Burress Would Choose Manning Over Roethlisberger With The Game On The Line

The Pittsburgh Steelers will host the New York Giants on Sunday and that means we’re set to see another matchup between 2004 draft classmates, quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning. One former wide receiver who knows both quarterbacks very well, Plaxico Burress, was a guest this week on ESPN’s ‘First Take’ and he was asked to give his thoughts on how he views both players.

“I’ll say this, when Eli Manning was drafted, there was kind of an expectation level. When Ben Roethlisberger was drafted into Pittsburgh, nobody foresaw the career that he’s having now,” explained Burress. “And now both of these guys are two-time World Champions, MVPs of that nature, and I always say, Ben goes out and gets the job done, he wins ugly. They don’t really criticize him as much as Eli being up here in the media market (New York). But having played with both of them, they basically have identical stats, identical numbers, you really can’t say right now who is having the better career.”

Later during his interview, Burress was asked which quarterback he’d rather have on the field trying to get him the ball if all the chips were on the line.

“I love both of these guys,” Burress said. “They’re great quarterbacks, two future Hall of Famers and I’ve done it with Eli on that stage, so I know what he’s capable of doing. And also Ben Roethlisberger, but I’m going to go with No. 10 because I know he’s going to put it up there in a nice spot for me to go up there and get it. And he’s going to give me that wink, or that signal, or he’s going to grab his facemask, or pat his thigh, or pat the side of his helmet and give me the signal for the best route for me to get open.”

It’s probably not surprising that Burress chose Manning over Roethlisberger being as he won his one and only Super Bowl with the Giants quarterback. Additionally, while Burress played his first four years in the league with the Steelers, he never played the equivalent of a full season with Roethlisberger as the starter.

While Burress did choose Manning over Roethlisberger, when asked to choose between Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr., he went with the former.

“I just look at the body of work of what these two guys are doing, I just shake my head. But if I’m going to take one wide receiver right now with the consistency, I’m going to go with Antonio Brown,” Burress said,

When pressed further as to why he chose Brown over Beckham, Burress had this to say.

“I had a great opportunity of playing with Antonio Brown my last years in Pittsburgh, 2012 and 2013, and just to get to practice and watch the way that this guy works, and when you see the results on Sunday, you know where they come from because you witnessed it firsthand,” Burress said. “So, I’m just not going to jump out on a limb and say Odell Beckham Jr. is a better talent, I’m just going to go with what I see and what I know personally. What I saw with my own eyes being there two years and watching what he does every Sunday, I’m going to go with the consistency because I know what I’m going to get every Sunday from Antonio Brown.”

So, who does Burress think will ultimately win Sunday’s game between the Steelers and the Giants?

“I’m going to go with the New York Giants for this reason, I believe the defense is playing better,” Burress said. “JPP [Jason Pierre-Paul] is kind of getting back to his old self. Landon Collins is no doubt the MVP of that defense, probably of the team and with the Dallas Cowboys coming in next week I think it’s a great barometer for the New York Giants to go out and make a statement game.”

  • srdan

    I don’t blame him for saying that. Now ask Santonio Holmes.

  • T3xassteelers

    Kinda an unfair question.. Big Ben is way better than whoever the Jets QB was haha

  • jeff kopay

    I think he’s referring to this statement “I’m going to go with No. 10 because I know he’s going to put it up there in a nice spot for me to go up there and get it.” Not comparing Ben to a Jets QB.

  • srdan

    I think it was an unfair question from the panel. How could they ask him that when he won superbowls with a QB. He owes eli that.

  • pittsburghjoe

    The difference is that Eli would not care if he lost the game that was on the line.

  • T3xassteelers

    Yeah, I think I confused myself haha. My bad

  • Nolrog

    Statistically speaking, Ben is a better QB. Eli has had horrid seasons (couple years ago, rating of 69.4, 27 INT, 18 TDs). Ben’s career rating is 10+ points higher. Eli did play well in his 2 superbowls, and Ben did not in his first, but the Steelers would not have been there if not for Ben’s performance in the games leading up to it. And he played well in his second and third (and if that GB SB was like 5 minutes longer, we would have won.)The one thing about Eli is that he has been remarkably durable. The guy never misses a game.

  • dany

    haha this, why wouldn’t u choose the qb who put you in the highest nfl place

  • Orlysteel

    Think Ben has his best years ahead of him, and the best supporting cast that he’s ever had, if the get a Super Bowl caliber defense watch out.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Good interview. Tough Choice based on the numbers. Obviously both draft picks worked out well for both teams. If Plax would rather have #10 with the game on the line i’m good with it.

  • Gluebucket

    I think Ben is definitely the better QB. He has much better stats than Eli, and Ben (until recently) has never been considered a guy who puts up gaudy numbers.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    I think it is absolutely a fair assessment by Burress but I think you can tell by both of his answers that he has a “played with” bias if you will. He chose Eli who he played with at his most successful and he says right in his answer that he watched AB do it first hand. So while I think his answer is definitely fair, you can see a pattern to where his answers tend to lean.

    What I would be very interested to see is how they have trended as far as comebacks go. There are some very vivid memories of Ben having some amazing comebacks in the early to middle part of his career but more recently it feels like he has failed more times than not. I still have 100% trust in him, but maybe 4 to 5 years ago I had 110% trust in him. I am curious if the numbers tell the same story.

  • Jason

    he played with a different Ben then we see now, and he was a 1 with Ny and he was never the WR1 with the Steelers

  • Stout

    He played with a rookie compared to a veteran. Of course Eli would have been better when compared to playing with them.

  • RickM

    Biases always are very obvious when people misstate facts, or misrepresent them. When Burress says Ben and Eli’s numbers are basically identical you know he has a significant bias towards Eli.

    Ben’s lifetime QB rating is over 94; Eli’s is 83.9. That’s a big difference statistically. Ben has almost a 2-1 TD to INT career ratio. Eli’s is a 1.5-1 ratio. Even this year, Ben has a 23-7 ratio and Eli is 20-10. Eli does hold his own with game-winning drives with a 38-37 edge. I’d still take Ben every time.

  • Kevin78

    Advanced statistics show Eli Manning as basically a league average passer in nearly every category. Other than sack rate, which is below average, and interception rate which is slightly above average, Roethlisberger is over 110 in every other category where 100 is average. Their career comps are practically the same. Their approximate value, weighted and unweighted, are close but Roethlisberger is 23 spots ahead all-time in weighted and 41 spots ahead in unweighted. Eli has played 15 more games than Roethlisberger has throughout the career. So Eli gets a bonus for being so durable. Roethlisberger is still more valuable though. Four active QBs have a higher AV than Roeth though including Philip Rivers. Unfortunately for Rivers (and fortunately for Eli), playoff success does count

  • Kevin78

    Agreed. It is even more significant when you look at advanced stats when broken down to a 100 league average scale. Ben is consistently over 110 whereas Eli is usually within 3-4 of 100 above and below.

  • ryan72384

    Man if Ben had won that third ring in 2010 he’d be in discussion for one of the best ever not just who’s better between him and Eli. I remember it seemed like every game in 2008 came down to Ben leading a late touchdown drive and eluding pressure and making plays from the pocket. Ben is still great and I’d still take him over Eli with the game on the line. Some of his amazing escape plays that he regularly made during that time from 2005 to 2010 are some of the gutsiest holy sh*t plays you’ll probably ever see from a QB. Those games against the Ravens in 2008 and 2010 I honestly don’t think any other QB in history could have taken the beating like he would take and still shake defenders off and lead game winning drives against those defenses.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    I’m fine with Plaxico’s answers. He was being honest and did win a ring with eli after all. Hope this spurs Ben to prove he is the better quarterback on Sunday by throwing 4-5 TD’s with no interceptions and win the game handedly.

  • Tim Clark

    The early to middle parts of Ben’s career he had an amazing defense that could prevent the other team from scoring in the 4th quarter.

  • Steelers12

    i disagree but it is his opinion

  • PaeperCup

    But their stats aren’t identical. Eli has 50 more interceptions than Ben.

  • Zarbor

    I really don’t care about Plexiglass opinion. I was never a fan while he was with us. We dealt with his immaturity and glad we let him walk to NY. No regrets.

    I know I’m bias but Ben is better than Eli. No brainer.

  • Jacob

    Great material for the Steelers locker room…thanks Plax!

    I know Ben loves to compete, and this will only motivate him and the team more.

  • Sam Clonch

    Plax has been accused of a lot of things (and convicted on a few of them). One thing he’s never been on trial for is being the smartest guy in the world.

  • Kelly Walker

    Well if the question was which QB do you want if the oline sucks would easily be Ben by a mile. That 2008 line was horrible, especially the interior. Stapleton was so bad that SB was his last start. Hartwick was below average and that bum Kemoeatu was by far the best interior starter that year. No way Eli gets anywhere playing behind that garbage.

  • Kelly Walker


  • PaeperCup

    Hartwig played above expectations in the SB though.

  • steelersfan

    Why is burress still relevant?

  • steelersfan

    I think the majority of sane people would say Ben > Eli

  • Steelgator

    Burress would shoot himself in the leg with the game on the line, what does he know? Eli has had some spectacular playoff performances amidst generally mediocre and occasionally aaaaaawful regular season success. I’d take Ben, no contest.

  • Milliken Steeler

    I don’t know about that. The Green bay Superbowl? He had time on the clock and he couldn’t drive the team down the field. After the initial first down, Capers shut it down as painful as that is for me to say, as I’m not a Dom fan.

    Do I think hes better than Eli though? Yes.

  • Matt

    Saying Ben would be regarded as one of the greatest ever if he won the 2010 Superbowl is a bit of an overstatement. In any event he didn’t win that Superbowl – in part because he threw 2 pics in the game.

    I think Ben’s a better QB than Eli, but I wouldn’t say he’s “one of the best ever.” He’s in the top 5 or 6 QB’s of his era, but he’s never been in the running for 1 or 2. At least I don’t think you can make an objectively solid case for him being the #1 or #2 guy. I agree he makes some miracle plays happen. But he also makes plenty bone headed, make a fan punch a hole in the wall type plays too.

    Plex does have a little something on his side on the clutch point – at least in Superbowl appearances. In Eli’s two superbowl appearances he’s thrown 3 TDs and 1 INT and he had a low passer rating of 87.3 and a high of 103.8. He also let two game winning 4th quarter drives that ended in touchdowns. Ben’s superbowl stats aint so good. His first superbowl was a disaster from a statistical perspective. I think Ben’s passer rating was in the 20’s and he threw 2 pics with no TDs – Randle El threw the only TD in that game (frankly, I think Randle El was the guy who threw the best pass of any Steeler that day). Ben’s two more recent superbowls were better showings from his end – he threw for 3 TDs, but he also had 3 pics in those games (one of which was a pic 6 in the GB game). Ben’s passer rating in those games, low and high, was lower than Eli’s. So in Plex’s defense, Eli has played better than Ben in the biggest of all games. But this aint the superbowl and day in, day out, Ben plays better than Eli.

  • Milliken Steeler

    Agreed. I believe his QBR in the Seattle game, was the worst or second worst in the history of the game. 20 I think it was? I like Ben, but Im not going to go overboard. Its like people saying Brady is the greatest of all time. he was a Pete Carol bone headed call away from being 3-3 in the big game. That’s not to terrific to me.

  • Brendon Glad

    Give him a break…he qualified both the AB and Ben questions with comments like: “You guys are trying to throw me under the bus with these questions”…and other ways of saying he hated having to pick one over the other.
    And it became an article here…so he was right to say that.

  • ryan72384

    Good post I agree with you. His super bowl performances have been shaky. Take away the game winning drive in 08 and Bens super bowl performances would be reguarded as pretty bad. However if he did win in 2010 that’d be 3 rings. He has had some horrible games I agree but with 3 rings and with the pure physical ability he has demonstrated I think he would have to be talked about as a top 3 all time. Brady might be considered the best ever but he is the worst play call in history away from having 3 super bowl losses.

  • francesco

    I agree with Buress. With the game on the line Eli will get it done more often than Ben.
    Simple reason…Ben will always look for a home run throw. Eli goes for the first down.

  • RickM

    I agree with you that it was a no-win question, and I agree nothing should be held against Plaxico. But if he is going to raise the subject of stats, he should know his stuff beforehand. From a pure QB efficiency perspective, there is no way Ben’s and Eli stats are “basically identical”.

    He had to know he would be asked about the two QB’s. It would have been smarter for him to say ‘I can’t speak to their exact 13-year stats’ and go from there. It’s not a biggie, but whether it was intentional or not he did inflate Manning’s career performance before selecting him as the guy he’d choose (if he had to). Is it remotely a big deal, of course not. But once you venture an opinion like that lol you’ll get follow-up stories. But as you say no one should be angry about his opinion.

  • Thomas

    Really? The guy on the team who would have finished 12-4 if there were 90 seconds left in a game and instead went 7-9? OK…..

  • Thomas

    If he can stay healthy, yes. He had his foot barely tapped vs MIA and tore his meniscus. His body concerns me.

  • Jaybird

    How did Ben do with the game on the line , down by three with minutes to go against Arizona in the Super Bowl?

  • Jaybird

    Not Giants fans – they love Eli. I swear they would take him over Peyton in his prime.

  • Ray Smith

    Oh cool good to know. I would choose Stevie Wonder operating a firearm over him

  • Jaybird

    If I recall – hartwig (hartwick?!) got run over and caused a safety. Expectations must have been very low for him or any of those scrub O linemen we had to play above expectations. They were the worst line ever , no exaggeration.

  • Jaybird

    I was thinking dick Cheney , but Stevie works better! Lol

  • Applebite

    Santonio Holmes would disagree….

  • Brian Miller

    “he’s going to put it up there in a nice spot for me to go up there and get…” yeah Plaxico, that’s because Eli Manning can’t aim worth a s@%^…Manning had a much better o-line for the first 8 years in the league, and a lot more protection while Ben got violated incessantly…I will never forget that holding penalty called on our center in the endzone in the Superbowl…really? But hey, I would rather have AB, MB, Holmes and Ward over Plexihead, but hey, we can’t all be perfect??

  • Brian Miller

    They definitely have both had their ups and downs…I agree with you that Ben is better, but just my opinion. There is the fact that Manning’s best/most famous pass was that last ditch play to the WR that caught in on his helmet, but hey, whatever Plaxico!

  • The Chin

    No one pays attention to Cheddar Plax anyway

  • Michael Mosgrove

    plax doesnt make the best choices. tax evasion. shooting himself in the leg. still thinking he was nfl ready long after he was done.

  • Matt Manzo

    I agree, you can’t be mad at him for choosing Eli, cuz he got him the ring.
    It’s gonna be a great comparison for years to come! Hopefully Ben adds #7 and tips the scales!

  • francesco

    You’re talking about a century ago!

  • Joey

    Or you know if Mendenhall didn’t fumble… but beggars cant be choosers.

  • NimbusHex

    They’re both pretty great game-winning drive QBs, can’t go wrong either way.

  • Kick

    He won a ring with Eli, I don’t blame him. I think srdan already said it best.

  • mrallnite111 .

    Or if Ben doesn’t throw that int in the first Qt or if Benjamin see Mike Wallace running free into the end-zone.

    Now if Ben didn’t spend the past 4 season trying to avenge the firing of Bruce Arians, You guys would be discussing the probability of winning your 9th or 10th Super Bowl.

  • mrallnite111 .

    I’m hoping it does

  • mrallnite111 .

    Burress would shoot himself in the leg with the game on the line, what does he know? Did you not know that Plaxico scored the winning SUPER BOWL TD ? or maybe you’re very defensive of your Quarterback

  • Kevin Reich

    Superbowl loss to the packers. Last drive. He kept throwing to Wallace when Ward and Miller were open underneath.

  • Jaybird

    Is the past two years recent enough? What was the Eli lead New York Giants record the prior two years?

  • Shane Mitchell

    Terry Bradshaw

  • Plaxico Burress is a moron.

  • Nolrog

    So Ben decided he would rather make the Steelers pay for firing his guy rather than win more SBs? /facepalm.

  • Nolrog

    They don’t even need a defense like they had 10 years ago or like Denver had last year. One or two playmakers on D and this team would be a serious contender.

  • LHW

    I love Ben R., but i would argue he has his best years ahead of him. He has take a literal beating over the years. Sure, guys have stayed along longer at the position, but I don’t their bodies have experienced what his has. I could be wrong of course. His current football acumen in incredible; I wish he had that 5 years ago. Regardless, he is in an incredible one of a kind quarterback

  • LHW

    Good point. What separates average QB’s from guys like Eli and Ben are their comeback statistics and the timeliness of their plays. They make career defining plays at big moments on center stage.

  • francesco

    You are missing the headline…with the game on the line…who would you choose? Let’s assume same players playing on same team with the only difference being the QB?

  • Mrs Bighead

    He’s never struck me as a super smart guy and that comment confirms it

  • Brendon Glad

    It’s more the title of the article that irritates me…I watched the whole segment, and Plaxico was clearly torn to make an answer on both questions…and especially the Eli vs. Ben one. But it’s a hot take show, and you don’t get asked back if you go all “Tom Brady/Russell Wilson” on questions like that.
    The headline should have been more like: “Burress Reluctantly Chooses Eli Over Ben With The Game on the Line”….but then people might not have clicked on it as often.
    So it is what it is….but Plax didn’t dis Ben…for sure.

  • Rxc131

    This is the same man who also choose to pack a loaded handgun in his sweatpants… and we know how that ended.

  • Mister Wirez

    Burress chose foolishness instead of football… I aint listening

  • Hypo Cycloid

    Plax said the stats are comparable, yet they aren’t. Ben owns Eli in every major and most minor statistical categories over their career by a lot in most cases.

  • Hypo Cycloid

    Ben has more game winning drives than Eli in 15 less games. Ben in a heartbeat every single time.

  • Hypo Cycloid

    Ben has a better td%, int%, ypa, win%, ypg, completion %,. Ben has more game winning drives. And Ben has started 15 less games! Most of those stats aren’t even close as well. Ben has a 10 point higher qb rating.

  • Hypo Cycloid

    I read Ben has 38 gwd and Eli 34.

  • Jaybird

    I’ll take Ben all day, every day. I’m a jersey guy and I’ve seen plenty of Eli. Eli has 50 more INTS than Ben and like 15 -20 more fumbles lost. Eli can be a turnover machine. And Eli has a chicken arm – he can’t throw in the wind.
    Ben has been as clutch as any QB in the league the last 13 years.
    I don’t understand why you say Eli is better with the game on the line? Because he threw a dead duck , lollipop of a pass up for grabs, straight up in the air that his reciever caught on his helmet?
    No thanks I’ll take Ben

  • Ryan Alderman


  • Joey

    you have a very valid point. I am glad Ben FINALLY sees the reason of Haley, and I am glad Haley respects Ben.