This year’s AFC Championship Game in the NFL Playoffs will feature two future NFL Hall of Fame quarterbacks as Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers travel to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough to face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. After cruising by the Miami Dolphins at home in the Wild Card round, the Steelers squeaked past the Chiefs in Kansas City to put themselves one game away from Super Bowl 51. With the best record in the AFC — even after Brady sat out the first four games — the Patriots rested during the first week of the post-season before welcoming the Houston Texans to a 34-16 thrashing last week. As both Brady and Roethlisberger begin to eye the end of their illustrious careers, this will be only the second time they’ve come face-to-face in the NFL Playoffs.
Brady vs. Roethlisberger — NFL Playoffs History
Prior to Sunday’s match-up, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger have started a combined 49 times in the NFL Playoffs. Including New England’s 34-15 victory over the Houston Texans last week, Tom Brady’s post-season record is 23-9 (71.8 percent). After the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs over the last two weeks, Ben Roethlisberger’s post-season record is 11-6 (64.7 percent).
From a statistical standpoint, many of their averages are very similar. Ben Roethlisberger has thrown 321 completions out of 522 attempts for a completion percentage of 61.5 percent and 7.8 yards per attempt. Tom Brady has thrown 756 completions out of 1221 attempts for a completion percentage of 61.9 percent and 6.8 yards per attempt. Ben has thrown 22 touchdowns and 19 interceptions in the NFL Playoffs (1.16:1 ratio) with a quarterback rating of 84.6. Tom has a total of 58 post-season touchdowns and 30 interceptions (1.93:1 ratio) and an overall quarterback rating of 87.4.
Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were the first team to deliver a loss to Ben Roethlisberger in the NFL Playoffs. The two teams met in the AFC Championship Game of the 2004 playoffs, and the Pats won 41-27. This will be the first time the two teams have met in the NFL Playoffs since 2004, despite the frequent appearances of both teams in the post-season.
Brady vs. Roethlisberger — 2016 Regular Season
After sitting out the first four games of the season to serve a suspension, Tom Brady led the Patriots to 11 victories in their final 12 games. Having played 14 games this season, the Steelers were 10-4 with Big Ben taking the snaps. Brady had a regular season quarterback rating of 112.2, while Roethlisberger finished with a QB rating of 95.4. Tom threw 291 completions on 432 attempts (67.4 percent) with 28 touchdown passes. Ben threw 328 completions on 509 attempts (64.4 percent) with 29 touchdown passes and a single rushing touchdown.
The one time that the Patriots played the Steelers in the 2016 regular season — Week 7 at Heinz Field — New England won 27-16. In that game, Tom Brady threw for 222 yards and 2 touchdowns with no interceptions. Roethlisberger didn’t play that game. In his place, Landry Jones threw for 281 yards, a touchdown and an interception in the losing effort.
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Where to Watch the NFL Playoffs — AFC Championship Game
CBS will air the AFC Championship Game live on Sunday night, January 22, with kickoff scheduled for 6:40 p.m. EST. The New England Patriots will host the Pittsburgh Steelers, with the winners advancing to Super Bowl 51.
The NFC Championship Game between the Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers will be played earlier the same day. The game will be televised on Fox with kickoff scheduled for 3:05 p.m. EST.
The NFL Pro Bowl is scheduled for Sunday, January 29, (8 p.m. EST on ESPN) and Super Bowl 51 is scheduled for Sunday, February 5, at 6:30 p.m. EST on Fox.
[Featured Image by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images]