I wrote an article a couple of days ago sharing some of the initial responses of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers to the New York Giants’ decision to bench Eli Manning. The three of them were all drafted in the top half of the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft, which is frequently regarded as the best quarterback class of all time, or at least in recent years.
At the time, there wasn’t much available from Roethlisberger to comment on, but since then, more of his comments have been published, so in light of that, I wanted to share that as well.
Speaking to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he called the decision “eye-opening”, saying that “it sparks the reality that it could be me. They could do that to me next year or whenever”.
The trio of quarterbacks have been the faces of their respective franchises for about a decade and a half now and have in recent years slowly clawed their way into many of the top-10 all-time in many passing categories. While they have had a variety of success—Roethlisberger has the most tangible success in wins and losses and Super Bowl trips, though Manning has two Super Bowl MVPs—all are or have been regarded at different times among the best quarterbacks in the NFL.
The Giants actually traded for Manning when the Chargers drafted him with the first-overall pick, sending Rivers out west. They invested more than just a first-round pick in Peyton’s younger brother, and it would be hard to argue that it didn’t pay off, considering that they doubled the Lombardi Trophies in their display case with him under center and a pair of astounding postseason runs.
The Giants and the Steelers bear a lot of similarities, and are even family. The actresses Kate and Rooney Mara have the blood of both families, the Maras and the Rooney, who own each respective franchise, or at least the controlling interests. That is some background information segueing into Roethlisberger’s next remark.
“I don’t, and I don’t mean to talk negatively about the Giants, especially I know the Steelers and Giants are very close and are family, too. But I don’t think they would, I think they would handle it differently”. One might pause to wonder even that, however.
I’m sure there are certain fans who take issue with the way that certain veterans in the past decade have been handled, such as James Harrison and Troy Polamalu. Whether wrongly or rightly, I might add, their release, playing time, and retirement have been subject to criticism.
Roethlisberger added, “I don’t know the Maras. I don’t want to talk bad about anybody. But just from the perspective from an outsider looking in, for a guy who has done a lot for that team, it seemed like it was kind of harsh”.
That has been the collective consensus, but the fact that he was benched in favor of Geno Smith seems to be the worst part about the entire situation for many.