Ben Roethlisberger will almost certainly be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but he’s rarely mentioned in the same breath as, say, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees. But for former Steelers great Terry Bradshaw, who won four Super Bowls with Pittsburgh and was enshrined in Canton in 1989, he would take Big Ben over every other NFL quarterback.

“I would rate Ben right on top if the list, ahead of Brady for sure and anybody else, (Philip) Rivers, Eli (Manning). He is big, strong, and poised,” Bradshaw said, via

Your immediate reaction might be, “Of course Bradshaw is going to go with Roethlisberger– they’re both Steelers, duh.” But the men had a rocky relationship early in Big Ben’s career, even if they seem to have patched things up in recent years.

Hints of homerism aside, Bradshaw’s not wrong. In 12 games last season, Roethlisberger ranked 4th in Football Outsiders‘ value-per-play QB metric, and he was 2nd in ESPN’s QBR. He also completed a career-best 68 percent of his passes for 3,938 yards, and he was sacked a career-low 20 times.

“I would start with the most important thing a quarterback has to be, poised,” Bradshaw explained. “If you panic in that pocket you are no good. I don’t care what else is there, you have to be poised.

He’s also evolved over the course of his 13-year career;’s Andy Benoit encapsulated the transformation perfectly last month:

Never would anyone who studied Roethlisberger in the 2000s guess that he’d one day be talking about the game through this prism of intellect and discipline. He’s the only player of his era to be independently dominant as both a raw sandlot-style playmaker and as a controlling field general.

More from Bradshaw: “Ben has amazing talent, strong arm, strong guy, big in big games, clutch throws, makes some things happen. I have always admired him. I have the greatest respect for the job he has done and how he handles himself as a professional.

“The offense they are running is just amazing. The job he does and how he stands in there is impressive. It’s been years of solid, exceptional quarterback play. He could have been the MVP in the league last year if he would have stayed healthy. I am not saying this because I am a Steeler and trying to suck up to anybody. I am just telling you he is special, different.

“I’ll take Roethlisberger over any of those guys.”

Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Terry Bradshaw: I’d take Big Ben over Tom Brady, any other QB