Big Bad Ben?

It’s just what the world needs:  another opinion on Ben Roethlisberger.  Why not though?  I’m right in the target demographic that loves to have an opinion on this topic.  Sports fan?  Check.  Steelers fan? Check. Blog that nobody reads? Check.  What a perfect confluence!

My thinking is all over the place on the topic of Big Ben, particularly after reading the recent Sports Illustrated article.  The article didn’t change my mind on the legal issues.  Ben has a civil case in Las Vegas related to an incident last off-season and there’s the more recent incident in Georgia which, so far, has yielded no legal proceedings.  It seems like there’s no shortage of extremely judgmental thinking in this area but the facts are quite simple. First,  no criminal charges have resulted from either case.  Second, it’s not illegal to be an asshole. Third, we need morality police like we need another hole in our head.  That’s not the “royal we” either, it’s you and me I’m talking about; we don’t need ‘em and we certainly should not perpetuate the despicable behavior.

So there.  Am I a jaded sports fan? Perhaps. But if we stick to the facts we see two acts of possible assholery.  Does anyone even wonder if there could be an NFL next season if Roger Goodell suspended all the assholes? Not me.

What disturbs me more about Big Ben is the sense of entitlement. When will he learn that a little humility and gratitude go a long way? As a fan, Ben’s attitude worries me. It makes me think that his better days are already behind him, at the age of 28!  He should be entering the prime of his career with every reason to expect multiple Lombardis to come. Don’t hold your breath fellow Steelers fans, not until we see some changes from the man. (It actually feels odd to call someone who behaves like Roethlisberger a man.)

It would be nice if Roethlisberger showed us fans that he understood he’s playing a role in a larger production. He’s part of a team; hell, he’s part of an institution. He played a small role in their Super Bowl XL victory in that he didn’t flat-out lose the game for them and he made a few important plays down the stretch. His role was much larger in Super Bowl XLIII though, his performance absolutely vital to the outcome.  But they wouldn’t have won without a great performance by Troy Polamalu or without the outside linebackers turning up the intensity at the end or without Silverback’s record-setting interception return or without the MVP’s clutch catch. Yes, it was a team victory. It always is.

What do I want to see out of my quarterback? Not much really.  Just the commitment of guys like the following season’s Super Bowl quarterbacks, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning. Brees does nothing short of walk on water in New Orleans. The rest of the the time? He’s beating his coach to work to study and remove any weakness he can find. Manning? When he’s not whoring himself out to yet another commercial sponsor he’s staying late to throw passes to his young receivers to help them improve their game to help him improve his game to help improve the team, even if it sometimes isn’t enough (see SB XLIV).

So what’s the point of this blog entry? Just to say this one thing, “Hey Big Ben, grow the fuck up.”

2 comments for “Big Bad Ben?

  1. May 6, 2010 at 8:53 am

    I will be posting some stuff on the board about this later, but I really don’t know that I can sum it up any better than you did.

    It’s not about creating a morality patrol. It’s about the default team leader learning to grow up and be a better person, in order to be a better team leader and quarterback.

  2. May 6, 2010 at 9:14 am

    Thanks Tom. I felt like too much of the “real journalism” focused on how great it is that Goodell suspended Ben and how the immoral behavior needs to be modified.

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