Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger counted his blessings Wednesday, a day after New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning got benched.
Roethlisberger was one of the first three quarterbacks selected in the 2004 NFL Draft, along with Manning and Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. On Wednesday, Roethlisberger was asked about the Giants deciding that they wanted to play their other quarterbacks instead of the guy who led them to two Super Bowl victories.
“Very thankful for this organization,” Roethlisberger said, according to Penn Live’s Jacob Klinger. “It’s a tough situation that they’re in and he obviously had to be in, so I’m thankful it’s not happening to me right now.”
His response was a lot more measured, and self-involved, than Rivers’ response when he was asked about Manning. Rivers said that the situation was “pathetic.”
It would be reasonable for Manning’s benching to strike a nerve with the other two as they were drafted the same year. Manning and Rivers were actually traded for one another on draft day. And after 14 years, none of three are in their prime.
Fortunately for Roethlisberger and Rivers, they aren’t currently quarterbacking teams that have been without three of their best receivers for much of this season. Manning lost Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall for the season in Week 5, and Sterling Shepard has missed four games this season.
The Giants decided on Tuesday that they wanted to play quarterbacks Geno Smith and Davis Webb, but offered Manning the opportunity to at least start the game on Sunday to keep his streak of consecutive starts alive. He is currently tied with Jim Otto at ninth all time at 210. Manning’s mark is second among quarterbacks — Brett Favre is the all-time leader among all positions at 297 consecutive starts.
Manning declined the opportunity to come off the bench.