WHICH QUARTERBACK CLASS WILL BE NFL'S GREATEST?
Ben Roethlisberger will be intent on out-dueling Eli Manning on Sunday when the Steelers play at New York, but he's also talking up the Giants quarterback as if they're kindred spirits. More so than addressing Manning as an opponent, Roethlisberger characterized the Giants quarterback as a colleague of sorts, in remarks posted by the Newark Star-Ledger.
What ties the two together? Being taken in the first round of the 2004 NFL draft.
That draft marks the only one in NFL history that has produced two QBs who went on to win more than one Super Bowl ring apiece. Both have snared a pair of championships, but the quarterbacks of that 2004 class also include another first-rounder, Philip Rivers, plus Matt Schaub, who wasn't taken until the fourth round.
"As I've gotten older, it’s more neat to see his success, to see him getting two Super Bowls, because I think it just adds to the legacy of our draft class," Roethlisberger said. "And all four quarterbacks -- Matt Schaub, Philip, myself and Eli -- that were drafted there. I hope we can play well enough that one day they talk about us as maybe the best quarterback draft class of all time."
VOTE IN SOTL POLL: WHICH QB CLASS WILL ULTIMATELY BE NFL'S GREATEST?
That raises the question of which quarterback class is the greatest of all-time, and whether it will be surpassed by 2012's, which already has five rookie starters: First-rounders Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden, and third-round pick Russell Wilson.
The quarterback class of 1983 long has been widely endorsed as the best in NFL history, with three members in the Hall of Fame: John Elway, Dan Marino and Jim Kelly. The six QBs taken in the first round were the most ever, and include another Super Bowl quarterback, Tony Eason, plus Todd Blackledge and Ken O'Brien.
But while that group sent four members to Pro Bowls it also had only a 2-9 record in Super Bowls. The Eli-Roethlisberger class is 4-1 in the Super Bowl, and has plenty of time left to build on that record. And the 2012 class looks likely to have an impact for at least a decade.
So, which quarterback class do you think ultimately will be the greatest? Weigh in with a poll vote, or in the comments section.