Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning: Parallel Careers

Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Joe Flacco and Peyton Manning are the one-time winners.  Tom Brady, Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger are the multiple winners.

These are the headliners, the superstars, the marquee players of the NFL.  Super Bowl winning quarterbacks are the marketing machine.  They are the Disney World group.

Each of them is critical to the NFL and likely to go to the Hall Of Fame.  These guys are not Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson.

Interestingly, two of the multiple winners are stuck in the same ruts this season.  In their 10th seasons in the NFL, Eli and Ben are leading their teams out of the gate at 0-3.

They are facing the biggest challenges of their careers. Both have faced adversity plenty in the past and rebounded well from it to deliver either playoff victories or Super Bowl wins.  They have had losing records in the past and guided their teams to the playoffs, too.

This time, though, it may be different.  It's been since the '98 Buffalo Bills since a team started 0-3 and made it to the playoffs.  (At least they won't have to face each other; that happened last season in a very rare occurrence.)

Eli and Ben have earned enough respect that you can't put anything past them.  Both came up in the same draft of '04 and have stayed with their same teams, winning two Super Bowl titles each along the way.

It can be argued that 0-3 is not the end for teams, especially in weaker divisions and in a League that tends to be saturated with average teams year in and year out.  But, it does look at this point as if Ben has it tougher. He has two above average teams to contend with, Baltimore and Cincinnati, while Eli has two mediocre teams in Philadelphia and Dallas to overcome.

How they approach games, how they lead their teams, how they respond to fans, pundits and the pressure will be reflected onto their teammates for sure.  They must carry on as professionals, taking it one snap at a time.  And, they will.

Both of them are steady and understand the bigger picture.  These guys get a pass on a bad season or if they don't live up to expectations.

There is the rest of this year to try and get back to .500 and then, there's next season, which they will undoubtedly be prepared for.  Both will do their best to avoid injury the rest of the way and try to help their teammates improve. They only have so much control on the offensive side.

They're going to catch flak and the remainder of the season won't be easy, but, look for Ben and Eli to try and put a positive spin on things as they move forward on their respective schedules.

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