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Big Ben Roethlisberger: road warrior or home boy?

You may have heard this conversation that says Ben Roethlisberger is a better quarterback when playing at Heinz Field than when the Steelers are playing on the road.

So, is that truth or fiction?

The only way to determine the answer is by breaking down Big Ben’s stats. You be the judge based on the following numbers.

Overall, Ben Roethlisberger has a win-loss record of 125-61. He has thrown for 47,077 passing yards and 303 touchdowns while also tossing 161 interceptions. His career passer rating is 94.1. In 186 career games from 2004 to 2016, Big Ben has attempted 5,968 passes, registering a completion rate of 64.1 percent. He has connected on 3,828 pass attempts.

So, when playing at Heinz Field…

  • Roethlisberger has won 70 of 92 games. That’s a .760 winning percentage. When away from Pittsburgh, No. 7 has engineered 55 wins in 94 games. That sees his percentage drop dramatically to .585.
  • Looking past victories and losses, how does Big Ben compare statistically in his own stadium to enemy territories? His completion rate at home has been 64.5 percent. But on the road, it’s 63.8 percent. With 72 picks at home, he’s thrown another 89 on the road. As for passer rating? It comes in at 99.5 at Heinz and 88.9 elsewhere.
  • Of the 457 times Ben Roethlisberger has been sacked, 202 have come in Pittsburgh. That means the remaining 255 have occurred other stadiums.
  • Obviously, Roethlisberger finds the end zone way more often in the comforts of home—a total of 173 times. Meanwhile, he has thrown only 103 touchdowns in everyone else’s stadium.
  • The yardage totals are fairly close, however: 23,963 in Pittsburgh and 23,114 elsewhere.

So sure, Ben Roethlisberger may be a bit better when playing at home. But the differences aren’t dramatic enough to argue that he is a poorer quarterback when away from Heinz Field. After all, when he got the Steelers to Super Bowl XL and XLIII, those games were on the road. And in 2005, he had to do it with three road games.

Now that that’s covered, let’s take this a step further, shall we? Let’s have a closer look at some other Big Ben stats.

How does Ben Roethlisberger perform on certain days of the week? Obviously the majority of games are played on Sunday where Big Ben has played in 156 contests—winning 104 against 52 losses. On Monday night, Roethlisberger is 12-4 with 22 touchdowns. As for Thursday night, the Steelers have played in 12 with Ben Roethlisberger under center. He owns a 7-5 record. Roethlisberger has played twice on Saturday, winning them both.

Any Steelers fan knows how Ben Roethlisberger OWNS the Cleveland Browns. Is that the team he has beaten up on the most? ABSOLUTELY! In 24 games, Ben Roethlisberger was the winning QB 22 times. He has thrown 37 touchdowns against 18 interceptions. Cleveland is not the team that has had to face off against Big Ben the most, however.

That would be Cincinnati, playing 26 times against No. 7 without much luck—winning just seven times. The Baltimore Ravens would be next behind Cleveland with 19 meetings. That series is tight, however, with Pittsburgh holding a 10-9 edge when Roethlisberger is calling the shots.

There are five teams that Ben Roethlisberger has a losing record against:

New England Patriots: 8 games, 5 losses.

Not just a nemesis to Big Ben but to the Steelers, especially come playoff time. While his passer rating is 95.4 when facing the Pats, Roethlisberger has thrown six interceptions in those eight games. He’s also been sacked 25 times.

Oakland Raiders: 6 games, 4 losses.

Going a little deeper, you find 15 sacks and eight interceptions.

Denver Broncos: 5 games, 3 losses.

In these contests, Big Ben has been roughed up to the tune of 19 sacks and nine picks.

Chicago Bears: 3 games, 2 losses.

The sample sizes are getting smaller and smaller, of course, But, one of the league’s current worst teams has beaten a Roethlisberger-led team twice in three meetings. He holds an identical record against the New Orleans Saints as well.

How about some more numbers?

  • The Baltimore Ravens own the most sacks of Big Ben with 52.
  • Roethlisberger’s worst completion percentage comes when facing the Philadelphia Eagles (56 percent).
  • The best is when playing the Rams (81.8 percent). However, that’s in just the two games played.
  • Who has Ben Roethlisberger thrown the most touchdowns against? The Browns (37). In four games against the Bills and three against this weekend’s opponent—the Minnesota Vikings—Big Ben has just two touchdowns apiece.

What about league play?

  • Facing AFC teams, Ben Roethlisberger has won 93 of 139 games played (67 percent).
  • Against NFC opponents, he’s 32-15 (68 percent).

The Steelers play the the AFC North six times per year, so let’s leave them out.

  • Against the AFC East, Big Ben holds a 15-10 record.
  • His worst mark comes against the NFC South (6-4).

As for the playoffs?

  • Ben Roethlisberger is 2-1 in Super Bowls.
  • He holds a 3-2 record in conference championship games.
  • 5-1 in the divisional round.
  • 3-3 when faced with a wild card game.

Then there’s the type of stadium.

  • When in a domed stadium, Big Ben’s record is 5-3.
  • 116-55 when playing outdoors.

So there you have it. That’s all you need to know statistically about Roethlisberger. The bottom line? Is he a better QB at home than the road or visa versa? My opinion is that it’s been mostly a non-factor. It helps to play at home, of course. But Roethlisberger normally plays well under pressure. Still, munch on these stats and decide for yourself.

A version of this article appeared on Harv Aronson’s website, which you can check out here!

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