Ben Roethlisberger Rated 6th In Pro Football Focus QB Rankings For 2017

The Pittsburgh Steelers enter the 2017 season knowing full well that this year could be the last for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, their first-round pick in the 2004 NFL Draft. And they are hoping that he could have one last Super Bowl run in him after leading the team to three in the past, winning two of them to make the Steelers the winningest franchise in Super Bowl history.

It is obvious that Roethlisberger’s success is critical to the Steelers’ success this season, and frankly I don’t even want to think about what will come next after he retires. But that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be nice if he has a bit of a better season than he did a year ago.

Pro Football Focus seems to think that he will, placing him sixth in their 2017 pre-season quarterback rankings after he tied for the 11th-highest quarterback grade in their metrics from last season. For perspective, he placed first in their metrics the year before, higher even than Tom Brady.

Entering the 2017 season, however, PFF has him behind—naturally—Brady at the top, followed by Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Andrew Luck, and Matt Ryan, in that order. Only Brady and Rodgers make up the Elite tier, while the rest—in addition to Russell Wilson and Philips Rivers—make up the ‘Upper-Level Starter’ tier.

They do include some interesting numbers from last season. His adjusted completion percentage, for example—a statistic meant to adjust for things like dropped passes—was 72.7 last year, which was good for just 19th in the league among qualifying quarterbacks.

His passer rating facing pressure was just 69.8 a year ago, 16th in the league, which is surprising considering that his career numbers against pressure are very good. His 79.8 rating against the blitz last season ranked even lower at 24th.

While he had the eighth-best passer rating on deep throws (110.4), his intermediate passer rating (91.6) ranked 14th, while his short passer rating (92.8) ranked 24th. On the other hand, another positive statistic is his ‘big throw percentage’ of 5.7, eighth-highest in the league. Big-time throws are those that they grade very highly, but obviously apply to very skilled throws.

My biggest concern last season came with ball security, however. While he only ended up with 13 interceptions a year ago, tied for 12th-most in the league, a significantly higher number of passes could have been intercepted but were not as a result of defensive failures. PFF indicates that 4.9 percent of his throws were ‘turnover-worthy’ last year, ranking 27th in the league.

By more conventional metrics, Roethlisberger ranked 17 in passing yards, 11th in yards per attempt, sixth in touchdown passes, 14th in completion percentage, and 11th in quarterback rating. While his touchdown numbers were good, I think by either conventional or ‘advanced’ measures it would be fair to argue that he could definitely play better this year.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • Brian Moritz

    To put him behind Ryan, and especially Luck is just flat out ridiculously stupid. I would argue he deserves to be ahead of Brees. Rodgers should be #1, then begrudgingly Brady, then Ben.

  • PaeperCup

    I think that’s fair.

  • I just lost all respect for PFF.

  • Doug McFee

    I’ll take #7 on game day every game!

  • Doug McFee

    Can’t measure heart.

  • pcantidote

    1st, 7th, whatever, Ben is good enough to lead us to SB7. Most teams don’t have that luxury.

  • CoaltownSteeler

    He should be just behind Brady and Rodgers…and definitely elite. Last I checked, winning, especially SBs, still counts for something.

  • Marcel Chris Chauvet

    Well, it supports my belief that Ben had a better season in 2015 than he did in 2016. I’m expecting a strong year from him in 2017. Seems as though PFF is as well. This much I know for sure: this team isn’t going anywhere unless #7 is playing well.

  • I think he belongs top 4. Luck in no way should be ahead of him. Ryan is highly debatable but I say no. I also think that Carr belongs ahead of Rivers.

  • Steel B

    Andrew Luck and Matt Ryan??? That’s laughable.

  • nutty32

    They basically just hire college kids/fans like you or me to watch each play and grade it. It’s not like baseball stats, especially with the smaller 16 game sample size. They just hide behind numbers to give it that aura of science & objectivity.

    However, no one has the time to be watching every snap of every game so some information is better than none. But yeah, splitting hairs as to this guy is ranked #2 & that guys is #7 is completely meaningless, especially when they don’t know exactly what the play call/assignments are.

  • RickM

    Andrew Luck couldn’t carry Ben Roethlisberger’s equipment bag. Luck is the most over-rated QB in the league and it’s not even close. As for the other guys ahead of Ben, I think they all make sense although Ryan will have to prove he’s not a one-year wonder. I’ve always said that you can rate Roethlisberger anywhere from 3-6 and you’ll be able to make a pretty good argument.

  • Bradshaw

    As I see things… Ben did not play as well as I’m used to last season. His statistics and play on the road are reflections of his off year. I am optimitic that he will play better in 2017. If he does, a SB is in definitely in shot. If he plays like 2016, a SB is within reach.

    Based on 2016, I think Ben is just barely Top 7. He needs to be more consistent and do more in the red zone to be above the QBs listed. I’m no a Ben hater by any means but I’d take Brady, Rodgers, Luck and Ryan in a heartbeat if it was an even exchange/trade.

    Top Tier: Rodgers (1) , Brady (2)
    2nd Tier: Ryan, Ben, Carr, Rivers, Luck (who are all really about same depending on week)

  • nobodyaskedbut .

    That PFF is at best foolish and at worst totally inaccurate because most of the criteria is subjectivly reached. What is a “dropped pass” or a “missed block” or a “missed tackle”? Your opinion of those events may be different from mine or any of a 1000 other people to include the actual experts. To rank Big Ben below anyone but maybe Brady or Rodgers is ridiculous. His intangibles outrank all the other QBs and have for years. He has always been the best “football player” at the QB position and even at this age might still be. In this century only P. Manning and Rodgers have finished in the top 5 in passer rating more seasons than Roethlisberger and among multiple championship winning NFL QBs is 4th all-time (and 1st since 1970) in career Y/P/A at 7.9.

  • Alex K

    Ben didn’t have his best season last year. He’s got a fair spot.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Did you watch the Falcons last year?

  • Matthew Marczi

    That is really not true. They have plenty of qualified people who work for them, including former players and coaches, and are hired by a variety of organizations, including NFL teams, for their research data. They have a group of people who look at every play, so it’s not just one person. There is obvious gray area in any analysis due to what cannot be known, but that is true of any attempt at analysis, including ours. There are some who take PFF way too seriously, but it seems that the majority of people have an unfairly negative view of what they do.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Well, Joe Flacco has won a Super Bowl far more recently than he has…

  • nutty32

    I didn’t say they weren’t qualified just that its still merely subjective. For example “drops” for WR. Those are all over the board and in the eye of the beholder. PFF is cool and useful just not in the way they claim when grading individual players v. team grades that I have less quibble with – a 3 & out is a 3 & out.

  • CoaltownSteeler

    I didn’t mean that’s the only criteria, just that it’s not just raw data, either.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I tend to be selective with what I use from them because of how subjectivity waivers, but I think it was pretty obvious, for example, that Roethlisberger had a lot of accuracy issues last season and that included throwing balls that should have been picked off. He had several in the first Ravens game alone, enough to justify me doing a film study on it. Naturally, some things like drops are more subjective than others, such as yards per carry and success rate on third and short situations. But the way I look at it, if they’re all subjective the same way, then there is going to be some useful data to take away if you’re drawing comparisons. Drops are going to be inherently partially subjective, but if all drops are measured in the same subjective way, then fair comparisons can be made. Of course, when it comes to Steelers data, we track all of our own. I’m toying around with the idea this year of expanding some of the things I track as well, such as interception-worthy throws.

  • RickM

    We’ve had this discussion before. But Roethlisberger is retiring in 1, 2 or 3 years. Why would you feel the need now in his 14th year to start charting a decidedly negative, hypothetical stat that not a single established sports site charts on a regular basis? I’m all for objective, fair analysis. But I just don’t get your mindset, other than to make Roethlisberger look as bad as possible in his last year or two.

    I never want Ben to get a free pass from criticism. But adding a new stat of ‘passes that could have been intercepted’? Seriously? I’m pretty confident that won’t be done for Brady, Brees, Rodgers, Ryan, Wilson, etc. on their respective team fan sites. They have all earned the necessary respect that negative hypotheticals won’t suddenly be added to their stats line.

  • Nick Sabatella

    Especially on the road….

  • Quan Hurst

    He stinks on the road plus he throws alot of arrogant passes im so ready for him to go

  • Paul Rainey

    Agree with you 100%

  • Alan Tman

    I would really like to know his completion percentage if you take out the wr screens.

  • NinjaMountie

    Part of me is almost ready for you people to get your wish. I can’t wait to hear how you miss the “good ole days” with Ben.
    Wow, we truly are some of the most spoiled fans.

  • NinjaMountie

    Other than Luck I’m okay with this. Ben slipped last year. Hopefully he’ll pick up his game this year.

  • Swe De

    It’s about time someone brings the truth to light, that Ben has been mediocre at times. I’m honestly surprised the experts at PFF rated him this high. His road performances can be dismal at times, and his “turn-over worthy” throws don’t just go “out the other ear” with me. I love Ben as much as anyone – his style fits what I love about football – but I also recognise that his execution and consistency are shadows of the Brady/Rogers height.

    Fans point to the secondary and pass rush and play calling and whatever else they can to characterise Steeler shortcomings, but when you look at the losses from last year (I’ve watched every game at lest 4 times) it’s easy to find plays that Ben left out there that could’ve made a difference. With the talent on this roster over the past 4 years, if Ben had ice in his veins or had the consistent execution of the elite QB’s in this league, #7 may have already hoisted L # 7…

  • NinjaMountie

    Do it! But track the flip side. Int that shouldn’t have been ints.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Yeah, that’s a good idea. I have a lot of ideas I want to try to keep track of, like tracking pre-snap motion, pulling, etc., but I’ll probably forget some and others will be too much, lol.

  • mokhkw

    We may not like to admit it, but Ben is on the downside of his career and although he still can have elite moments and games – especially at home – on the road he is average and getting progressively worse the past 3 seasons. Between road performances and under pressure QBR it’s obvious that the retirement talk isn’t just hot air.

  • NinjaMountie

    I agree. He’s on the downward trajectory of his career. However, I still think he has a good year, or even two, if he wants.

  • NinjaMountie

    That sounds like a lot of work…A LOT!

  • Steve

    Ryan had an outstanding year, last year. Lets see if that can continue, or a one hit wonder.

  • Milton Farfara

    This ^

  • Conserv_58

    This post earned buffoon points of the month award. Arrogant passes?! Ready for him to go?! Please.

  • Conserv_58

    I couldn’t care less what Ben’s ranking is. What I care about is seeing him lead this team to another SB and win it in dominating fashion. I want to see him get the losing to Brady monkey off of his back. I also want to see him not turn the ball over. I still think losing another AFCCG to Brady this past season was excruciatingly painful for him to accept and live with and I don’t blame him. Knowing Brady is 10/2 against him has to hurt his pride.

  • MP

    Must miss that home cooking.