Continuing our mini-series of NFL Draft throwbacks after highlighting the Pittsburgh Steelers’ selection of Maurkice Pouncey the other day. Today, we’ll remember the big one, the team selecting QB Ben Roethlisberger 11th overall in 2004, the third of the “Big Three” quarterbacks that included Eli Manning, and Philip Rivers to be selected.
As aired on ESPN, immediately after cutting to an interview with Roethlisberger, the phone rang. In a sorta awkward moment, Suzy Kolber snuck in to put the microphone under Roethlisberger as he spent most of the time listening to those on the other line, presumably Dan Rooney and/or Kevin Colbert followed by Bill Cowher.
Take a look at the whole five minutes from the phone call, to the announcement, to the analysis.
Some notable moments
– Highlights of Ben Roethlisberger taking a five-step drop under center. Haven’t seen that in a long time.
– Some great “Ben” chants from Steelers’ Nation, a few even bringing signs to endorse the team drafting him
– A coach telling Chris Mortensen that Roethlisberger “has the passion of Peyton Manning but with more physical ability.”
– Mel Kiper Jr. recounting a story of Roethlisberger taking full responsibility after a poor performance in a loss to Iowa.
– A very loud contingent of Jets fans drowning out the Roethlisberger analysis
– And some fun Chris Berman trivia about a record Roethlisberger owned from the moment he was drafted
In hindsight, all three quarterbacks landed in the right places: Manning to the Giants (after being traded there on draft day), Rivers to the Chargers, and Roethlisberger to the Steelers. With his two Super Bowls and overall better statistical career, Roethlisberger should be regarded as the best and most successful quarterback of the three, but every franchise should feel happy about its selection. Manning won two rings and while Rivers never did, that blame should go more on the organization and less on himself.
There was a forgotten fourth quarterback in this draft class, the Buffalo Bills trading up to select Tulane’s J.P. Losman 23rd overall. Of course, he was the one guy who didn’t work but the top three passers in this class will be as good a first-round trio as the league will ever see.