I disagree. It only took two Super Bowl wins, but the broadcasters that be are now giving Ben the credit he deserves. They're not just saying he's a winner or manager, but that he's accurate and has other qualities needed to excel as a QB in the NFL.
Thing is, while some media folks have elevated Ben to ~3rd best post-XLIII, many still have not. And it's not even like they're putting Brees above him: you still hear Rivers, Cutler, even Eli... to say nothing of Tony Romo. While I agree that Peyton and Brady have ben extraordinarily efficient in their systems, and probably two of the smartest QBs of the past few decades, only Peyton has been consistently at the top his entire career. Early on, Brady's stats just weren't all that impressive; his decision-making and intangibles were, but not the overall numbers, which were mid-pack. Then came the boon years. And now, post-injury, he looks as pedestrian as I've ever seen him.
I agree with both of these. Ben is getting more credit this year than he ever has, and I've heard more man-love for him from more commentators than ever before.
At the same time, it still comes with those "qualifiers." Ben is at the top of that "Second Tier" of great QBs. Brady and Manning are the top two, then Ben. Now it's Brady, Manning, Brees, then Ben. And here is my issue with that:
1. What in the hell has Drew Brees ever won? He's been in the league longer than Ben, he's played with great talent around him, and I'm pretty sure that he's only won one playoff game in his career. He's a great QB, but no way I'd take him over Ben. In fantasy league, you take Brees. In real time, you take Ben.
2. What are Tom Brady's career stats? Yes, he had that unreal year in 2007, with perhaps the greatest assembly of talent since the '98 Vikings or the '99 Rams. But that team got worse as the season went on, after they realized that no one cared if they were "disrespected" because of Patriot-gate. Brady's had several years where he was not that statistically great. "Oh, but he's just a winner." And Ben isn't?
3. What is Peyton Place's playoff record? Is it even close to Ben? I doubt it.
We also still have to hear how Ben "has that great defense." Uh, hello...do we have any players going both ways? The D may keep us in the game, but Ben wins it. And when the D let us down in XLIII, Superman put on the cape and made it happen.
The way I look at it is how would the other guy do in your system, i.e., Ben in NE or Indy, and those guys in Pittsburgh. Ben loves to stand in there and make a play out of nothing, and with the pass protection he would have in those places, he'd have been able to do that. Maybe not quite put up Manning numbers, but now he's showing what he can do with time. Brady and Peyton, on the other hand, would struggle in the Steelers system. Partly because of fewer passing attempts, but mostly because they don't do well with pressure, moving out of the pocket, etc. Ben made his living doing that.
I honestly see Ben as the most complete QB out there. Running offense, passing offense, good pass protection, scrambling/avoiding sacks, improvising on the run, making something out of nothing, deliberate offense, two minute drill - you name it, he's done it. And when all else fails, just taking the game and saying "we're winning this sonofabitch." No matter what the situation is, he's going to succeed.
And as he often quietly does, msdmnr puts it all together. If I could choose any quarterback in the NFL right now, it would be Ben. Top to bottom, any situation, he can deliver. Can Brady deliver when he's getting pressure? No--see SB XLII. Can Manning? No--see 2005 playoffs. Can Brees even win a playoff game? Well, we'll have to see if his team can actually get there.
Michael Wilbon, as one of the few guys who has stayed on the Ben Bandwagon for a while, put it best last season: "Eli Manning might miss Plaxico Burress, but Ben Roethlisberger doesn't."