'Big Ben' superior to Eli in every way

July, 10, 2009
7/10/09
1:32
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

Matt Mosley and the NFC East deal mostly in hype.

In the AFC North, current home of the Lombardi trophy, we deal in reality.

 
  Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
  Ben Roethlisberger boasts an 8-2 playoff record as a starter.

And the reality is New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning doesn't stack up to Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers in any way, shape or form.

While Mosley is begging his readers for help to defend Manning, I will present my case for "Big Ben."

For warm-up purposes, let's start with statistics.

Roethlisberger has a higher completion percentage (62.4 to Manning's 55.9), more touchdowns (101 to 98), fewer interceptions (69 to 74), more victories (51 to 42) and a much better career passer rating (89.4 to 76.1) than Manning.

Did I mention Roethlisberger has twice as many championships? You're going to need the entire Manning household (two) to equal Roethlisberger (two) in that category.

Both quarterbacks were taken in the 2004 draft and Roethlisberger got off to a much faster start.

How quickly Mosley and NFC East followers forget Manning was nearly run out of New York during his first few seasons. He lost six of his first seven starts as a rookie and had just one winning season in his first three years.

Now Mosley suddenly thinks the younger Manning deserves to be the highest-paid player in the league with a $120 million contract and an unprecedented $50 million guaranteed.

Manning's highest touchdown total for a season is just 24, yet he deserves the most money? Chalk it up to more NFC East hype.

Dealing in facts, Roethlisberger won 15 games as a rookie, including playoffs, and won his first Super Bowl in his second season. By the way, the Steelers already gave Roethlisberger a $100-plus million contract, because they knew early that Roethlisberger was the real deal. I find it interesting that the Giants haven't displayed the same level of confidence up to this point in their franchise quarterback.

Speaking of the Giants, let's discuss the Plaxico Burress factor.

Burress leaves the Steelers and Roethlisberger becomes an even better player, winning a pair of Super Bowls, including one immediately after Burress bolts Pittsburgh in 2005.

Burress exits New York and the sky falls on Manning and he's never the same quarterback.

It's the same top-flight receiver. It's two quarterbacks put in a similar scenario. Yet Roethlisberger thrives and Manning crumbles. The "Plax factor" cannot be ignored in this debate.

In fact, Manning would've never won his lone Super Bowl title without Burress. Roethlisberger is doing just fine without him.

And forget the argument that Manning does more with less. It's a farce.

Manning has the best offensive line in football and had two 1,000-yard rushers last season in Brandon Jacobs and former Giant Derrick Ward. Elite protection and an elite running game; what more can a quarterback want?

Meanwhile, Roethlisberger has one of the NFL's worst offensive lines and no 1,000-yard rusher in 2008, yet found a way to win Super Bowl XLIII. If you gave Roethlisberger the best offensive line in football and two 1,000-yard rushers, there is no telling the damage the Steelers could do.

In terms of clutch, Manning had one clutch moment while Roethlisberger has already put together a clutch career. The Steelers have never had a losing season with Roethlisberger and he is 8-2 in his career during the playoffs.

Manning is just 4-3 in the playoffs. If you take away his Super Bowl run following the 2007 season, Manning is 0-3 in the postseason.

So who would you want under center in a must-win game: Roethlisberger or Manning?

(Update: Here is Mosley's weak rebuttal in the NFC East blog.)

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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