Big Ben: 'Marquee' QBs get the calls

Updated: October 20, 2011, 6:38 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he believes certain "marquee" quarterbacks get more penalty calls from officials than others.

In an interview with Jim Rome, Roethlisberger said the officials "know who are the marquee guys and they want to protect them ...

"I think in part because the league doesn't want certain games to be played without certain quarterbacks," Roethlisberger said. "No offense to the other Patriots, but who's gong to watch the Patriots without Tom Brady and the Saints without Drew Brees. That's the way it is. They want to protect those guys because they are the marquee guys of this league, and you don't want them to get hurt."

After a loss to the New York Giants on Sept. 25, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick publicly questioned the officials' decision-making on late hit penalty flags.

"Looking at the replays, I'm on the ground every time, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't frustrated," Vick said. "The refs have got to do their jobs. And I mentioned it to the refs in training camp when I talked to them. I'm on the ground constantly, all the time.

"Every time I throw the ball, I'm on the ground. And I don't know why I don't get the 15-yard flags like everybody else does."

Roethlisberger told Rome he wasn't complaining about the lack of calls in his favor.

"Because the first time they throw a flag is when a guy is just holding onto me, and I know I can break a tackle," he said.

Roethlisberger has been battered this season, including a left foot injury suffered late against the Houston Texans on Oct. 2.

Information from AFC North blogger Jamison Hensley and NFC East blogger Dan Graziano contributed to this report.