Roethlisberger came in at No. 30 on NFL Network's "Top 100: Players of 2012" rankings, which is up 11 spots from 2011. He's the fourth-ranked quarterback on the list, which would make it seem like he's plenty respected.
And yet he was behind running backs Frank Gore, Arian Foster and Ray Rice on this installment of the show alone. We love that trio, but all running backs are replaceable. Roethlisberger was behind Clay Matthews during an off year. He's behind teammates James Harrison and Troy Polamalu. Please.
If you were starting a team from scratch, would you consider taking any of those players before Roethlisberger? Big Ben is still improving. Harrison and Polamalu are declining.
There is a misperception about Roethlisberger's 2011 campaign. He was not the reason that Pittsburgh fell short. In fact, we'd argue he took big-time steps as a decision-maker and quarterback compared to his excellent 2010 season, which ended in a Super Bowl shootout loss.
Now 30 years old, Big Ben is at that sweet spot where his mental approach to the game has improved while his physical skills have yet to wane. Aaron Rodgers is there. Tom Brady and Drew Brees are already past it.
We're not saying Roethlisberger should be ranked ahead of those three players, but he deserves to be in the discussion. He deserves to be a lot higher than No. 30.