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Big Ben joins chorus that all QBs aren't equal in NFL's eyes

Ben Roethlisberger is all in on the theory made popular by Eagles star Michael Vick: Certain NFL quarterbacks play by a different set of rules.

The Steelers signal-caller said Thursday on ESPN's "Rome Is Burning" that game officials "know who are the marquee guys and they want to protect them."

Roethlisberger sees it as a situation of the league protecting its most marketable assets.

"I think in part because the league doesn't want certain games to be played without certain quarterbacks," Roethlisberger said. "No offense to the other Patriots, but who's going to watch the Patriots without Tom Brady and the Saints without Drew Brees? That's the way it is. They want to protect those guys because they are the marquee guys of this league, and you don't want them to get hurt."

Roethlisberger is the owner of two Super Bowl rings, but his comments make it clear that he doesn't see himself in the cool-kid crowd where Tom, Drew and Peyton Manning reside.

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