By Teresa Varley
Roethlisberger MVP Press Release
Ben Roethlisberger put up huge numbers, engineered three come-from-behind wins and rewrote some of the Steelers record book this season, so it was no surprise that his teammates voted him the team's Most Valuable Player this year.
"To me, of all of the awards I have ever won, being a team MVP voted on by your teammates and a team captain are probably two of the most special awards that I could ever win," said Roethlisberger. "This means more to me than any other award. It tops them all. It was touching. I had to hold back some emotions when coach said it.
"I think there were a lot of guys that were very deserving of this award. For them to pick me means a lot and is very touching. It means more than I could probably explain."
Roethlisberger had a record-setting season, passing for 4,108 yards through 15 games. He bypassed Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw, who threw for 3,724 yards in 1979. He has completed a team-record 319 of his 479 pass attempts (66.6%), for 23 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and a 98.9 quarterback rating.
"It's an honor when you can do things like that, especially with the rich, storied tradition here that's been here in Pittsburgh and with the Steelers," said Roethlisberger. "But for me it's never about individual things."
What has meant a lot to the sixth-year quarterback is the receiving numbers put up by wide receivers Hines Ward (1,106 yards) and Santonio Holmes (1,243) and Rashard Mendenhall rushing for 1,014 yards going into the Dolphins game.
"For me it's about the team, about Hines getting 1,000 yards, Santonio getting 1,000 yards, Rashard getting 1,000 yards," said Roethlisberger. "It's about Heath Miller catching more passes and getting more yards than he ever has.
"I always want to help those guys any way I can get those yards. I think I was stat watching more than those guys were for them. Hines has had 1,000 yard seasons before, Santonio never has. For him to get that meant a lot for me. Knowing you are their quarterback and helped them get all of those yards means a lot. Those things mean more to me than my individual records."
Many of those individual records Roethlisberger earned came during his best performance of the season against the Green Bay Packers in Week 15 in a 37-36 come-from-behind win at Heinz Field.
He finished that game with a team-record 503 yards passing, a single game record, and it was his fifth 300-yard passing game of the season, a single-season record. He completed 29 of 46 pass attempts with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 131.9 passer rating. Roethlisberger was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts, which included leading the team on an 11-play, 86-yard drive in the fourth quarter, which culminated with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace with no time left on the clock.
Roethlisberger was in good company with his performance, becoming only the third quarterback in NFL history to throw for at least 500 yards and three touchdowns, without an interception in the game. The other two were Pro Football Hall of Famers Y.A. Tittle (1962) and Warren Moon (1990). He is also only the 10th player in NFL history to throw for at least 500 yards in a game and the ninth to do it in a non-overtime game.
And while it might not have been the team's best season, the numbers Roethlisberger has put up certainly rank at the top for him.
"Maybe statistically wise I think so, certain categories," said Roethlisberger when asked if this was his best season. "I never missed a practice, the first time in six years I never missed a practice. I think that has translated on to the football field and my play has been better, whether it's the no-huddle or understanding offenses better, I think you could say it has been one of my better years."
The Steelers offense has focused more on the pass this season than in the past, but Roethlisberger thinks it's just about using the talent that is there.
"Everyone made a big to-do about this offense changing and it being a passing offense. Really it's balance," said Roethlisberger. "We have so many unbelievable weapons that we need to utilize. If we didn't, what is the point to have them?"
Roethlisberger is the first Steelers quarterback to win the team's MVP since Kordell Stewart in 2001. It's also the fifth time a quarterback won the honor, with Terry Bradshaw taking it twice (1977, 1978), Neil O'Donnell (1995), Stewart and Roethlisberger.