Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Joe Flacco and Peyton Manning have all won the Super Bowl once. Tom Brady, Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger have each won the top prize multiple times.
Each of them is critical to the NFL and likely to wind up in the Hall of Fame. The guys listed are not Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson. They are the real deal.
Interestingly, two of the multiple time Super Bowl winners are stuck in similar ruts to open the 2013 season. In their 10th seasons in the NFL, Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger are leading their teams out of the gate with 0-3 records.
They are facing the biggest challenges of their careers. Both have faced plenty of adversity 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.
But this time, it may be different. No team has started a season 0-3 and made it to the playoffs since the 1998 Buffalo Bills. At least they won’t have to face each other, that happened last season in a rare occurrence.
Manning and Roethlisberger have earned enough respect that you can’t put anything past them. Both were in the same draft in 2004 and have stayed with the same team throughout their careers. They have each won two Super Bowl titles along the way.
It can be argued that 0-3 is not the end of the season for teams, especially in weaker divisions and in a league that tends to be saturated with average teams year in and year out. But at this point it does look like Roethlisberger faces a tougher road. He has two above average teams to contend with in his own division in Baltimore and Cincinnati. Meanwhile Manning has two mediocre teams to overcome in Philadelphia and Dallas.
How they approach games, how they lead their teams, how they respond to fans, pundits and pressure will be reflected in their teammates. Each man must carry on as a professional, and take things one snap at a time. And, they will.
Both of them are steady and understand the bigger picture. These guys will likely get a pass on a bad season or if they don’t live up to expectations.
Each guy has the rest of this year to try and get back to .500 and then, there’s next season, which they will both 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 of the ball, and their teammates must also step up.
They are both going to catch flak and the remainder of the season won’t be easy, but, look for Roethlisberger and Manning to try and put a positive spin on things as they move forward on their respective schedules.
Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com