Ben Roethlisberger says he is not in Tom Brady's class
January 18, 2017 12:27 PM
Ben Roethlisberger says he still lags behind Tom Brady.
By Sean Gentille / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
For a guy who says the Steelers’ AFC championship opponent doesn’t matter, Ben Roethlisberger sure sounds like a guy who thinks it does.
“I don’t care who it is. It’s the championship game,” Roethlisberger said Wednesday.
Fair enough, but ... it’s the Patriots. They’ve won three Super Bowls during Roethlisberger’s career, including one that came after eliminating the Steelers in his rookie his season, and he’s 3-7 against them overall. They’re great. It matters.
Roethlisberger knows this. He might not be able to say it explicitly — answering “Yes, this is a huge deal” would create more problems than than the truth is worth — but it’s human nature to want to beat the best, especially when they’ve beaten you before. A bunch of times, in fact.
If you don’t think so, in the breath after saying he didn’t care, Roethlisberger rattled this off: “Like I said, you’re going up to the lion’s den. The dragon’s lair. They’re the dragon, we’re trying to slay them. It doesn’t matter who it is, but like I said, it’s the gold standard.”
That was, indeed, at least the second time he used that phrase to describe New England: “They’re the best in the world, they’re the gold standard if you will, so you want to have that opportunity to go play the best. It’ll be an awesome challenge for us.”
The Patriots aren’t just the gold standard for on-field success over the last 15 years, either; the same goes for their quarterback. Roethlisberger’s respect for Tom Brady is a matter of public record; he asked Brady to trade jerseys with him earlier this season, and he was referring to him specifically with “gold standard.”
As a follow-up, Roethlisberger was asked if he’s in Brady’s class.
“Not yet,” he said. “Look at all the Super Bowls he has.”
So: The gold standard. The dragon. The main impediment on Roethlisberger’s road to the Brady/Peyton Manning tier. Other than that, it’s just another AFC championship for him.
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