Roethlisberger The Favorite Among ’04 QBs To Record Most Career TD Passes

Many moons ago in the 2004 NFL Draft, the top three quarterback prospects, in no particular order, were Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning. We all remember the fiasco with Manning, as he basically boycotted playing for the San Diego Chargers, who owned the #1 overall pick. The team took him first anyways, and when Rivers was taken by the New York Giants at pick number 4, the two teams swapped quarterbacks, with Manning getting his wish (or father Archie’s?) of playing for a big market team.

This led to Roethlisberger tumbling all the way to the eleventh pick, where the Steelers snatched him up and the rest is history. With Manning and Roethlisberger each owning two Super Bowl rings to Rivers’ none, those two seemingly would get the nod as far as the most superior career goes. However, Rivers has had a banner career thus far as well, putting up great numbers himself, and owning the most Pro Bowl berths of the three as well as the best career passer rating of 95.7.

All three of them rank in the top 20 in career touchdown passes, with Manning at 259, Rivers at 252 and Roethlisberger 251. In a recent debate on NFL.com, the topic of which of these three would end their career with the most touchdown passes made for a very interesting piece. Several members of the panel went with the man at the helm of what looks to be on paper the league’s most potent offense.

Gregg Rosenthal wasn’t shy about his selection, citing a stellar supporting cast with All-Pro’s Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, and possibly the best offensive line Ben’s ever had. And did we mention he’s about a year younger than Manning?

“At one point, we worried that Roethlisberger would age poorly because his game was less cerebral,” Rosenthal told NFL.com. “Those fears have been calmed in recent years. Roethlisberger should take the lead in this competition with big-time production over the next two seasons, and Big Ben should keep getting chances longer than the other two, because he’s simply the best player of the group.”

Gil Brandt followed Rosenthal’s lead, and the common denominator for their respective choices was the offensive firepower. He pointed out the fact that Ben’s averaged 27 touchdowns per year over the last four seasons, and that number is highly likely to increase in 2015, as the absence of Bell in the early going will place the offensive load on the right arm of #7.

Charley Casserly was on the fence between Ben and Eli, and in the end, it came down to their favorite targets in Brown and Odell Beckham, Jr. The deciding factor for him was the Giants’ certified #2 wide out in Victor Cruz, who’s coming off a torn patellar tendon in his right knee. However, if second-year deep threat Martavis Bryant can build on his momentous 2014 campaign, it could swing the favor decisively in Roethlisberger’s favor.

Dave Dameshek took his own unique twist on it, looking at their overall career’s thus far, and broke it down by which quarterback stood the best chances of getting into the illustrious Hall of Fame. His argument was that a couple touchdown passes here or there isn’t what makes these guys great, as Rivers averages 1.7 touchdowns per game, compared to Roethlisberger’s 1.58 and Manning’s 1.53. However, his receiving corps pales in comparison to that of the other two. Manning’s higher interception rate and Rivers’ several lackluster years before a career resurgence made his final call an easy one.
“Rivers is a borderline Hall of Famer, but his mid-career swoon and lack of even one Super Bowl appearance drops him behind Roethlisberger, whose gold jacket is all but guaranteed even if he retires later today,” Dameshek said, according to NFL.com.

With Ben seeming to get better with age like a fine wine, and at the pinnacle of his career with a supporting cast such as his, it’s not out of the question to expect another Lombardi Trophy or two, cementing his entry into Canton as one of only two Steelers’ quarterbacks to do so.

  • Jonathan D Worth

    No pressure, Ben. 🙂

  • k33ger

    Hard to take a guy seriously when he says Rivers is a borderline hall of famer. what has Rivers done to even warrant that kind of talk?

  • jsteeler

    2 Lombardi’s may tie Ben with Terry for SB wins but, Terry did it in only 4 tries. He will always be regardless of reputation in Pittsburgh be the greatest QB in Steeler history. Ben’s off the field antics had a lot of Steeler fans wanting him out of the Burgh. Fans loved Terry but, Terry didn’t always love them back they way they wanted him too. When he retired, He got far away from the game and the fans. He said he was burnt out by them. Fans hated that and kind of turned on him for that. Now, Bradshaw is on TV talking about the game he loves and understands that fans are fanatics about their teams. Terry never gave himself too much credit. He always said: My team, My Coaches and my Family inspired me to be great. I was just lucky! Ben has 5 more years. I hope he helps the Steelers win 3 more trophies out of the next 5 years he has left. If he does I will say I have been blessed to have the opportunity to support a franchise with not only 2 HOF QB’s but a Franchise that has the most Lombard’s ever!
    See you at the HOF Game Steeler Nation!

  • Conserv_58

    I don’t think he needs two more TD’s. Ben owns most of the team’s and a couple of league passing records already. Last season he became the only QB in the history of the league to throw six TD’s in back to back games. He has more five hundred yard passing games than any other QB. He was the youngest QB to win a S.B. He’s been to three S.B.’s and won two. By the time Ben retires he will be the most prolific passer in team history.

  • Conserv_58

    As much as I respect Bradshaw’s game we need to keep things in perspective when comparing he and Ben. Back in Terry’s day there was no free agency. The 1974 Steelers’ draft is still regarded as the best draft ever. Terry had the fortune of being drafted onto what was to become the most dominant and successful team of their era. Terry played with at least eight future HOF’s from the same team. I don’t know of any other QB that can say that. It was those HOF players that made Terry’s career what it was. On the other hand, when comparing Terry’s and Ben’s stats, Ben is the better QB.

  • Rasta Rio

    Eventhough Ben and Terry are as good as quarterbacks get, QB’s alone do not win SBs Great teams do. I think Coach Tomlin, his staff and the front office have put that great team together for the 2015 season. Now ALL the guys have to get together and prove them right. It won’t be easy. There are other teams out there who are under the false impression that they have that great team and they’re going to be trying just as hard as the Steelers to prove it.
    It’s going to take a super effort with players playing for the good of the team and not for the stardom or the stats. We’re going to need 60+ perfect quarters of football this season and I think we have the talent to do it.
    My only concerns are do they have their minds right and are they serious enough to win the tough battles? It’s going to take playing and not dancing to make it happen this year. Our schedule puts us up against nine contenders and five also-rans. Go Steelers! Make us, the city and the fans, proud.