Love him or hate him Ben Roethlisberger is a very unique kind of quarterback. Few times in the history of the NFL has there been a quarterback built like Big Ben. He is listed at six feet and five inches. He's also 240 pounds. That's bigger than plenty of linebackers from the 1970s and 1980s. He is indeed a mountain of a man. Counter to his physical nature, Roethlisberger is quick and nimble in the pocket. His ability to escape would-be tacklers is uncanny, especially for a quarterback. More often than, when a would-be tackler does get his hands on Ben, he is able to slip through their grip and create fantastic plays down the field. Ben has two Super Bowl rings, which is more than the majority of NFL quarterbacks can say they have. The players on this list all have a special place in their for Big Ben. Some of those special places harbour love and adoration while others are stricken with contempt and hate.
15 Love: Maurkice Pouncey
Maurkice Pouncey has been the best player on the Steelers offensive line since he was drafted by the Steelers in 2010. He has been Big Ben's center since the two were brought together on that fateful day. The two have enjoyed much success together. They've been to the playoffs four times and even made a trip to the Super Bowl. The love a center has for his quarterback and the reciprocated love is a special kind of love. The center is responsible for identifying the middle linebacker from play to play in an effort to diagnose the alignment of the defense and proceed to make the correct blocks for said play. Maurkice has been splendid at this job. So much so that he has been named All-Pro twice during his five seasons prior to this year. That means he was considered the very best at his position out of all 31 other centers in the league. But let us not be shy about where the real love is truly "felt" between Maurkice and Big Ben... hike!
14 Hate: Landry Jones
Ben Roethlisberger's backup is the former Oklahoma Sooner star, Landry Jones. Mr. Jones has recently been forced into starting duties after Big Ben suffered a leg injury in the Steelers loss to the Dolphins. Mr. Jones, I have a feeling, would've been happier hiding on the sidelines than being forced to start and play against the greatest QB and Coach combo of all time, Tom Brady and Bill Belichik. I would guess that when Belichik got the news that Big Ben was down and out, and that Landry Jones would be starting, he smelled blood in the water. While Landry did not play terribly, he did not really give the Steelers a chance to beat the best team in the NFL either. Jones completed 29 passes on 47 attempts to go along with one touchdown and one interception. If the Steelers plan was to lose the game and not get completely embarrassed then they were successful. Big Ben was at practice this week warming up his arm. Soon enough Mr. Jones will be back warming up that bench.
13 Love: Le'Veon Bell
When healthy, Le'veon Bell is the best running back in the NFL. This is in large part to the success the Steelers have with the passing game, specifically their deep passing game. Every time Big Ben chucks a bomb to Antonio Brown or whatever speedster they stick out there, it opens up the running games for Bell to gash the opponent with a pungent ground assault. Bell also happens to be the best receiving running back in the NFL. In 2014, Bell ran for over 1,300 yards on the ground on his way to earning a Pro Bowl nod. The Steelers often play him at receiver creating mis-matches for opposing defenses too. Also in 2014, Bell caught passes for over 800 yards. That's a decent year for any receiver. That's just Big Ben showing love all over the field. The complimentary football the Steelers are able to enjoy with the marriage of Bell and Big Ben is special. The love they have for one another is timeless.
12 Hate: Mike Wallace
"Don't let me go." Mike Wallace cried. "I want to stay. I want to be with you and you alone," he continued. But what Mike Wallace did not understand was that it was not Big Ben's choice to make. After the 2012 season Mike Wallace became a free agent. "Don't you remember what we had, Ben?" Mike said. "I gave you four years of my life. I gave you 32 touchdowns and over 4,000 yards receiving. I loved you!" "What about all those times on Monday night football? Those 80 yard touchdowns. We were the most electric combination in the league, Ben!" But all Ben could do was turn and walk away. Little Mikey Wallace was taken by the Miami Dolphins after the the 2012 NFL season breaking the bond between Big Ben and little Mikey. And as Mike took his final steps out of the locker room, he whispered to Ben, "I hate you Ben Roethlisberger. I hate you." Four years later Mike Wallace signed a deal with the Pittsburg Steeler's greatest foe, the Baltimore Ravens. The hate continues.
11 Love: Aaron Rodgers
Who wouldn't love a fellow quarterback you dispatched in the biggest game of the year? In Aaron Rodgers' first and only Super Bowl appearance he had the honor of shredding the AFC Champion Pittsburg Steelers for over 300 yards and three touchdowns. His quarterback rating was 111.5. He would go on to be named the Super Bowl MVP. On the other side of the field a young Big Ben had the numbers of a losing quarterback. He threw for 263 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. The interceptions, I think, are what really made Rodgers find love. The interceptions were costly as they always are. The first pick was returned for a touchdown. Ben's second pick led to a late second half touchdown causing true love to blossom. The Steelers would go on to rally in the second half bringing the game within one score before they fell flat. But what would not fall flat was Rodgers undying love for Big Ben.
10 Hate: Ladainian Tomlinson
Ladainian Tomlinson never had the chance to win a Super Bowl. His seasons in San Diego would typically end in the early rounds of the playoffs. In 2004, they lost in the first round to the Jets. In 2006, the Chargers bowed out of the playoffs with a loss to the Patriots in the divisional round. In 2007, they lost again to the Patriots in the AFC Championship game. The next two years they lost each of their first playoff games. That's not a bad run, but Ladainian wanted more. When his time was up in San Diego he found a home with the New York Jets and Coach Rex Ryan. Perhaps he figured the stout defense coupled with a great running game would bring supreme victory. Ladainian and the Jets would reach the AFC Championship game in 2010. He was one game away from the Super Bowl. Then they ran into the Pittsburg Steelers helmed by Big Ben Roethlisberger. The game was tough fought, but Big Ben and the Steelers killed the remaining time on the clock with a clutch first down late in the fourth quarter. Ladainian's dreams of a championship would die on the field that night snuggled in a warm blanket with Big Ben.
9 Love: Antonio Brown
What does love look like? What does it sound like? What scents emanate from its splendor? How does one describe love? I can tell you how Antonio Brown would describe his love for Big Ben. It goes like this: 7,685 yards receiving in six and half years, 43 touchdowns, four playoff births, averaging over 10 wins a season. That is what receiver to quarterback love looks, sounds, and smells like in its purest form. Ben and Brown have been the most terrifying tandem in the NFL since they were brought together in holy football matrimony. I like to think that when Antonio scores and proceeds to twerk and pop in the end zone that that is his way of showing Ben how much he loves him. I hope one day Big Ben will reciprocate with his own dance moves. One can dream.
8 Hate: Joe Haden
Joe Haden entered the league in 2010. He is without a doubt a solid corner in the league making two Pro Bowls. Haden, unfortunately, does not know what life outside of playing against Ben Roethlisberger looks like. Big Ben's Steelers have bested Haden's Browns all but one time the teams have faced off. As a matter of fact, since entering the league, Roethislisberger has only lost to the Browns twice. He has a staggering 18-2 win-loss record against the Browns. This is in large part to the success of everyone's favorite clock, Big Ben. Ben has completed over 60 percent of his passes in those games combined. He's added 35 touchdowns and a QB rating just a shade under 100. These numbers do not fare well for the defensive backs, including the former Florida Gator, Joe Haden. I'm sure Haden often sits at home contemplating what life could have been if the Steelers drafted J.P. Losman in the first round instead of Ben Roethlisberger.
7 Love: Santonio Holmes
It's not often that a wide receiver is named the MVP of a Super Bowl. Unless you are the Pittsburg Steelers of course. Three of the Steeler's six Super Bowl wins have ended with a wide receiver receiving the honor, including the last two. Santonio Holmes was quite deserving as well. He ended the game with nine catches for 131 yards and a touchdown. The MVP honor and the outcome of the game were sealed when Roethlisberger zinged a dime of a pass to the back of the end zone just inches above multiple defender's hands. Holmes reached to the heavens to snag the pigskin while executing, what is one of the greatest of all time, toe taps to ensure he got both feet in bounds. Prior to the game winning pass and catch Big Ben found Holmes for a 40 yard haul to the five yard line. Along with the game, love was on the line as Big Ben looked only to Santonio when the Steelers needed him the most.
6 Hate: Mark Sanchez
Remember Mark Sanchez? Mark is a former first round pick out of the University of Southern California. He was taken by the New York Jets as their first pick of the draft in hopes that he would guide the team to a championship. To be fair, Mark played pretty darn good with the Jets in his first few seasons. He was never asked to do much, but when the team needed him to rise to the challenge he often answered the call. Mark, and the best defense and running game in the NFL, led the Jets to two straight appearances in the AFC Championship game in 2009 and 2010. This was his first and second year in the league. Not too shabby, eh? However, Mark's meteoric rise would come to an end after the Jet's loss to Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburg Steelers in the 2010 AFC Championship game. Sanchez began a hasty descent to the family of backup quarterbacks strewn throughout the NFL. Remember when Rex Ryan had, then starter, Mark Sanchez put back into the fourth quarter of a pre-season game only to be injured for the entire year? One can only wonder if Mark blames Ben, or if he blames Rex, or if Brad blames Angelina, or Tom blames Katie.
5 Love: Hines Ward
Here we arrive at another recipient of the Super Bowl MVP honor. More often than not, this honor will be given to the winning quarterback. Couple that with the fact that Ben Roethlisberger was the youngest quarterback to ever win a Super Bowl at the time, and you have the probability of history repeating itself. But that would not be true on this day. Big Ben was actually not very good in this game at all. He had two interceptions. One was almost returned the length of the field for a touchdown. However, Hines Ward was good... real good. Of the five passes he hauled in, he tallied 123 yards and one touchdown. As a matter of fact, his lone touchdown came on a trick play when Antwaan Randle El threw the ball to Ward after a reverse. So, I think, Hines would certainly love his quarterback on that day for his less than stellar play. This opened the window for Hines to add Super Bowl MVP to resume as he wound down his illustrious career.
4 Hate: Bart Scott
I'm going to be picking on the New York Jets again. This time we come to everyone's favorite post-game interviewee, Bart Scott. It was certainly no small feat when the Jets went to New England and beat them in the divisional round of the playoffs in 2011. That rarely happens to the Patriots, if ever. The Jets were super excited by this anomaly, especially Bart Scott. So much so that Mr. Scott sprung in front of the camera for an interview with Sal Palantonio. He had lots to say. He talked about nose bleeds, respect, his feelings, and how he "couldn't wait" to face off against the Steelers in the AFC Championship. For Mr. Scott, it seems he used the last amount of energy and aggression in that interview. He was a non-factor in the game verse the Steelers. He finished with two solo tackles. That's not so great for a middle linebacker in the biggest game of the year. Big Ben routinely picked on the middle of the Jet's defense. For Bart, this was his last chance at a winner.
3 Love: Terrell Suggs
Perhaps it seems odd that Terrell Suggs would fall into the "love" category. Did you know that Terrell Suggs and Ben Roethlisberger have an on-going on-again off-again relationship? Yeah, when the Ravens are not playing the Steelers Suggs and Big Ben take a break. But when they do play each other, Suggs is all over Big Ben. As a matter fact Suggs has sacked Big Ben more than any other quarterback. He is even on record saying, that Ben is his favorite quarterback to sack. As of 2011, Terrell smothered Big Ben 15.5 times. That is a lot of love. Due in large part to his "relationship" with Big Ben, Suggs has found himself in the elite group of sack artist who have eclipsed the 100 total. Currently he has 111.5. How much more "love" does he have for Big Ben? Time will tell.
2 Hate: Every Cleveland Browns Player
This marks the second time I have included the entire Cleveland Browns team as number one a list. There is no doubt every player who has played for the Browns over the last 11 seasons has a strong disdain for Mr. Roethlisberger. Like most quarterbacks, Big Ben has shredded the Browns. Ben has the fortunate fate of playing the lowly Browns twice every season though. In those previous 11 seasons, Roethlisberger has posted a staggering 18-2 record against the Browns. I would hate Ben too if I were them. For all intensive purposes the Browns can mark the Steelers as a loss every year. Ben has shredded Cleveland for over 5,000 yards in those games combined. He's thrown 35 touchdowns. His passer rating against them is 97. Here's the best part, in the 2004 draft the Browns were the sixth overall pick. With that pick they selected tight end Kellen Winslow II. Five picks LATER the Steelers chose Ben Roethlisberger. If you aren't paying attention, this means the Browns of Cleveland could have drafted Roethlisberger. How different life could have been. That's painful. That's how hate is born.
1 Love: Bill Cowher
Yes, Bill Cowher is known as an NFL coach. But once upon a time he was also a player. He played for the Eagles and Browns. His career stats as a player were nothing to boast of.As a coach, Cowher was great. He is only the second coach ever to reach the playoffs in each of his first six years as a head coach. However, in his lengthy tenure as a head coach, a Super Bowl Championship had always evaded him. The Steelers came close in the '90s losing to the Cowboys in the big game. Then, as fate would have it, the Steelers were gifted by the football Gods when they drafted Big Ben Roethlisberger with the 11th pick in the 2004 draft. Ben was a clear franchise quarterback from the get go. Only two years into his dynasty Ben helped the Steelers and Bill Cowher reach the Super Bowl against the Seattle Seahawks. The Steelers would go on to win giving Bill Cowher the much deserved gatorade bath he had always dreamed of. Bill Cowher would retire after that season. I'm sure his love for Ben will go on forever.
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