Is Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger Still Clutch?

By Jeff Hartman
Pittsburgh Steelers
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Once upon a time when the game was on the line and the Pittsburgh Steelers needed a drive there was no one in the NFL you’d rather have with the football in his hands other than Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger has been a magician in the clutch throughout his career and on the biggest of stages.

Who could ever forget that fourth quarter drive in Super Bowl 43 where Roethlisberger drove the Steelers 90+ yards before hitting Santonio Holmes in the back of the end zone for the game-winning score? However, as great as that moment has been who remembers in Super Bowl 45 when Roethlisberger had the ball in his hands with time on the clock and a touchdown needed to defeat the Green Bay Packers? The fourth down pass sailed high and through Mike Wallace‘s hands ending the Steelers’ chances of winning their seventh Super Bowl title.

So, the question remains: Is Roethlisberger still a clutch quarterback when the game is on the line? A recent NFL player poll provided the following question for players to respond:

It is the two-minute warning and the Super Bowl is on the line. Whom do you want at quarterback?

Here are the quarterbacks who were listed according to the players along with the percentage vote they received.

Tom Brady – 40 percent
Peyton Manning – 26.9 percent
Aaron Rodgers – 10 percent
Drew Brees – 6.6 percent
Roethlisberger – 6.3 percent
Eli Manning – 2.8 percent

If you look at that list, you have to ask yourself whether or not the Steelers’ signal-caller is still getting the job done when it means the most.

Amongst quarterbacks since 1960, Roethlisberger is tied with Brees for 15th on the all-time fourth quarter comebacks list with 23. The all-time leader in fourth quarter comebacks? Peyton Manning with 40. Comparing Roethlisberger to only active quarterbacks, he is tied with Brees for fourth on the list. The quarterbacks listed higher than Roethlisberger are Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Eli Manning.

Roethlisberger has a knack for getting the job done, but as his career has progressed his comeback numbers have started to decline. In Roethlisberger’s first five seasons, he led 19 fourth quarter comebacks while the last five seasons he has led 14 comebacks. A large reason for this decline could be Roethlisberger’s health as well as the teams that he has been a part of and their overall success — or lack thereof.

Any way you slice it, Roethlisberger deserves to be on the list for quarterbacks to have the ball in their hands when the game matters the most. No quarterback is able to get the job done in every situation, but to be able to do so in the fashion that Roethlisberger has is quite amazing.

Every quarterback who was a part of the players poll results is worthy of being on that list and could have the word “clutch” next to their name. However, being a Steelers fan, I’m sure there is only one quarterback that you’d want to have complete that two minute drill to win the game, and that is No. 7.

Jeff Hartman covers the Pittsburgh Steelers for and  also contributes for the Penguins and Pirates. Follow him on  Twitter @BnGBlitz and add him on Google+

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