to beat the defense, even when the defense [seems to] win.”
In the next breath, Jaworski reiterated that Roethlisberger’s pure passing skills in the pocket are often underrated, especially his penchant for squeezing throws into tight spaces and winding up for a long launch downfield when the opportunity presents itself. Jaworski also termed Roethlisberger as a “finesse” passer who relies more on placement than arm strength to get the ball in the hands of his receivers.
Entering his 10th year in the NFL out of the University of Miami (Ohio), the 31-year-old Roethlisberger has completed 63 percent of his passes in his career, accounting for 7.93 yards per attempt, plus 191 touchdowns and 108 interceptions. He has two Super Bowl wins to his credit, as well as a 10-4 record in the postseason to go along with his 87-39 mark in the regular season.
Roethlisberger’s main blemish is his durability, partially due to his daring style. He missed three games due to injury last season, giving him at least one scratch in seven of his last eight years. Big Ben underwent arthroscopic knee surgery this spring, with the hope of staying on the field for all 16 contests this fall.