For Roethlisberger, life can begin at age 30
For Roethlisberger, life can begin at age 30
By Mark Kaboly
Published: Sunday, July 29, 2012
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throws during practice at St. Vincent College July 27, 2012
Getting better with age
Quarterbacks tend to distinguish themselves as Hall of Famers after age 30. Here is a list of quarterbacks in Canton and what they accomplished at age 30:
Terry Bradshaw — His four best passing and touchdown seasons came during ages 30-33.
John Elway — Six of his top passer ratings, his five top touchdown passing year and both Super Bowl wins came after he was 30.
Dan Fouts — His best season — threw for 4,802 yards and 33 touchdowns — came at age 30.
Jim Kelly — Three of his four consecutive Super Bowl appearances came after age 30.
Joe Montana — Three of the four times his finished with a 100-plus passer rating was when he was older than 30.
Warren Moon — All four of his 4,000-plus yard passing seasons came after 30.
Bart Starr — He won both of his Super Bowls after 30.
Roger Staubauch — Five of his six career Pro Bowls came at 30 or older.
Fran Tarkenton — Nine of his top 10 quarterback ratings came at age 30 or older.
Johnny Unitas — His best three win/loss records came after 30.
Steve Young — Led 49ers to 10 or more wins five times after he turned 30.
*- Tom Brady e_SEmD Threw 50 touchdowns and led the Patriots to a 16-0 record at the age of 30
*- Drew Brees — Set an NFL passing yards record at age 32
Terry Bradshaw’s four best passing years, John Elway’s six best passer ratings and all four of Warren Moon’s 4,000-plus passing seasons came after they turned 30.
Roger Staubach made five of his six Pro Bowls after 30, and Steve Young helped San Francisco to 10 or more wins five times after he surpassed 30.
And all have the same thing in common — they are all Hall of Fame quarterbacks that took their game to a different level once they turned 30.
“The one who you look at with that is Elway,” said Ben Roethlisberger, who idolized Elway growing up. “Elway won two in his late 30s. He is the one who set the standard.”
Roethlisberger is hoping to be the next one in a line of quarterbacks who transformed from a good everyday quarterback to a Hall-of-Fame caliber quarterback once they turned 30.
Roethlisberger turned 30 on March 2, and is teetering on what might or might not be a Hall of Fame-caliber career.
“Sure, it is important to him, but not as important as winning,” quarterback coach Randy Fichtner said. “What I know about Ben is that he never hunts for individual recognition. Now, we all have it. The most competitive players in the world are on these fields, but that doesn’t drive them and it doesn’t drive Ben.”
Roethlisberger is in a unique situation when it comes to quarterbacks hitting 30 because he has already accomplished so much in his 20s.
Roethlisberger’s stats before 30 are quite remarkable: 24 fourth-quarter comebacks, 49 100-plus passing rating games, 20 three-touchdown games, 21 300-yard games, 113 starts, 26,000 yards, 165 touchdowns, four division titles, three AFC championships and two world titles to go along with 90-37 career record including 10-4 in the playoffs.
He was also the youngest quarterback ever to win a Super Bowl and also the youngest to ever win two.
History suggests that a third Super Bowl title would mean automatic qualifications for the Hall of Fame.
Only three quarterbacks have ever won two Super Bowls and every quarterback who ever won three (Aikman, Montana, Bradshaw) are in the Hall of Fame (Tom Brady pending).
And it’s by no surprise that the average age of starting quarterback in the Super Bowl over the past 46 years is exactly 30, or as Byron Leftwich said, “the age cerebral capacity matches physical capacity.”
“I’ve talked to people who got older playing this game, and you ask them what happened and they will tell you that their mind is still there, but you can’t physically do it anymore,” Leftwich said. “In the early 30s, your body is still OK and your mind is at a point where you are completely comfortable.”
But Roethlisberger can be classified differently because of how much success he had early in his career.
“It is rare and hard to do it early in your career,” Fichtner said. “I think when they turn 30, they start to appreciate how to rest, how to take care of themselves, how to eat and how to prepare. When they are young, they don’t do that.”
There have been exceptions to the Rule of 30. Aikman and Joe Namath waned off when they hit 30, but a lot of that had to do with injuries.
Roethlisberger might not have injuries as an obstacle, but does have issues to overcome moving on his career.
The Steelers hired Todd Haley as offensive coordinator in February and he implemented an entire different scheme that Roethlisberger’s had known from his rookie year. Even though Roethlisberger had Ken Whisenhunt and Bruce Arians as offensive coordinators before, those two schemes were similar.
Haley’s is totally different and could potentially set back Roethlisberger’s growth.
“I’ve always believed it’s the third or fourth year in the same system, if you have a guy that has a really good system,” former NFL coach Jon Gruden said.
Roethlisberger had, by far, his best passing season in 2009 – three years after Arians took over as offensive coordinator.
That’s one of the reasons why Roethlisberger was hesitant with the change of coordinators.
“I felt like I was coming into the prime of my career and starting all over with an offense,” Roethlisberger said. “It is a comfort level. You get comfortable with the guys around you and gel with the offense.”
Haley’s offense is capable of producing big numbers for the quarterback that could ultimately propel Roethlisberger to the next level.
During his stint as coordinator in Arizona, Haley called an offense that turned quarterback Kurt Warner into a passing machine.
Warner threw for 57 touchdowns in 25 starts under Haley at Arizona when he was 36 and then 37 years old.
“A lot more is going to be put on Ben’s shoulders,” Leftwich said. “He has already been asked to do a lot, but with the offense being young, he is going to have to be that person, he is going to have to take it on.”
Fichtner believes that Roethlisberger has the mental wits to push himself to another level. It’s just going to be a matter of getting comfortable with the offense.
“More important than anything else is that it is an above-the-neck game,” Fichtner said. “You have to be able to play it there and the most critical position on the field.”
Steelers OC Wants Greater Responsibilities For Roethlisberger
Aug 2nd, 2012 by dbuzardSteelers
Mike Prisuta of WDVE played a sound bite from Todd Haley yesterday in which the Steelers OC stated that his wish was to have Ben Roethlisberger calling his own plays on the field. Prisuta also reported that Haley made it clear that the no huddle would be a bigger part of the offense this season. Together, these reports go far to tear down the image of Todd Haley as some kind of egotistical tyrant hell bent on controlling every aspect of his offense. The Scruffy One wasn’t hired by the Rooney family out of charity. They didn’t owe Todd Haley a job just because his father was a top notch NFL scout for the Black and Gold. Haley won the job as Offensive Coordinator by putting up results. It was Haley’s offense that came just shy of beating the Steelers in the Super Bowl as the Cardinals’ OC and, as a head coach; he was able to win the AFC West with the most average of teams, the Chiefs. A lot of things have changed in Arizona since his departure, the lack of offensive power being the most glaring.
Todd Haley is, by all accounts, a very smart fellow and the above statements reported by Prisuta support those claims. If Haley is looking for full buy-in to his offensive schemes from Ben Roethlisberger, he took a huge step forward by handing the playbook over to his star quarterback. Large Ben is way more likely to learn the nuances of Haley’s offense if he will be responsible for calling the signals. Roethlisberger has also been criticized in the past for not being the best student of the game, ala Peyton Manning. A higher level of responsibility and accountability for the quarterback may positively impact his study habits (plus, new born babies love having the playbook read to them). This new facet to Ben’s game also allows for the player and coordinator to accelerate the bonding process and that couldn’t hurt.
I am all for the no huddle as long as everyone is up to speed on the play calling, the audible choices, and the snap count. That may be a tall order if the learning curve is as steep as suggested with Todd Haley’s offense. Nothing will steam both Haley and Tomlin more than a bunch of mental errors like missed routes, pre snap penalties, and wasted time outs. The Huddles Absentia has worked well in small doses in the Steelers’ past but has never been a major offensive concept here. The Steelers, being young and quick, are well suited for the no huddle though.
For the Steelers, winning the AFC North means beating Baltimore at least twice a year. The Ravens (TCSFB) defense is aged and, if you can believe all the press, every defender has reported to camp either disgruntled or morbidly obese. That should make them susceptible to fatigue (and cardiac arrest) if a functioning Steelers no huddle offense can keep them from substituting regularly.
We all know that the terms ‘no huddle’ and ‘hurry up’ are no longer interchangeable in modern professional tackle football. Tomlin, Haley, and Roethlisberger will have to me ever mindful of that late in games and especially if the offense is sitting on a lead. The Home Team got a little younger defensively this off season by cutting ties with some of its grey beards but the Steelers’ offense will have to make sure not to exhaust its own defense along with the opposition.
It’s now Ben Roethlisberger’s time to take the alpha dog leadership role and, with Todd Haley’s guidance, I think he’s up to the challenge.