Ben Roethlisberger has long been the centre piece of the Steelers high octane offense.
The two-time Super Bowl champion has led many different cast members on deep playoff runs during his 14-year stay in Pittsburgh, and has cemented himself as a future Hall of Famer beyond any doubt with his stellar, and spectacular play making ability as a passer.
But, despite all the accolades, and his annual brilliance, there has been a recent sense of underachievement from both Big Ben and the Steelers given the plethora of offensive weapons they've been bless with.
It's been a decade since their last Super Bowl triumph, and there is a growing sense that both team and quarterback aren't performing to their full potential when it matters most.
That narrative is fully endorsed by former number one overall pick David Carr.
Carr, who works an analyst on the NFL Network, recently released his list of the top 10 quarterbacks in the NFL for 2018.
Surprisingly, Roethlisberger was absent from the list, something that the former Texans signal caller justified by throwing some shade at Big Ben's ability at this latter stage of his career.
His main reason though, was that Roethlisberger has the most talented offensive weapons of any QB in the league at this moment in time, and he's bang on about that!
'Why is Ben Roethlisberger off my list?' Carr wrote. 'Yes, he’s a future Hall of Famer and there’s no doubt he can still help the Steelers. But, he has the most talented skill players in the league on his unit, and that pair — Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell — makes him look great 14 seasons in. I don’t think Big Ben could win a ton of games without them at this stage in his career.'
He does make a valid point about Bell and Brown propping their longtime QB up, but Roethlisberger is no slouch. Sure, it helps that his RB1 and WR1 are likely ranked as just that in the entire NFL, but he still has to make the throws and he can't rely on his dynamic duo every single play.
And, statistically speaking, the veteran passer had one of his best years in 2017 at the age of 35.
Only thrice has Roethlisberger thrown more touchdown passes than the 28 he did last season, he also threw for the fourth most yards of his storied career in 2017, as well as completing the third most passes since he entered the league back in 2004.
However, Roethlisberger was 9th in Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt in both 2016 and 2017, and did throw 14 picks last season, the fourth highest mark of his career as a Steeler.
He is injury prone and it certainly does help that he plays behind one of the best offensive lines in football with a bell-cow back in Le'Veon Bell that takes an awfully large amount of pressure off the passing game.
The fact that he's not been able to lead this current group to the Super Bowl in their prime is worrying too. The six-time Pro Bowler is becoming more enigmatic than ever, and though he still shows flashes of his old self, it is becoming increasingly apparent that he needs the support around him in order to continue to flourish at the highest level.
That effectively removes him from the 'elite' argument, of guys that can carry their team to the promised land no matter what they have around them.
Roethlisberger is a great of the game, he'll end up in Canton there's no doubting that, but he is on the decline and if nothing else shows one that, the rather bizarre selection of Oklahoma State QB Mason Rudolph in the third round of the 2018 NFL draft should show everyone exactly where the organisation themselves view him in terms of his career path.News Now - Sport News