I'm really not a fan of hypothesizing. Too many opinions are formed off the assumptions of idiots that it's hard to even take note. For example, many of the Big Ben haters routinely say that Ben wouldn't have the numbers or records that he does if the defense was worse...or if he didn't have an awesome run game earlier in his career. They say "Put him on a crappier all-around team and he's just another mediocre QB."
Steelers fans use the facts and actual happenings to define their QB. Maybe he was more of a game manager in his first 2 years or so, but that doesn't limit his abilities now. Playing with a suddenly-normal defense and sometimes-disappearing run game, Ben is putting up the best numbers of his career. He's second in the league in pass yards and destroying everyone in completion percentage...all while averaging almost 9 yards a throw. And we're not even counting the O-Line he dealt with last year.
So some dude at the Canton Rep decided to ask if life would be different if the Browns took Ben in the 2004 draft instead of trading up to get Kellen Winslow, now a Tampa Bay Buc. I started to heat up at the sight of another hypothetical, but then went the route of the Bob Frantz "trash talk" from yesterday, and realized that this is all the Browns fans have to go on nowadays.
The writer makes no bold statements that the Browns would somehow have 2 rings while routinely dominating the AFC North. He notes that while there's no way of truly knowing how the fortunes of both teams would differ from current situations, the Browns clearly made a gaffe by passing on Ben. Here's the part that shocked me the most:
No one thinks Roethlisberger’s record as a Cleveland starter would be as good as it is in Pittsburgh, where he is 56-23.
It’s less clear-cut whether the Browns would have become a winner if they had used the No. 7 pick in 2004 on Roethlisberger instead of trading up for Kellen Winslow Jr.
Using quarterbacks Jeff Garcia, Kelly Holcomb, Luke McCown, Trent Dilfer, Charlie Frye, Derek Anderson, Brady Quinn, Ken Dorsey and Bruce Gradkowski as starters, the Browns have gone 29-56 since Roethlisberger entered the league.
Anderson will start Sunday at Pittsburgh.
That's a lot of terrible QBs, right there. The only QB I'd even remotely consider is Jeff Garcia, a fine signal caller who was stuck on an awful Cleveland team. But if Ben was a Brown, who knows how many of these guys might've ended up in Black and Gold? Tommy Maddox might've had a few more years in the Burgh, Charlie Batch might've started a year or two, but the only surefire assumption is that the stability that Big Ben has brought would be non-existent.
For a team that used truly mediocre QBs throughout the 90s and early 2000s, I think we can all appreciate Ben a little more if we realize how lucky the Steelers were to grab him when they did.