Rare Feat A Possibility

Big Ben mania is gripping not only western Pennsylvania but the entire country as various network news outlets have been dropping in to interview the Steelers' quarterback.

Roethlisberger has won nine consecutive starts as a rookie NFL quarterback and set the football world on its ear. He has won NFL rookie of the week honors seven times and looks like a sure bet to capture the NFL Rookie of the Year award. He faces some competition from Detroit WR Roy Williams, Arizona WR Larry Fitzgerald and Tampa Bay WR Michael Clayton, but Big Ben is the clear front runner at this point.

If Roethlisberger wins the Rookie of the Year award he will also accomplish another rare feat. With Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Jason Bay already in the fold as the National League Rookie of the Year it would mark only the eighth time since the NFL started handing out its rookie award in 1955 that the rookie of the year in the two major sports baseball and football have played in the same city in the same season.

The last time this occurred was in 1993 when Jerome Bettis was NFL Rookie of the Year with the Los Angeles Rams and Mike Piazza of the Dodgers won the NL Rookie of the Year award and Tim Salmon of the California Angels won the AL honor. Incidentally that is the only time that three rookie of the year winners have come from the same city in the same year.

Other double rookie award winners who played in the same city are: 1956: Luis Aparicio Chicago White Sox and J.C. Caroline Chicago Bears, 1961: Billy Williams Chicago Cubs and Mike Ditka Chicago Bears, 1962: Ken Hubbs Chicago Cubs and Ron Bull Chicago Bears, 1968: Johnny Bench Cincinnati Reds and Paul Robinson (AFL) Cincinnati Bengals, 1981: Dave Righetti New York Yankees and Lawrence Taylor New York Giants, 1982: Steve Sax Los Angeles Dodgers and Marcus Allen Los Angeles Raiders.

At this point in the season Roethlisberger isn't very concerned about awards.

"That is something that I'm not thinking about right now," Rothlisberger said. "Obviously congratulations to him (Bay) that's a tremendous award for him to win."

Bay was thrilled to be the first Canadian to win the NL Rookie of the Year Award and also realized what it meant to the Pirates franchise and the Pittsburgh fans.

"It's nice to have a whole country behind you obviously and I know there were a lot of people pulling for me," Bay explained. "But it also means a lot for the city of Pittsburgh and the organization. I'm not taking one precedent over the other, but to have that many more people to share it with as far as the first in both I think that makes it a little more special."

Roethlisberger was very aware of Bay's accomplishment.

"I knew all about how good he is and when he got the award," Roethlisberger stated. "Obviously it was a tremendous award anytime you can win something like that."

If you took a vote among Roethisberger's teammates he would win the rookie honor hands down.

Former Rookie of the Year Jerome Bettis knows what Roethlisberger has meant to the Steelers.

"I would have doubted he could do what he's doing," Bettis explained. "If a rookie is going to come in do you think he is going to win nine in a row -‘I'd be like yeah right in what universe,' but he's done that and he's been deadly consistent and he has been leading us."

The awards will come, but for the time being it is business as usual for Roethlisberger.

"It would be neat for the fans, Roethlisberger said. "It's a great honor, but to me winning football games is more important, but it would be a nice honor."

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