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Super Bowl XLV Preview: The Quarterbacks

January 28, 2011 By: Admin Category: Pre-Game Analyses

This is Part 2 of our 9-part Super Bowl XLV Preview series.

To read the other parts of this series, click the appropriate link below:

Part 1:  Super Bowl XLV Preview -  Team overviews

Part 2:  Super Bowl XLV Preview - The quarterbacks

Part 3:  Super Bowl XLV Preview - The Offensive Lines

Part 4:  Super Bowl XLV Preview - The Receivers

Part 5:  Super Bowl XLV Preview - The Running Backs

Part 6:  Super Bowl XLV Preview - The Defensive Lines

Part 7:  Super Bowl XLV Preview - The Linebackers

Part 8:  Super Bowl XLV Preview - The Defensive Backs

Part 9:  Super Bowl XLV Preview - Putting it all together

Today we’re going to be evaluating the two quarterbacks who will be participating in Super Bowl XLV; Ben Roethlisberger & Aaron Rodgers.

Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger are two quarterbacks who present very similar challenges for their opposition.  Both can kill you with their arms, and both have to be contained because they’re dangerous when they get outside of the pocket.  Yet, when you look at the specifics of how they get it done, the two quarterbacks are very different.

Aaron Rodgers is more of a prototype quarterback.  He has a perfect throwing motion, and he is one of the most accurate passers in the NFL.  If you wanted to film a “how-to” video for quarterbacks, Aaron Rodgers would likely be the guy that you’d get to star in the video.  He hasn’t accomplished as much in the league as some quarterbacks have, but it’s not because he lacks the required skills.

Rodgers had the 3rd highest quarterback rating in the NFL in 2010, trailing only Tom Brady and Philip Rivers.  He threw for 3,922 yards and 28 touchdowns.

The Packers rely on Aaron Rodgers far more than the Steelers rely on Big Ben.  This is primarily because the Packers don’t  have a rushing attack that is of any significance. The Packers were 24th in the NFL in rushing, and they just barely reached 100 total rushing yards per game.  They had only 3 runs during the regular season that exceeded 20 yards.  By contrast, the Steelers had 16 runs of 20 yards or more in the regular season.

Because the Packers are so dependent on Aaron Rodgers, their fate is completely tied to his.  Rodgers missed two games late in the year due to injury, and the Packers lost both of them.

In addition to his laser-like passes, Aaron Rodgers is also a legitimate running threat.  In fact, he may be the best running quarterback in the NFL who is not named Michael Vick.  Rodgers ran for 356 yards on 64 carries in 2010.  Ben Roethlisberger is also know for being a threat with his legs, but he uses his legs primarily to extend the play.  He doesn’t tend to run for yardage the way Rodgers does.  To illustrate this fact, Roethlisberger only had 176 yards on 34 attempts in 2010.  That’s about half of Aaron Rodgers’ numbers.

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers

Unlike Rodgers, Big Ben isn’t a prototype quarterback.  He doesn’t have perfect throwing form, and he isn’t nearly as accurate as Aaron Rodgers.  Roethlisberger’s primary asset is his size and his will to win.  Those aren’t standard attributes that most people look for in a quarterback, but they serve Ben well.

Most quarterback coaches would chastise Big Ben for his unwillingness to throw the ball away and avoid a sack.  They’d also try to break him of his habit of holding onto the ball too long to extend the play.  But Steelers fans know that some of Ben’s best plays come when he is running around playing “sandlot football”.  While it’s unorthodox, it’s effective nonetheless.

Ben’s other great strength is his size.  There’s a reason they call him “Big Ben”.  Until you actually stand next to him, you don’t quite realize just how big he is.  Ben is HUGE.  Just watch him standing next to some of his teammates.  He’s much bigger than linebackers like James Farrior, Lawrence Timmons, or James Harrison.  His bio lists him as 6’5″ and 241 pounds, but I’m sure that’s inaccurate.  I’d estimate that he weighs somewhere between 250-255 lbs.  So sending a 5’9″, 190 pound cornerback on a blitz might not be the best strategy to stop him.

Bart Scott, the former Baltimore Raven and current New York Jet, said that tackling Ben is “like trying to tackle a polar bear”.  It’s hard to prepare for him, because most teams don’t have a quarterback on their roster who’s big enough to imitate him in practice.

Despite Ben’s unorthodox approach to the quarterback position, he is absolutely clutch.  When the Steelers need him to make a big play, he does.  Just ask the Arizona Cardinals.  Or the Baltimore Ravens.  Or the New York Jets.

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger

Ben doesn’t play in a system that allows him to pass for 4,000 yards per year like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers and Drew Brees do.  So he’ll never get the accolades that those guys do.  But when it’s all said and done, Ben may end up having more Super Bowl rings than any of them.

Super Bowl XLV promises to be a great game.  The two teams match up well against one another.  And the most interesting match-up of them all may be Aaron Rodgers vs. Ben Roethlisberger.  This one should be a battle for the ages.


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10 Comments to “Super Bowl XLV Preview: The Quarterbacks”

  1. I think the qb for greenbay is good but he is a wildcard qb at best. He led this team to a wildcard birth not a division title. To put it into perspective 10-6 would have won the NFC West if they were in that division and in the AFC they don’t even make the playoffs. So there is your elite qb for you. He wouldn’t have a chance in the dominate AFC… Period!

  2. David,
    I’ve got to disagree with you. Football is a team sport, so you can’t necessarily judge individual talent based on team results. Barry Sanders is probably the best running back that I’ve ever seen, but he never won anything. Dan Marino may be the best quarterback I ever watched. But he also never won anything.

    So to say that Aaron Rodgers is no good simply because his team was a wildcard team in the playoffs is not a valid conclusion (IMO). He may have entered as a wildcard, but he took them to the Super Bowl.

    Most “experts” would probably say that Philip Rivers is one of the top 5 quarterbacks in the NFL right now, and his team didn’t even make the playoffs. So how is the team’s record an accurate reflection of a quarterback’s talent? Schaub puts up great numbers each year, but his team is never in the playoffs. Does that mean that he sucks?

  3. Wow, Donald…..I agreed with your article and your rebutle post as well….

    Because you are either too scared to say whick QB will have the edge or its just that everyone knows you will always pick the Steeler player, I will post my opinion on which team has the edge at each position as you cover each position during the next several days to take the pressure off of you. :)

    QB EDGE: Packers (if only because of our soft secondary)

  4. my refute was the case that every article i read, its Aaron being an ELITE quarterback, whereas Roethlisberger has never had that word associated with his name, even before his off field issues, to me, i need clarity on what makes an NFL qb elite, thats all. compare rogers to ben is a no brainer, i take Ben any day, i really don’t think 3/4 of the qbs playing would get out there with a busted nose and a protecteve shoe on and still go out and win the game, Aaron has to do more then wrap his hands around his waist referencing to a championship title. Aaron has done nothing yet…….this team was suppose to win thier division but they also needed help getting in too. they needed Chicago to lose to them ….rodgers last i checked has no nfl titles, no nfl rings, and no superbowl titles on his resume as a starting quarterback, it just irks me that he is considered Elite, i thought u had to do something to earn that title, what has he done in terms of football besides putup gaudy numbers, big numbers don’t win championships, look at the patriots, where are they, home, the Steelers in 09, had a 4,000 yard passer, 2 thousand yard recievers, and a thousand yard rusher, that equated to a 9-7 record, 1-5 in thier division and home for the playoffs…..

  5. Apparently trolls aren’t relegated to any 1 team. David - YOU ARE WRONG!

    AR is a great QB. He’s been starting for 3 years now, and I can count his “bad” games on 1 hand. I don’t think I’d have the same luxury with Big Ben.

    No, AR hasn’t “won it all” yet. But he will. If not on Sunday, then at some point soon. His team is loaded and young, with most of the key components under contract for years.

  6. dude, a troll isn’t someone who’s been commenting on the same blog for a while. he voices some good points. although i think rodgers has the skill set to be considered elite he doesnt have the experience (yet).

  7. but i give you props for calling out that other person

  8. Tim

    AR hasn’t yet won it all - but to say he’s not ‘elite’ is ridiculous. He’s a scary QB to play against. Ask anyone who did this year. They’ll probably beg to play about 28 other Qb’s instead. (minus just Brady, Manning, Brees, and Ben off the top of my head)

    And thank you for your compliment. I hate stupidity in football - I love arguing intelligently about football.

  9. I think this game really boils down to the quarterbacks because that’s what both defenses try to do: make life miserable for the opposing quarterback. Rodgers will have next to no help from his running game Sunday, and will have to make plays with the whole Steelers defense bent on confusing and crushing him. Ben will have some support at the least from the running game, but let’s face it, it doesn’t take a great defense to make Ben throw some ill-advised passes. Both quarterbacks will be stretched to their limit, and whichever one can maintain his presence of mind and make good decisions and good throws under pressure will probably win. I think if both quarterbacks play their best game, Ben has that edge, but if both quarterbacks play according to their average game, Rodgers has the edge. So I’d give the nod here to Rodgers.

  10. Both QB’s are great. If you have to give an edge to one, however, I would choose Ben simply because he’s been there before (twice).

    I wouldn’t necesarily denigrate our secondary either. Yes, McFadden can be beaten (sometimes regularly) but Pittsburgh still had the second best defensive passer rating in the league (GB was best) and the best defensive YPA (GB was 7th). As long as McFadden is healthy (i.e., we don’t have to relay on Madison in coverage) our secondary is perfectly respectable.

    That doesn’t necesarly mean that AR won’t have a game like he did against Atlanta. Just that, on paper, Ben should have a slight advantage based on SB experience.


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