• Lennon Crisp

Will Roethlisberger be a first ballot Hall of Famer in Canton


The question remains, will Ben Roethlisberger be a first-ballot Hall of Famer?

With Ben Roethlisberger likely playing his last game in the NFL this Sunday against the Cleveland Browns in Cleveland, I'm going to look at his career and break down whether he's a first ballot Hall of Famer when it’s time for him to be inducted.


Roethlisberger started his college career at the University of Miami (Ohio) in 2000. When he arrived at the university, he was a red-shirt freshman but made his debut the season, in 2001. In his first official game, he threw for 193 yards and 2 touchdowns in a 31-13 loss to Michigan. He finished his first year with the Redhawks with 3,105 passing yards, 241 completions, and 25 touchdown passes. He finished his college career with over 10,000 passing yards, 80 touchdowns thrown, and 23 interceptions. Here is a look at some of the accomplishments he made at the University of Miami in Ohio.

  • 14 games with 200+ yards passing in a season (2003; NCAA record)

  • 14 consecutive games with 200+ yards passing in a season (2003; NCAA record)

  • 1,304 pass attempts in a career (2001–03).

  • Most career pass completions – 854 (2001–03).

  • 342 pass completions in a season (2003)

  • The most pass completions per game are 41 [22].

  • Most career passing yards – 10,829 (2001–03).

  • 4,486 passing yards per season (2003)

  • 525 passing yards per game are the most in the league.

  • Most career passing touchdowns – 84 (2001–03).

  • 37 passing touchdowns in a single season (2003)

  • 5 passing touchdowns in a game.

  • 11,075 total offense yards in a career (2001–03).

  • Most total offense yards in a season–4,597 (2003)

  • 485 total offense yards in a game

  • 14 games with 300+ yards passing.

  • The most 400-yard passing games — four

  • Most games with four or more touchdown passes – seven

  • The highest completion rate in my career (minimum of 300 attempts) was 65.5% (2001–03).

  • Season completion rate (minimum of 100 attempts) – 69.1% (2003)

Entering the 2004 NFL Draft, Big Ben was one of the most scouted quarterbacks along with future Hall of Famers Phillip Rivers and Eli Manning. Originally, he was projected to be selected 4th overall by the Giants, but after a trade that sent Eli Manning to the Giants and Rivers to the Chargers, Ben was selected 11th overall by the Steelers, the highest draft pick used on a quarterback since they took Terry Bradshaw 1st overall in 1970.


The 2004 season started out with Roethlisberger starting 3rd on the depth chart for Pittsburgh, behind Tommy Maddox and Charlie Batch. However, in the preseason, Batch was injured and Ben was moved up to the backup role for the start of the season. Originally, the plan was for Ben to backup Maddox and be mentored by him, but when Maddox got injured vs Baltimore, Roethlisberger was thrown in to finish the game, which they lost, but ultimately, it showed that Ben was willing to fight for the right to be the starting quarterback for the Steelers. He would go on to finish his rookie year with a 13-0 qb record and a unanimous Rookie of the Year. He would lead the Steelers on a deep playoff run before ultimately getting eliminated by the eventual Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots.


In his 2005 season, he picked up where he left off. Other than missing 4 games due to various knee injuries, the Steelers went 9-3 with him in the starting line-up and 2-2 without him. The Steelers secured a wild card spot in the playoffs. They defeated Cincinnati in the wild card game and upset Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in the divisional round en route to an AFC championship appearance. He sealed an AFC Championship win against the Broncos with a 4-yard touchdown run on the final drive of the game. As a 23-year old quarterback, he was on pace to break the record for the youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl, facing the Seattle Seahawks. They won the Super Bowl 21-10. Statistically, he had one of the worst performances by a quarterback in a Super Bowl matchup. He broke the record held by Brady for the youngest quarterback to ever win a Super Bowl. Roethlisberger suffered a broken jaw, a broken nose and numerous other injuries during a motorcycle crash in Pittsburgh. He was not wearing a helmet when he flipped off his bike and crashed his head into the windshield of a car, nor was he properly licensed to drive a motorcycle in Pennsylvania. Roethlisberger issues a public apology and says he will wear a helmet from then on, but a few months later, a Pittsburgh television station captures him again riding a motorcycle without a helmet, this time on a city freeway. But they were ultimately eliminated from the playoffs after a loss to the Baltimore Ravens and finished the season 8-8.


In 2008, after agreeing to a new eight-year contract worth over $100 million in March, Roethlisberger helped the Steelers to their second Super Bowl title in four seasons. In one of the more dramatic Super Bowls in NFL history, Roethlisberger led Pittsburgh on an 88-yard drive with less than three minutes remaining, capping it with a touchdown pass to Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes. Although having some legal problems throughout the years, Ben Roethlisberger has always seemed to be consistent as an elite quarterback. Going for at least 3500 passing yards every season since 2008. He also had a Super Bowl appearance in 2010 but lost to Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers after a 4th quarter drive went nowhere. In 2014, he threw for a career-best 5,100 passing yards. Overall, Ben has been consistent, loyal to the team that drafted him, and just an excellent leader in the NFL. Aaron Rodgers commented on Ben Retying.


"If you remember, when [Sanders] retired, he had, like, a little note: 'Hey, guys. Thanks. It was fun. I'm out. ' I always thought how cool that was, "Rodgers said. "He loved the game, but he was never bigger than the game. I think that's a great way to do it. I think getting the fanfare and respect like Ben did at Heinz Field last night was awesome as well. I think he deserves that. He's been given 18 years [there]. He's an adult in Pittsburgh. He's given his life — nearly half of his life. He's lived in Pittsburgh and played for the Steelers. It's pretty special.


There are some positives to both those things, but I don't think—I would never want a farewell tour. I just think that has worked for some guys and has been great and cool, and I respect that. But that's not something I want.

Roethlisberger ranks among the top ten in almost any major passing statistic. He's fifth in NFL history in completions (5,410), eighth in attempts (8,399), and sixth in yards per attempt (7.60). His 248 games played are the sixth-most by any quarterback in league history, and his 246 games started are third in league history. He is also 5th in all-time passing yards. But where does Ben rank with other quarterbacks who are already in the hall of fame? Let’s look at the stats.


Ben Roethlisberger: 63,844 passing yards, 417 touchdowns, and 210 interceptions.

Joe Montana: 40,551 passing yards, 273 touchdowns, 139 interceptions.

Dan Marino: 61,361 passing yards, 420 touchdowns, and 252 interceptions.


While it is close stats wise to consider him not a first ballot Hall of Famer, I think with everything included, I truly believe Roethlisberger is a first ballot Hall of Famer and set the bar high.

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