Big Ben almost played in the BIg Apple
The 2004 NFL Draft was a big one for the New York Giants because of course they ended up selecting quarterback Philip Rivers with the fourth overall pick and then traded him to the then San Diego Chargers in exchange for quarterback Eli Manning.
The rest is history as Manning led the Giants to two improbable Super Bowl wins in 2007 and 2011.
Former Giants’ general manager Ernie Accorsi was a guest on the “Eye Test for Two” podcast and revealed that they almost drafted Ben Roethlisberger back in 2004.
“I always say this about the draft,” Accorsi said. “My sleepless nights were not because I didn’t have confidence in our personnel people or myself. My sleepless nights were about the things you cannot control. Now, you’re at the fourth position, you’re in pretty good position and we had almost as strong a conviction about Roethlisberger as we did Eli.”
Accorsi says that they were ready to take Roethlisberger when the Chargers called New York to work out a deal for Manning. Of course they wanted Rivers, which is why the Giants drafted him and then sent him to San Diego.
“I still had to worry about Oakland, which ended up picking [Robert] Gallery from Iowa, and Arizona (who selected Larry Fitzgerald),” Accorsi said. “It didn’t look like I was going to make that [Manning deal] because I didn’t make it until seven minutes into my time allotment. But leading up to that point, I was holding my breath on Roethlisberger, and we had written Roethlisberger’s name down on the card — ready to hand it in immediately.
“And that was what I was worried about. That’s the thing about the draft that drives you crazy. Just like I said about Oakland trading over us, the things you can’t control are what keep you up at night.”
Roethlisberger wouldn’t have been a bad pick either. Like Manning he’s won two Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers. I would imagine that if Manning ended up the Chargers his career likely wouldn’t have worked out as well.
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