Rings Don’t Mean a Thing

What if Ben Roethlisberger had done that again this year?

2 rings. Coulda been 3 Big Ben.

1 touchdown away from Super Bowl immortality. A perfect execution of the 2 minute drill the only obstacle in his way. Alas, it was not meant to be.

As good a quarterback as Ben Roethlisberger is, his performance in the Super Bowl showed us why we shouldn’t base so much of a player’s value on championship victories.

Prior to the Super Bowl, there was a lot talk of whether or not Ben Roethlisberger is deserving of a Hall of Fame spot. Tough question considering the man is only 28 years old and at this point there is probably not too much point in dissecting this issue.

Ben Roethlisberger’s overall numbers are not Hall of Fame worthy by any means. However, the fact that he has 2 championship rings and was very close to 3 puts him into that discussion. A couple bounces here and there for the Steelers and the difference in our view of Ben Roethlisberger is vastly changed.

The issue at hand here though are the championships that allow Ben Roethlisberger to be considered in Hall of Fame discussion so early in his career and the lack of championships that see us questioning the greatness of athletes such as Dan Marino.

Clutch play under the most pressure packed situations is part of what defines great players. It should go without saying that part of winning championships is the ability to overcome the difficult conditions.

With that being said, it’s hard to understand why the brilliance of an individual player is centered so much around championships in such team oriented sports.

It is only on rare occasions where you will see me defending Lebron James but the fact that he still hasn’t won a championship at this point in his career should not diminish his greatness in any sense. Don’t get me wrong, I was as happy as anyone to see Lebron quit, yes quit, on his Cavaliers against the Boston Celtics. Nevertheless, now that we have been able to see what the Chosen One’s supporting cast is really like it is astounding that he ever got as close as he did to winning the NBA finals.

Imagine if Lebron had decided to stay in Cleveland and continually was surrounded by a sorry excuse for championship contending cast. If those were the circumstances, maybe in 10 years we would be talking about how Lebron just can’t win the big game and all the reasons why he is no Michael Jordan. True, Lebron James is no Michael Jordan, but the importance of championships is constantly overshadowing his undeniable dominance.

If he doesn’t win a championship with his Miami Heat, well that’s a story for another day.

Ben Roethlisberger has played on some outstanding teams and, especially in his first Super Bowl, played more of a game manger’s role. Is there any way in which the Steelers’ could have won if Roethlisberger had to carry an increased load on offence? Probably not. It isn’t mentioned enough either that the Steelers won Roethlisberger’s first Super Bowl largely because of a couple of blown calls that still give official Bill Leavy nightmares

1 ring and the Hall of Fame talk disappears. 3 rings, suddenly Roethlisberger is thrust alongside the Troy Aikman’s and Terry Bradshaw’s.

I may be too young to break down the intricacies of Dan Marino’s Miami Dolphin teams. However, it is well-known that he wasn’t surrounded by talent that for the most part was championship worthy. You can’t blame Dan Marino for being unable to bear the burden of less than adequate teams.

It’s this same injustice that results in more worthy players being left off all-star team’s because their general manager has yet to surround them with talent worthy enough of competing with the best in the game. *Cough* Kevin Love *Cough*

Sure, some of the failure to win comes from the individual player himself, but in team sports like basketball, football and hockey, you can hardly put the sole cause of that inability to win on the most prominent player like many people do.

Peyton Manning has proven to us throughout his career that he often doesn’t have the capability to duplicate his regular season type of performances in the playoffs. Even in his lone Super Bowl victory his stats were less than impressive. Then again, what if Peyton Manning had an offensive line similar to the one Tom Brady has been blessed with throughout his career.

Again, a completely different story to tell your grandchildren.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I am on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favor.

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About Chris Ross
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10 Responses to Rings Don’t Mean a Thing

  1. Nice post, Chris. I agree about the rings being overrated. The other day ESPN Boston writer Mike Reiss compared Roethlisberger to Brady, and said that Roethlisberger’s numbers match up with Brady. I saw the numbers, and they were similar. But from watching the Super Bowl, Brady has something Roethlisberger just doesn’t.

    • Rob Layton says:

      First i disagree with Ben Roethlisberger being handed Super Bowl XL because of lousy playing calling by Mike Holmgren, missed field goals, and bad clock management. He has 25 4th quarter and overtime game winning drives. He is a proven winner and regardless of the opinions of the media he is in the upper echelon of quarterbacks.

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Rings Don’t Mean a Thing « Chris Ross' Painting the Black -- Topsy.com

  3. This is an interesting post Chris and I agree with you that Roethlisberger was literally handed his first Super Bowl ring by the other players on the Steelers and some questionable officiating.

    You point out that in team sports “you can hardly put the sole cause of that inability to win on the most prominent player.” This is a fair point, but the reason that NFL quarterbacks receive such scrutiny is largely because they touch the ball more than any other player on the football field. Their position has the most impact in determining the outcome of a game. Even the brilliant Baltimore defense of 2000 required a decent game manager in Trent Dilfer to reach and win the Super Bowl. Thus a quarterback’s ability to succeed in the playoffs and win championships is a significant aspect of evaluating their career.

    Bringing Dan Marino into the discussion has some merit and it is debatable whether or not the Dolphin teams he played on had enough talent on both sides of the ball to reach the Super Bowl more than once. However, Marino himself wasn’t always as good in the playoffs as he was in the regular season. Additionally, we should remember that Marino has been described as a head strong individual who was determined to win with his arm not the running game (not always conducive to winner championships).

    I’ll take issue with your statement that Manning has not always had a solid offensive Manning and perhaps this is the reason for his lack of success in the playoffs. Manning has until lately had solid offensive lines. Additionally, since 2001 (when Brady became a starter) the Colts offensive lines have given up an average of nearly 10 fewer sacks per season than the Patriots line. Check out my post for a discussion about Manning’s limitations as a quarterback:

    Concerning the Lebron analogy, you might want to take a slight step back here. The 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers are only a shell of the team which Lebron played on. Half of the players from last year are gone, key players are injured and/or out for the season, and the team has a new head coach implementing a new system. I’m not saying they are a good team, just be cautious about simplifying things like the media tends to do.


  4. JW says:

    Do you remember on Friday when all the sports radio guys couldn’t believe when Kurt Warner said he didn’t think that Roethlisberger wasn’t a Hall of Famer? Do you think Warner’s point is now proven?

  5. tophatal says:


    Roethlisberger is merely a big play-maker not necessarily a great player . ‘nough said !

    tophatal …………..

  6. Super Bowl 43 showed that Big Ben could execute that drive one time, but Super Bowl XL was handed to the Steelers and additionally was one of the most boring games in NFL History and by far the most boring Super Bowl ever.

    I don’t completely buy into the whole passer rating statistic, but if it holds any water Big Ben is not nearly the player that the media has built him up to be.


  7. 2 rings should not put Big Ben into Hall of Fame conversation. He just doesn’t have “it”. Players you mentioned like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are very worthy of Hall of Fame consideration. Manning and Brady are leaders and always seem to get the job done when needed. They may have faltered in recent playoff play, but they typically put up strong numbers, possess a winning record, and are most responsible for the teams success. They are without a doubt, their team’s most important player. Big Ben is not Pittsburgh’s MVP, maybe not even in the top 3. I’d go with Polamalu, Harrison, Ward, and Mendenhall over Roethlisberger. The team would win without him, and have shown they could with less than average QB’s, Charlie Batch or Dennis Dixon.

  8. chappy81 says:

    I thought it was ridiculous when they were comparing him to Brady earlier in the week. If SB wins means you are an automatic HOF, then why don’t crap QB’s like Dilfer and Brad Johnson ever get considered in HOF talks. The Steelers don’t win because of Ben, they win because of their defense more than anything. If your identity is a defensive team, then the QB shouldn’t get the HOF glory.

  9. I agree with you Chris. I’m not much of a sabermetrics guy, but wonder what Bens,Wins-against-replacemnet number is. I bet its only slightly better than average. Im with you on Rings. Keep up the good work.

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