After starting a series that looked at players that consistently dominated the Pittsburgh Steelers, I thought it would be a nifty idea to switch around my focus. Instead of focusing on players that have shredded the Steelers, let’s remember the good times and look at current or former Steelers that have dominated their division rivals. This series will be named after Gamebreaker mode from the NFL Street video game series. Activating Gamebreaker made players nearly unstoppable and there is no doubt that these Steelers were nearly unstoppable against their division rivals.
Do a quick Google search and look up the owners of the Cleveland Browns’ franchise. Google will tell you that Jimmy Haslam and Dee Haslam are co-owners of the Browns. While this is technically and legally correct, it could not be farther from reality as there is one individual who has owned the Browns over the last 15 years – Ben Roethlisberger.
It has now been over 20 years since the Browns returned to the NFL in 1999 and they have called FirstEnergy Stadium their home since then. The most successful quarterback to play in Cleveland since the franchise returned is an Ohio native but he has never been a member of the Browns’ franchise.
That’s right. The most successful quarterback to play in FirstEnergy Stadium is none other than Roethlisberger.
No quarterback has won more games in FirstEnergy Stadium than the Steelers’ franchise quarterback. Roethlisberger has posted a 11-2-1 record in road contests against the Browns. Not only has no Browns’ quarterback won more games than Roethlisberger in Cleveland but only six Browns’ quarterbacks have even managed to make 11 or more starts in FirstEnergy Stadium.
Most Wins In FirstEnergy Stadium History
- Ben Roethlisberger – 11
- Derek Anderson – 10
- Tim Couch – 8
- Baker Mayfield – 8
An Ohio native, Roethlisberger has set down his flag at FirstEnergy Stadium and marked his territory but his play against the Browns in Pittsburgh is just as impressive. Roethlisberger is a perfect 12-0 against the Browns at Heinz Field, throwing 21 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions.
Overall, the Steelers’ quarterback has recorded a 23-2-1 record against the Browns. No quarterback in NFL history has recorded more wins against the Browns than Roethlisberger. His numbers are not too shabby either. A .904 winning percentage combined with a 93.9 passer rating to go along with 40 passing touchdowns. Out of those 26 contests, Roethlisberger has managed to record a passer rating above 90.0 on 17 occasions and the Steelers are 17-0 in those ballgames.
The performance of the two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback against the Dog Pound is one that is hard to accept for the Cleveland faithful. There is no hiding the fact that the franchise has struggled mightily since its return to the NFL in 1999. Not only that but the team has struggled to find a quality and consistent starting quarterback to lead the franchise. Yet here is franchise altering quarterback from the state of Ohio that slipped through their grasp and has now spent the last decade and a half reminding them of their error.
That is right, the Browns let Roethlisberger slip through their grasp. Ultimately, if the Browns had wanted to make the former Miami of Ohio quarterback a Brown, the cards were in their hands. Cleveland held the #6 selection in the 2004 NFL Draft, while the Steelers were just outside the top ten at #11. Though the Browns did have interest in Roethlisberger according to ESPN, they decided on tight end Kellen Winslow with the sixth overall pick instead. Roethlisberger would slide to the Steelers at #11 and the rest was history.
The Browns’ decision to pass on a franchise quarterback from their home state has been costly in more ways than one. Not only has the decision to pass on Roethlisberger not worked out for their own franchise, it has also aided a division rival in securing two Super Bowl victories while giving Big Ben all the ammunition he needed for when the two would cross paths.
“Two quarterbacks had already been picked, so as a competitor, I felt underestimated. When Cleveland passed on me, technically my hometown team, that was it. I couldn’t wait to have a team and play the Browns at some point. Funny how it works out I’d go to Pittsburgh and play them twice a year,” Roethlisberger stated in the ESPN piece detailing the Browns’ decision.
For the Browns, it is a draft day mistake that they will never forget. For the Steelers, it is a gift that they will cherish forever. The mistake of one franchise created an abundance of riches for another and Roethlisberger has been determined to remind the Cleveland franchise of their mistake at least twice a year.