As Jordan was discussing the topic with a reporter, though, it became fairly apparent that he hadn’t completely thought through his stance. Nevertheless, the four-time Pro Bowler, who has trolled opposing quarterbacks in the past, made it clear that he didn’t mind providing the Steelers with some bulletin-board material before their squads tangle Sunday in one of Week 16′s marquee matchups.
Jordan was placidly listening to a question about what the Steelers “do well” on offense, when an offhand reference to the possibility of Roethlisberger going to the Hall of Fame suddenly caused him to turn to the reporter with an expression of disbelief.
“Is that true?” Jordan asked. When told, “Roethlisberger? Yeah,” he said with a tone of skepticism, “Really?”
"In this era? You’d put him at, like, a top three of this era?” Jordan asked, eliciting the response, “I wouldn’t put him top three, but I think he’s gonna go to the Hall of Fame.”
At that point, the discussion shifted to whether Roethlisberger should be ranked in the top five of his era, and Jordan was quick to rattle off the names of four other quarterbacks he preferred, not surprisingly — and quite justifiably — starting with his own teammate, Drew Brees. Jordan then listed the Patriots' Tom Brady and the Packers' Aaron Rodgers (taking inspiration from “Key & Peele” by pronouncing the Green Bay star’s first name as “Ay-Ay-Ron”), before going with Peyton Manning.
When it was pointed out Manning was retired, Jordan retorted that he did so just “two years ago,” adding, “That was most of Roethlisberger’s career. You’re saying he’s better than Philip Rivers, right now, career-wise? Because you’re giving him the Super Bowl nod, is that what you’re saying?”
Told that Roethlisberger could be at No. 5 on that list, Jordan said, “I mean, I’d honestly put Eli [Manning] before I put Ben, but okay.”
#Saints Cam Jordan is not buying the idea that #Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger is a future Hall of Famer. Apparently, he's not even one of the Top 5 QB of his era - "I’d honestly put Eli before I put Ben" #PITvsNO #HereWeGo ➡️https://t.co/eUxl5N3Nxs⬅️ pic.twitter.com/uoBdAEu4jN— Simon Chester (@SimonAChester) December 20, 2018
That assertion prompted an incredulous response and Jordan’s argument frayed further when he cited the fact that Eli Manning had won two Super Bowls, conveniently ignoring that Roethlisberger has done the same. And, unlike his Giants counterpart drafted in the same year, Roethlisberger appeared in a third (where he lost to Ay-Ay-Ron).
Few people outside of Pittsburgh would likely rank Roethlisberger ahead of Brees, Brady, Rodgers and Peyton Manning, but Jordan would have a much harder time, probably even in New York, convincing many of his case for Eli Manning. In a three-way comparison including Rivers of star quarterbacks drafted in 2004, Manning has easily the lowest completion percentage, passer rating and adjusted net yards per attempt (ANY/A), as well as the fewest touchdown passes and by far the most interceptions.
The choice between Roethlisberger and Rivers becomes more interesting, with the Chargers stalwart getting the edge in a number of major categories, including completion percentage, passer rating, touchdowns, interceptions and ANY/A (which takes into account touchdowns, interceptions and sacks per attempt). However, Roethlisberger has 26 more career wins thus far, plus nine more in the playoffs, and that 2-1 record in the Super Bowl. Rivers has yet to go to one.
In any event, Jordan is almost certainly way off-base in questioning Roethlisberger’s Hall of Fame candidacy, with the Steelers' six-time Pro Bowler and 2004 AP offensive rookie of the year widely considered a shoo-in. In addition to the team success, he ranks in the NFL’s top seven all-time in completions, passing yardage, passing touchdowns, game-winning drives and yards per attempt.
When told of Jordan’s comments, Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey said, “I don’t think Ben’s a Hall of Famer, either — I know.”
“I look at that like Twitter,” Pouncey added of his opponent’s trash talk. “I don’t pay attention to it. It doesn’t do anything. Come on, man. We’re grown. That his opinion. … It’s totally fine, there are a million people that think he is [a Hall of Famer].”
If Jordan was pushing things in his attempt to belittle Roethlisberger, he could hardly be blamed given his recent success in getting deep under the skin of Cam Newton. The Panthers quarterback went so far as to wear a cleat design for Monday night’s Carolina-New Orleans game that referred to Jordan’s gift to him in January of a bottle of wine and a broom, symbolizing the Saints' three-game sweep last season of Newton’s team.
Jordan got the last laugh again on Monday when New Orleans beat the Panthers to not only cripple their hopes this year for the playoffs, but also to effectively end Newton’s season. The former NFL MVP has been struggling with an injured shoulder and, given his squad’s 6-8 record, he was demoted in favor of backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke for this week and likely the season finale, as well.
It remains to be seen what comes of the sudden rivalry between Jordan and Roethlisberger, but there’s little doubt that the Pittsburgh quarterback would love nothing more than to burnish his Hall of Fame credentials with a big win in New Orleans.
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