Big Ben’s Stinker Just Enough, NFL In Identity Crisis Mode

by npiller88

Unlike some QBs, Big Ben loves dogs

The Steelers are going to their third Super Bowl in six years. They’re turning into the new Patriots. Sure, their quarterback isn’t quite the model citizen/model that Tom Brady is. Sure, their coach is a hard-nosed defensive guy, not a cerebral, x’s and o’s obsessed hermit. Sure, their running back actually looks like an NFL running back instead of …Danny Woodhead. Sure, they succeed with tough defense, a relentless rushing attack, and well-timed big pass plays, instead of a meat grinder of an efficient passing game. Sure, they employ thugs like James Harrison, instead of thugs like Brandon Merriweather. But underneath it all, aren’t they very similar?

Not Really. All we heard during the regular season was that the NFL had morphed into a passing league where the smartest coach/quarterback combos succeed by sheer intellect and precision. The Patriots resurgence this season, and especially the success of Tom Brady without any legitimate playmakers  was fitting evidence of a trend being cemented. As a 49er fan who braved the Singletary era, which met its end in a flurry of false starts, awful game management, boneheaded late game meltdowns and Alex Smith stagnation at the QB position (despite the presence of strong skill players like Michael Crabtree, Frank Gore and Vernon Davis, not to mention a stellar defense headed by Patrick Willis), this all seemed quite plausible.

But a look at the Steelers recent run of success got me thinking. Here we have a team that reaches an elite level, year after year, and does so without flashy quarterback play or overly complex offensive schemes. They do have a good quarterback, but not one who gets by with precision. He just wins games, makes the right plays and sacrifices his body like no other. Here’s to Ben Roethlisberger, who never gets enough credit, and isn’t likely to in the near future, in spite of his winning resume, which can only be challenged by the likes of Tom Brady in today’s NFL. Big Ben’s stats from today’s AFC title game? Lackluster, good for a QB rating of 35.  But he’s won before, and continues to do so. Go figure.

The larger point is this: Perhaps we should be wary of jumping on certain NFL trend bandwagons. Maybe the NFL is turning into a QB-led league stressing precision passing. Maybe it’s turning into a hard-hitting defensive league. Or neither.

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One Comment to “Big Ben’s Stinker Just Enough, NFL In Identity Crisis Mode”

  1. I think that tightening rules on contact in the secondary has certainly made it easier to pass in the NFL today, but I think that can be neutralized by appropriate schemes. I still think the Jets man coverage on the outside zone blitz in the middle was a brilliant game plan to stop Brady

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