(Todd Haley photos courtesy of Pittsburgh Steelers/Karl Roser)
Talk of Fame Network
Todd Haley was the offensive coordinator in Dallas when Tony Romo took over as the Cowboys’ quarterback. He was the offensive coordinator in Arizona when Kurt Warner led the Cardinals to the Super Bowl. And now he’s the offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh, where Ben Roethlisberger is setting franchise records and the Steelers are winning a bunch of games.
So Todd Haley knows good … and great … quarterbacks, and what he knows about Roethlisberger is that he makes his job a whole lot easier.
Of course, that’s when Big Ben is healthy, which he is not right now. But that only makes Haley realize how “special” his quarterback is, which he was more than happy to discuss on the latest broadcast of the Talk of Fame Network.
“(Having a good quarterback) is the key to being truly successful and having a chance to play in that big game, the Super Bowl,” said Haley, who was the head coach in Kansas City in 2010 when the Chiefs won the division. “In Kansas City, I’m very, very proud of being able to win 10 games in that division. No disrespect, but Matt Cassel … not generally thought of as a franchise guy … (and) we were able to win 10 games and they hadn’t won many games.
“When you have one, it’s something special, and Ben is something special. I really think when he’s healthy and he has the guys around him he’s as good as anybody I’ve ever seen. I was with the Jets when Vinny Testaverde played at a high, high level in 1998, (with 29) touchdowns, (seven) interceptions, and we played in the championship game. Kurt Warner … one of the best there is. But this guy is just special, and he’s really evolved as a quarterback.
“He takes great pride in that. He’s always been known for being able to extend the play and make those ‘Ben-like plays.’ But I think he takes great pride now in being a dropback passer who gets back, gets the ball out and make great decisions. As good a thrower as I’ve ever seen. Strong arm but phenomenal touch and feel, and when things break down he’s able to make those ‘Ben plays’ that separate him from everybody.”
Roethlisberger is not up for the Hall of Fame. Not yet, he’s not. But Warner is. His candidacy is in his third year, and the smart money is on him making it to Canton as a member of the Class of 2017. Haley believes that is only right.
“Is he a Hall of Famer?” he was asked.
“I don’t think there’s any question in my mind,” he said. “It’s about winning Super Bowls. He’s gone to Super Bowls with different teams (the Rams and Cards), played in different systems with different players around him. And he’s played his best in the biggest games.
“His career started late through no fault of his own. When he got the opportunity he turned the franchise around in St. Louis and did things that have never been done and may never been matched. But the bottom line to me is he won Super Bowls, and he played his best games (and) put up numbers that nobody can touch.”