In the ever-changing landscape of the NFL, few names stand the test of time. Ben Roethlisberger, fondly known as Big Ben, is undoubtedly one of those names. As we analyze the quarterback’s career, the question arises: Where does he rank among the all-time greats in the NFL?
In 2022, after an incredible eighteen seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger announced his retirement, leaving one of the most winningest legacies ever witnessed in the NFL. With his leadership, the Steelers won eight AFC North championships and two Super Bowls, becoming the first team in NFL history to win six Super Bowl titles.
He’s not unaware of his impact. On the “Dad Tired” podcast, Roethlisberger shared, “My wife put it to me once, obviously a very wise person, she put it to me like this, ‘When you go speak, … If it was a question-answer, 99% of the questions are going to be, ‘What was it like to win a Super Bowl? Who hit you the hardest? What was your favorite place to play?’
“Football stories. And they want to hear about me … These great stories of me. But you know what the people need to hear, or people really want to hear? They want to hear the human side of you.
“They want to hear that you’ve messed up. They want to hear that you screwed up, that you’ve done this, you’ve done that … That’s why when I go speak, I’m unashamed, to a certain extent, of telling my story because I am human, I’m normal. Yeah, I’ve been blessed to do some amazing things, but I’m not just on this pedestal guy. I’m real, I’m normal like everyone else. I have real-life issues.”
He didn’t have those issues on the field. When it comes to numbers, Roethlisberger’s career stats are undoubtedly among the most impressive in the league. With 418 touchdowns and 64,088 throwing yards, he’s one of the top 10 passers in NFL history. Notably, he earned six Pro Bowl selections while leading the league in total passing yards twice and passing yards per game three times.
While Roethlisberger once told a reporter, “Two Super Bowls, 100-some years, 300-some, I don’t even know my own stats. I’ve been playing this game longer than you’ve probably been covering it,” if we look at the numbers in more detail, his completion percentage highlights his skill.
He’s shown a steady ability to thread the needle under defensive duress, with 5,440 total completions out of 8,443 attempts and a career completion percentage of roughly 64%. In the context of NFL records, how many 500-yard games does Ben Roethlisberger have? He is the first and only NFL player to date with four 500-plus yard passing games, with three being in the regular season and one postseason. He was the youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl championship.
Roethlisberger’s best plays range from jaw-dropping long bombs to precision passes, strategic pump-fakes to running the ball for the touchdown. Big Ben’s impressive highlight reels are more than just a collection of outstanding plays; they’re a cinematic narrative of a quarterback who loves a challenge and maintains composure while executing plays with finesse.
A Legend Among Legends
To truly gauge Roethlisberger’s standing among the NFL’s best, it’s crucial to evaluate him in relation to his peers. A wave of gifted quarterbacks emerged in the early 2000s, including Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, and Tom Brady.
How did Ben Roethlisberger compare to other quarterbacks of his era? According to the numbers, Roethlisberger is in elite company. His 64,000-plus passing yards rank him fifth overall in NFL history, trailing Brady, Brees, Peyton Manning, and Brett Favre. He holds the eighth position on the all-time record of touchdown passes, adding Aaron Rodgers, Phillip Rivers, and Dan Marino to the slots ahead of him and Eli Manning behind him. With a 93.5 passer rating, he stands in seventh place in the NFL’s top ranking.
His consistency remains evident as he joins the exclusive club of quarterbacks with 3,000 yards passing in 15 out of his 18 seasons — a feat matched only by Brady, Favre, Brees, and Peyton Manning. When it comes to clutch performances, Roethlisberger is a force. His 52 game-winning drives rank him fourth in NFL history, alongside Peyton Manning, Brees, Brady, and Marino.
Roethlisberger is third overall in the category of fourth-quarter comebacks, positioned between Peyton Manning, Brady, Brees, Johnny Unitas, and Matthew Stafford. When stacked against these legends, Big Ben’s athleticism, skill, and ability to deliver under pressure shine through.
There’s no question about it — Big Ben Roethlisberger has earned his place among the best of the best. His exceptional ability to pass the ball, break records, win Super Bowls, and make critical plays when they matter most make a compelling case for a spot among the top ten quarterbacks in the NFL, and all but solidify his vote into the Hall of Fame. As the curtain falls on his professional football career, his legacy is etched in the annals of history as one of the greatest athletes of all time.
So, who does Roethlisberger rate as the GOAT? His answer isn’t controversial — it’s Patriots and Buccaneers QB Brady.
“To me, he’s the best quarterback in the league and he’s done it for a long time,” Roethlisberger declared on 93.7 The Fan during his weekly radio show in 2013.
“That’s no disrespect to some of these other guys that are doing some amazing things in the NFL right now. But to me, it’s about wins and championships — and he’s got more championships than anybody.”