Who are the SteezBros?

Welcome to SteezBros! SteezBros is a Steeler Blog run by three brothers who are all huge Steeler fans. If the true definition of fan is fanatic, we fit the bill. We were born into Steeler fandom. Love of the Steelers goes back many generations in our family. It's in our blood. You can read our "Welcome to SteezBros" post in the archive if you are interested in more information about us and the blog. Thanks for reading and check back often!


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Big Ben and Eli

There quite a few articles in the blogosphere about the Giants – Steelers game, especially comparisons of Big Ben and Eli. It’s inevitable that these two will be compared throughout their careers. The have a number of similarities - they were first round draft picks from the same class, they both won super bowls, they both like to party.

But outside of these few facts, there seems to be a lot of disagreement about who is a better QB. Before we get to the comparisons, let’s all agree on one thing. Both are better than Philip Rivers.

It’s interesting to compare Eli and Ben, because defenders of both players will tell you vehemently that their respective quarterbacks cannot be judged on stats alone. Big Ben is consistently underrated because he doesn’t put up monster yardage. Ditto for Eli. They both play for teams that commit to running the football, controlling the clock, and throwing in some play action pass. Eli often gets more attention. He is a Manning. He plays in the biggest media market in the country. But despite this attention, he still had lots of doubters before the season He didn’t even get the normal pre-season, post-championship love because of the drama queen Brett Favre came into town.

Even though statistics don’t tell the whole story, we couldn’t have a respectable comparison without diving into the statistics. (From Joshua’s random thoughts courtesy of postgameheroes.com)

According to all of these statistics, Big Ben compares favorably to Eli. But what about the most important statistic of all, wins? Ben has 44 in the regular season (plus 5 postseason wins). Eli has 35 wins in the regular season (plus 4 postseason wins). Advantage: Big Ben.

However, ignoring statistics and focusing solely on wins doesn’t necessarily translate into one QB being better than the other. If I were an Eli supporter, I would argue that the Steelers teams were much better, so Ben had a much easier transition to the NFL. But the year before Big Ben was drafted, Pittsburgh went 6- 10 (allowing the Steelers to gain the #11 draft spot where we took Big Ben). With the team essentially unchanged from the year before, we went 15-1 and made it to the AFC Championship. Now I’m willing to admit that Ben’s role was simplified, but he was a big reason the Steelers were winning games. The following year, the Steelers made an unprecedented run to the Super Bowl, and despite a terrible Super Bowl performance, Ben was the MVP of the Steelers playoff run. He played incredibly well against Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Denver to get the team to the Super Bowl. Did I mention it was only his second year in the league? Even though he was still young, Ben was not a Trent Dilfer-like game manager. (Check out the Super Bowl run comparison below).

The NY Giants during this time seemed to have a great formula going for them. Start the year out hot, cool down in midseason, collapse at the end of the season. The Steelers definitely had a stronger defense than the Giants across the years, but Eli has always had weapons on offense. Tiki Barber had his best seasons with Eli at the helm. Plaxico defected to the Giants in Eli’s sophomore year. Shockey talked a big game. And Amani Toomer was more than the best dressed receiver in the league. Those Giants teams lost in large part because of poor decisions by one Eli Manning.

At the end of the regular season last year, I doubt there were many people that would have taken Eli Manning over Ben Roethlisberger. But, then Eli went on a magical run. All of a sudden he was making good decisions and the Giants were making a Steeleresque run through the playoffs. I’ll even admit that the Giants road was tougher than Pittsburgh’s. Dallas appeared to be unstoppable, beating Green Bay at Lambeau is not supposed to happen, and then we all know what happened against the unbeatable, undefeated NE Patriots.

Eli is given significant credit (and rightfully so) for taking his team to the NFL championship. And several articles have cited the fact that he outplayed Jeff Garcia, Tony Romo, Brett Favre, and Tom Brady to win the Super Bowl. This is true, but the last time I checked, Eli didn’t play defense against those teams. The reason he outplayed them was because Strahan, Umenyiora, and the rest of the Giants defense were harassing the opposition.

Throughout the 2007 playoffs, NYG averaged 21.25 points per game. That’s respectable, but not exactly blowing it up on the offensive side.

In comparison, the Steelers average 26.75 points per game during their Super Bowl run. .

Giants Playoff Run
NYG 24 TB 14

Eli Manning – 20/27 185 yards 2 TD 0 Int

TB averaged 21 points per game in the regular season. Had every opponent of TB scored 24 points, the team would have been 6-10. Therefore, NYG’s offense was potent enough to beat Tampa Bay the majority of the time.

NYG 21 DAL 17

Eli Manning – 12/18 163 yards 2 TD 0 Int

Dal averaged 28 points per game in the regular season. Had every opponent of Dallas scored 21 points, the team would have been 13 -3. Eli and the offense were solid, but the reason they won this game was because of defense.

NYG 23 GB 20

Eli Manning – 21/40 254 yards 0 TD 0 Int

GB averaged 27 points per game in the regular season. Had every opponent of GB scored 23 points, the team would have been 11 -5. Eli and the offense were solid again (especially considering the weather), but the defense kept them in this game (and made the interception in overtime to put the team in position to score).

NYG 17 NE 14

Eli Manning – 19/34 255 yards 2 TD 1 Int

NE averaged 37 points per game. Had every opponent of NE scored 17 points, the team would have been 16 -0. Eli won this game for the Giants with his two incredible drives, but had NE scored even half as many points as the team averaged in the regular season, this game would have been won by the Patriots.

Steelers Run

PIT 31 Cin 17

Ben 14/19 218 3 TD 0 Int

CIN averaged 26 points per game. Had every opponent of CIN scored 31 points, the team would have been 6 - 10. Big Ben and the offense won this game for the Steelers. The defense struggled early, but bounced back in the second half. Nonetheless, if you score 31 points in the playoffs, you expect to win.

PIT 21 IND 18

Ben 14/24 197 2 TD 1 Int

IND averaged 27 points per game. Had every opponent of IND scored 21 points, the team would have been 11 - 5. Big Ben and the offense threw the ball early and often in the game to take a nice lead. The defense was incredible and the reason we won this game.

PIT 34 DEN 21

Ben 21/29 275 2 TD 0 Int

DEN averaged 24 points per game. Had every opponent of DEN scored 34 points, the team would have been 1 - 15. The defense was solid in this game, but Big Ben and the offense dominated.

PIT 21 SEA 10

Ben 9/21 123 0 TD 2 Int

SEA averaged 28 points per game. Had every opponent of SEA scored 21points, the team would have been 12 - 4. Ben was awful in this game. The defense stepped up in an utterly boring Super Bowl. A little credit to Ben, but much more to the defense.

Eli 72/119 857 yards 61% 6 TD 1 int
Ben 58/83 813 yards 70% 7 TD 3 int

Take away what you want from this analysis. Eli threw it a bit more and didn’t make as many mistakes. Ben had fewer attempts, but was more accurate, had nearly as many yards, and had more touchdowns. Both players had significant help from their defenses. Eli got much more credit, due in large part to the two great drives that won them the Super Bowl.

There is no right answer to who is (and who will be) the better quarterback of the two. After watching the two, I would take Big Ben without thinking. He has performed better throughout his career, routinely carries his team to victory behind a shaky offensive line, and has become the unquestioned leader of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The argument espoused in several articles that Eli has more potential is also trash. Those that watch the Steelers know that Ben continues to improve. He has much better control of the offense. He has more freedom to call audibles. And gone are the days when he forced plays and turned the ball over constantly.. New York, be happy you have your man. Pittsburgh is certainly pleased with ours.
Oh yeah, let’s not forget crybaby Eli refused to be drafted by the Chargers. Classy.

No comments: