We had another tough "Take your pick" this week in the AFC North blog. We asked which quarterback would you rather have in Super Bowl XLV: Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers or Pittsburgh Steelers counterpart Ben Roethlisberger.
Here are some responses from our AFC North inbox:
Roethlisberger is clutch!
Big Snack from Indy writes: It's Big Ben hands down. You will get plenty of people picking Rodgers because they are enamored with stats, just like the fools who love Philip Rivers for the same reason. Ben will never get the full respect or accolades he deserves and people will always try to point to stats and numbers. But I'll take the guy who makes the plays when it matters most and wins championships. Nobody but Tom Brady has a say in that conversation with Ben.
Dustan Horst from Camden, Del., writes: While these two guys are both top five QBs in the league, I will take Big Ben, for now. Here is why: Ben not only has two rings and he is probably the most clutch QB in the NFL today. I don't know if I can call him the Michael Jordan of the NFL. But I know that, as an athlete, Roethlisberger has a ridiculous track record for winning close games.
HP Bradish from Meadville, Pa., writes: I'd take Ben over Aaron. Bigger, stronger, just as mobile, players really do believe in him and play like it. And there's the extra unknown factor, which I think matters. That said the difference-maker in my opinion will be those Pittsburgh linebackers -- the very best group ever assembled. No team has ever had four of that caliber on the field at the same time.
Carl M from East Brunswick, N.J., writes: In a one-game-take-all scenario like the Super Bowl, it HAS to be Big Ben. The history speaks for itself. He's 10-2 in the postseason, 2-0 in super bowls and just an attitude of "I won't let my team lose." In basketball you talk about great game "closers," Ben is the ultimate game closer in my opinion.
Sam M from Pittsburgh writes: With all do respect to Rodgers, who has clearly become on of the finest quarterbacks in the league, I am taking Roethlisberger. This is the time of the year where passing yards and touchdowns don't mean anything. Instead, it's all about winning. Since Ben has proven time and time again that he is capable of making the big play at the big moment, he has got to be the choice.
Matthew from Columbus, Ohio, writes: How many Super Bowl titles does Ben have? How many does Aaron have? Oh, ok. I'll take Ben.
Milan from Canton, Ohio, writes: I take Rodgers only because, at the moment, he does more for his team. Both make big throws, are very accurate, look safeties off well, impossible to sack and are a substantial threat when rushing for first downs and TDs. But Rodgers seems on a mission, incognito rushing game throughout the season and he brings his team to this game.
Dave from Orlando, Fla., writes: This is a really tough one as Ben is as clutch an athlete as any, but I would have to go with Rodgers on the simple premise that his all-around game is more universally effective. In the Steelers' offense Big Ben is absolutely perfect but I can't see him stepping into a West Coast system and being a top-flight QB. Rodgers has the total package -- arm strength, patience, accuracy and underrated feet -- and the fastest release since Dan Marino.
John from Cincinnati writes: The pick here is Rodgers, even though it may seem counterintuitive. Yes, Ben is 10-2 in the playoffs and generally clutch in the fourth quarter of the regular season when needed. However, look at his stats as a QB in the Super Bowl. Both of the rings he has, he has because of the defenses in those games and not because he lifted the team up on shoulders and carried them. That is why I would pick Rodgers in this game. He has proven that he can put up huge numbers against the stoutest defenses and I think he does it again in the championship game.
Joe from Lexington, Va., writes: I'd pick Rodgers. For me, the most important skill for a quarterback is his decision-making. While Rodgers generally makes good reads and throws to open receivers, Roethlisberger has a habit of throwing into tight windows and relying on his accuracy and his receivers' ability to make tight catches. Despite his playoff record, the further you go into the playoffs, the more likely that is to come back and bite you.
Dave from State College, Pa., writes: Going by what I've seen this season, I would have to go with Rodgers as my gut reaction. But after thinking about it for a minute, I have a feeling, after all the offseason controversy, Roethlisberger is going to want this Super Bowl more and will the Steelers to victory.
Tom from Frisco, Texas, writes: If I need a clutch performance, it's Roethlisberger without a doubt. If I need finesse, accurate passing, give me Rodgers. How's that for officially being on the fence?
AFC North final say
James Walker: Personally, I don't think you can go wrong either way as Roethlisberger and Rodgers are both top five quarterbacks. But I'm giving the edge in this case to Roethlisberger, who continues to win big games time after time. It rarely looks pretty, but a 10-2 record in the postseason and two championships speak for themselves. Rodgers is more conventional but never won a playoff game until this year. In the playoffs, and particularly the Super Bowl, the only stat that matters is winning. And Roethlisberger has done that in the big games a lot more than Rodgers.