Pssst, Deion, Big Ben was "elite" long before this
By Clark Judge | Senior NFL Columnist

October 22, 2012 3:42 pm ET


After Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger led the Pittsburgh Steelers to a come-from-behind defeat of Cincinnati Sunday night, former NFL star Deion Sanders -- now an analyst for the NFL Network -- said "we need to mention him as elite."

We do? I don't, and most people covering the NFL don't, either. Because we mentioned him as "elite" years ago. So there's no "need" need to repeat what most persons already know or assume.

Unless, of course, you don't know it.

Sanders was a Hall-of-Fame cornerback who seldom let an opponent get past him, which makes me wonder how he whiffed on this one and wonder where he was when Roethlisberger was piling up wins, big plays and Super Bowls appearances. Ben Roethlisberger is and has been an "elite" quarterback for years, and if that's news to Sanders maybe he should pay more attention to what matters most.

And what matters with Roethlisberger is his ability to make big plays in big games and win games of consequence. He may not produce the numbers of, say, a Drew Brees, Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, but there's nobody other than Brady I'd rather have for one start. Because I know Roethlisberger will win.

He's 83-36 in the regular season. He's 10-4 in the playoffs. He's 2-1 in Super Bowls.

In short, he's a Hall of Famer waiting to happen, and that's not exactly a revelation ... though it seems to be to Deion Sanders. Ben Roethlisberger did not just become an "elite quarterback" with Sunday's win or this season's performances or Sanders' declaration. He's been one for years.

Somebody pass the word to Deion