Last week longtime Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey decided to retire, starting the countdown toward his possible inclusion in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Meanwhile, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has indicated that he wants to return for an 18th (and likely final) season, which would delay the start of the five-year waiting period before he becomes eligible for induction.
Certainly, both are going to be in the conversation for the Hall of Fame, but how likely are they to be inducted? In 2019, Pro Football Reference created a Hall of Fame Monitor, which it describes as “a metric designed to estimate a player’s chances of making the Pro Football Hall of Fame using … Pro Bowls, All-Pros, championships, and various [other] stat[istical] milestones.” A score in the neighborhood of 100 is around the average modern-era inductee.
With that in mind, how do Pouncey and Roethlisberger compare to their peers?
Maurkice Pouncey’s Place Among Hall of Fame Leaders
The main thing that stands out about Maurkice Pouncey’s candidacy is that he is the highest-rated center not yet inducted into the Hall of Fame, ahead of the likes of Jeff Saturday, Tom Nalen and Alex Mack. On the other hand, his PFR score is only 73.78, this as compared to the average score (109) of the seven centers currently in the Hall of Fame.
The lack of a Super Bowl ring won’t necessarily hurt him, as five centers—including the two top-rated centers, Dermontti Dawson (Pittsburgh Steelers) and Jim Otto (Oakland Raiders)—never won a championship. But if he gets in, he would be the first center ever enshrined with fewer than three first-team All-Pro honors to his name, as Pouncey has just two among his nine Pro Bowls.
And while Pouncey has more than his share of advocates among NFL observers, he also has critics who insist he has long been overrated, including analysts at Pro Football Focus, who insist he’s a better fit for an all-average team than the Hall of Fame, a criticism to which Pouncey took exception.
Ben Roethlisberger’s Place in the Hall of Fame Hierarchy
Meanwhile, Ben Roethlisberger’s case is even more interesting. Many assume that Big Ben will eventually earn a place in the Hall of Fame, but his score (95.38) is below the average (104) of all quarterbacks currently in the Hall, just a shade higher than Terry Bradshaw’s 94.82.
Meanwhile, there are five other active (or very recently-retired QBs) above him on the scoresheet, those being Tom Brady (250.94), Aaron Rodgers (163.72), Drew Brees (140.50), Philip Rivers (97.64) and Matt Ryan (97.43), the latter of whom is immediately above Roethlisberger on the list, with one All-Pro and zero Super Bowl rings to his name.
Big Ben benefits from having won two Super Bowl titles, but is hurt by never having been named first-team All-Pro, with “only” six Pro Bowls. Hall of Fame quarterbacks without any first-team All-Pro awards are unusual, but not unprecedented. Hall of Famers John Elway and Troy Aikman are similar to Roethlisberger in that they have won multiple Super Bowls but were never named first-team All-Pro (according to PFR).
In case you’re wondering, Eli Manning—who was selected ahead of Roethlisberger in the 2004 NFL Draft—is well below him on the Hall of Fame Monitor, registering a score of 83.41, a shade below Ken Anderson of the Cincinnati Bengals, who retired in 1986 and has not been elected.
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