Historian Barry Shuck wrote on Saturday about how the New York Giants 2004 draft day trade for Eli Manning unfolded. It just so happens that our friends at the SB Nation flagship are currently doing a “What If?” theme week for NFL sites.
So, a natural segue. What if the Giants had just drafted Ben Roethlisberger at No. 4, which then-GM Ernie Accorsi has said many times is what he was prepared to do, and never made the trade for Manning?
How would history for both teams be different?
Each quarterback has two Super Bowl rings. Would Manning have those if he had stayed with the Chargers? More importantly, would the Giants have two rings if they had chosen Roethlisberger? Would they have more? Less?
Quite honestly, I don’t know what I would have done if I had been in Accorsi’s shoes. My dad absolutely loved Roethlisberger as a college player, and would have been ecstatic to see the Giants select him. At that time, though, I didn’t study players the way I do now so I can’t really give an informed opinion as to which player I preferred at the time.
The one thing I have always wondered about with Roethlisberger is whether or not he could have survived the New York media, considering some of the off-the-field issues he had early in his career. We will, of course, never know.
Obviously, the situation worked out well for both the Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers. But, what if things had happened differently?