Was Ben Roethlisberger snubbed by not being selected to the Pro Bowl?

Was Ben Roethlisberger snubbed by not being selected to the Pro Bowl?

The 2019 Pro Bowl rosters were announced last night. As per usual, a slew of Steelers was honored to join the ranks of the elite by being named to the AFC squad. Among those players are perennial stalwarts such as Antonio Brown, David DeCastro, and Maurkice Pouncey. James Conner was named to his first Pro Bowl, while Steelers tackle Alejandro Villanueva and Cameron Heyward (a replacement in last year’s game) return to Orlando.

However, it was who wasn’t named to the NFL’s version of an All-Star game that raised eyebrows. Of course, there are second-year players such as T.J Watt (who leads the Steelers in sacks) and JuJu Smith-Schuster (who leads the team in receiving) that drew the ire of Steelers Nation. Yet, there’s one other name that’s inconspicuously absent from the roster that surprised many: Ben Roethlisberger.

But why?

Why would a quarterback who has been named to four-straight Pro Bowls be left off of this year’s iteration of the team?

That’s what I’ll break down into detail below.

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Interceptions

Rk Player G Cmp Att Cmp% Yds TD Int Rate 1 Ben Roethlisberger 14 388 580 66.9 4462 30 15 96.4 2 Sam Darnold 11 199 351 56.7 2357 14 15 72.8 3 Josh Rosen 12 187 336 55.7 2042 10 14 66.3 4 Andrew Luck 14 375 557 67.3 3951 34 13 98.4 5 Jared Goff 14 330 512 64.5 4273 27 13 97.6 6 Cam Newton 14 320 471 67.9 3395 24 13 94.2 7 Jameis Winston 9 188 295 63.7 2311 14 13 85.3 8 Case Keenum 14 311 501 62.1 3396 15 12 82.1 9 Mitchell Trubisky 12 246 379 64.9 2814 23 12 94.1 10 Ryan Fitzpatrick 8 164 246 66.7 2366 17 12 100.4

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What will undoubtedly show up as the main reason that Big Ben was left off of this year’s team is his interceptions. Standing tall at the top of the league with 15 picks will get you noticed in a negative light.

However, dare I mention that LA Rams QB Jared Goff has thrown two less picks and three less touchdowns, but was named to the NFC’s side?

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Touchdown Passes

Rk Player G Cmp Att Cmp% Yds TD Int Rate 1 Patrick Mahomes 14 346 516 67.1 4543 45 11 114.8 2 Andrew Luck 14 375 557 67.3 3951 34 13 98.4 3 Philip Rivers 14 310 447 69.4 3951 31 8 112.4 4 Russell Wilson 14 250 377 66.3 3025 31 6 111.6 5 Drew Brees 14 337 450 74.9 3666 31 5 116.8 6 Ben Roethlisberger 14 388 580 66.9 4462 30 15 96.4 7 Matt Ryan 14 376 538 69.9 4307 30 6 107.6 8 Jared Goff 14 330 512 64.5 4273 27 13 97.6 9 Kirk Cousins 14 384 545 70.5 3913 26 10 99 10 Cam Newton 14 320 471 67.9 3395 24 13 94.2 11 Tom Brady 14 338 513 65.9 3979 24 9 97.6 12 Deshaun Watson 14 291 430 67.7 3592 24 9 103.2 13 Mitchell Trubisky 12 246 379 64.9 2814 23 12 94.1 14 Aaron Rodgers 14 332 537 61.8 3974 23 2 97.2

I expanded this selection on purpose to illustrate where Roethlisberger stands in terms of scoring plays. Obviously, Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes is lighting the world on fire, but even Andrew Luck (second on the list) was snubbed for having the same interceptions as Goff, but more touchdowns that fellow honorees Philip Rivers and Drew Brees…

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Which leads me to Ben’s interception totals being a further non-factor as Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers lag further behind in that category. (Yes, this is a popularity contest too, but looks a little silly now, doesn’t it?)

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Pass Attempts, Completions and Yards

Rk Player G Cmp Att Cmp% Yds TD Int Rate 1 Patrick Mahomes 14 346 516 67.1 4543 45 11 114.8 2 Ben Roethlisberger 14 388 580 66.9 4462 30 15 96.4 3 Matt Ryan 14 376 538 69.9 4307 30 6 107.6 4 Jared Goff 14 330 512 64.5 4273 27 13 97.6 5 Tom Brady 14 338 513 65.9 3979 24 9 97.6 6 Aaron Rodgers 14 332 537 61.8 3974 23 2 97.2 7 Andrew Luck 14 375 557 67.3 3951 34 13 98.4 8 Philip Rivers 14 310 447 69.4 3951 31 8 112.4 9 Kirk Cousins 14 384 545 70.5 3913 26 10 99 10 Derek Carr 14 338 495 68.3 3697 19 8 96.2

This is the moneymaker here: you have to throw the ball in order to complete touchdown passes or risk throwing interceptions.

As of this writing, no one has attempted or completed more passes than Big Ben.

Furthermore, Roethlisberger only trails Mahomes in pass yardage this season, as those two are also the only passers to have exceeded 4,400 yards this season. Ben is also only one of four quarterbacks to have thrown for at least 4,000 yards in 2018 too.

The Steelers quarterback’s numbers are significant here, as he’s on pace to attempt his most pass attempts in his entire career, with his previous high of 608 in 2014, which was also a Pro Bowl season for Big Ben.

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Conclusion

Was Big Ben snubbed?

Yes and no.

You can’t be considered an elite quarterback while also leading the league in interceptions. However, the Pro Bowl is also a popularity contest with fan voting. Apparently, the NFL’s push into the Los Angeles market has proven beneficial for Goff and Rivers, who are playing in this game for a second-straight year. (Note: Goff was an injury replacement for Eagles QB Carson Wentz last season.)

Yet I’d argue that Ben’s pedigree should be such as Tom Brady’s. We really can’t argue Patrick Mahomes’ numbers or the success of the Chiefs and Chargers under their respective quarterbacks this season. In the end, Ben is once again passed on, a general lack of respect he’s been shown his entire career, in favor of someone else.

In this case that someone else is Tom Brady: a player Ben beat head-to-head on Sunday, and currently has more pass attempts, completions, and touchdowns than, including a better completion percentage. The only thing Tom Brady has bragging rights to thus far in 2018 is having thrown fewer interceptions: something that shouldn’t negate the otherwise excellent, Pro Bowl-like season Roethlisberger has had this year.