When evaluating the top quarterbacks of the 2004 draft, the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger has more wins and a better passer rating than Eli Manning. But Manning has thrown for more yards and touchdown passes than Roethlisberger.
So, who's better? Based on a SportsNation poll that drew 17,889 votes, the nod goes to Roethlisberger. He received 48 percent of the votes, and Manning took 38 percent (14 percent say it's too close to call).
Here are some selected comments from readers on this debate:
Josh from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.: I am huge Pittsburgh fan (born there). I love Ben as our quarterback. A few years ago, I would have said Ben is hands down better than Eli. But Eli has improved quite a bit over the past few years. Now, I am not sure you can really say one is better than the other. They both have ice in their veins and get the job done when it matters most and the team needs them.
Jeb from Laurel, Md.: The best way to answer the question of Eli vs. Ben is to answer it with this question: Who would thrive more in the opposing offense? Ben makes his plays on the run and avoiding would-be tacklers with his agility and speed. Eli, not known to be a mobile quarterback, tends to make most of his passes from the pocket. If you switch these two, I honestly believe that Ben would thrive with a great offensive line and Eli would struggle to avoid tacklers with the porous offensive line in Pittsburgh.
Rich from Gloucester, N.J.: Eli is definitely the better quarterback. He is clutch. When the game is on the line, he is the man I want to be my quarterback. The Giants' run game and secondary has been a joke for years, almost non-existent. Ben Roethlisberger has had one of the best premier defenses behind him since he came into the league along with a great running game and offensive line. If you put Ben on the Giants, there is no way he does as well as he has been in his career. Eli is the better quarterback.
Andrew from Lima, Peru: Eli has absolutely become an amazing passer over the last couple years. But I have to take Big Ben on this debate. If we're talking about a career, and not just where they are now, you have to respect the 20-30 game-winning drives by Roethlisberger. In addition, Big Ben was lights-out from Day One, going undefeated as a rookie in 14 games. Eli is an excellent pocket passer, but get a hand on him and he'll go down. Ben throws 300-pound defensive ends off his back and gets a fresh set of downs. To me, I have to take the more dynamic, play-extending player over the traditional pocket man.
Chris from Grafton, Ohio: You have to pick Eli as better than Big Ben. The difference is that Eli has been more durable, plus he won his two titles himself. The first title Ben won was because of the zebras, his defense, and the Bus. If you recall that officiating crew was suspended due to their putrid performance at the Super Bowl. Have to give the elite quarterback edge to Eli.
Joe from Wheeling, W.Va.: Big Ben by a very small margin. If Ben had a better line the last five years, I think they would have three Super bowls instead of two. If Eli had that weak of a line, he would not have the stats or Super Bowls that he does. I think the 2008 Steelers were an elite defense with a top-tier QB, good receivers, average running backs, and possibly the worst offensive line to win the big game. I think a lot of people overlook this.
Eric from Pittsburgh: Ben has clearly been the superior of the two in terms of wins and post season success. Keep in mind that this debate only holds water because the Giants defense played well enough to hold Tom Brady in check, which allowed Eli a shot at those game winning drives in the first place. I don't pretend that Eli isn't a great, maybe even the greatest, fourth-quarter quarterback in the NFL today. But the truth is his entire legacy is built on those two drives, in games that were won on the defensive side of the ball. In Ben's first Super Bowl, the Steelers won in spite of him. In his return, it was quite the opposite, where he watched his top-ranked defense allow Larry Fitzgerald to run rampant through their secondary. When Eli's highlights come up, you know the Tyree/Manningham catches will a part of it. Ben is defined by so much more, and that is what separates the two.