Updated: May 28, 2021
(Photo by Tom Berg/Getty Images)
It‘s hard to believe as it seems like yesterday, but on this day 17 years ago, Ben Roethlisberger got selected at 11th overall by the Steelers out of Miami of Ohio.
Roethlisberger was a part of a legendary quarterback draft class with Eli Manning and Philip Rivers, all three will someday be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Roethlisberger is the only one that’s still playing and is heading into his 18th season with the Steelers. Rivers retired after this past season and Manning retired the year prior. It’s arguably the greatest quarterback draft class in NFL history. Only the 1983 quarterback draft class of John Elway, Dan Marino and Jim Kelly rival it.
Roethlisberger and Manning both have won two Super Bowls apiece, but Rivers never won a Super Bowl or appeared in one.
Teresa Varley of Steelers.com shared today Bill Cowher’s statement on the 2004 quarterback draft class.
"The more you studied him, just when you watched him, the more information you gathered on him, I think you looked at those three quarterbacks, and they clearly separated themselves I think from the rest of the group. So it was just putting them in order,” Cowher said.
Cowher also explained why Roethlisberger was an ideal fit for the Steelers.
”The more you watch the guy, his arm strength, his mobility, his accuracy on the run, on the move. I think you look at our situation, it was an ideal situation for him to come into,” Cowher said of Roethlisberger.
The Steelers weren’t sure at the time if Roethlisberger would start right away, but he ended up coming in for an injured Tommy Maddox in Week 2 against the Ravens and the rest was history as Roethlisberger was 14-1 in his rookie season. Cowher was right that the situation that Roethlisberger was coming into was a perfect fit with all the veteran leadership.
“We'll wait and see what happens. There's no pre-conceived thoughts. With four quarterbacks, this is a good situation to be in because of the veterans we have in front of him, because of the veterans we have on our offensive football team.
"If there is a situation for a young quarterback to not come in and feel the pressures of having to turn a football team around, we think this is one of those situations that exists."
Roethlisberger certainly turned the Steelers around that year and he played a big part in why the Steelers won two Super Bowls within four years following his rookie season. The Steelers also haven't had a losing season during Roethlisberger's tenure. It certainly was one of the best picks in franchise history.