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Just The Sports: Ian O'Connor Beats A Dead Horse

Just The Sports

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Ian O'Connor Beats A Dead Horse

And I help him. The headline for O'Connor's article is, "Big Ben lucky he can learn from this," but to that I say, Roethlisberger is even luckier if he doesn't have to read this article.

He wasn't just a football hero, you see. He was a lunchpail guy in a lunchpail town, a big-boned kid who had a big-caloried sandwich named after him.

If someone can actually be a lunchpail guy with a base salary of $655,000, then I guess that, yes, Roethlisberger could be called a lunchpail guy. Just a lunchpail guy who can afford to put filet mignon or lobster in his lunchpail on a regular basis.

Roethlisberger played Terry Bradshaw's position, and played it extremely well.

He also played Kordell Stewart's position, Neil O'Donnell's position, Mike Tomczak's position, and Bubby Brister's position. So what exactly were you going for when you wrote that sentence?

He would be the youngest quarterback ever to win the Super Bowl, and he would make a season-saving tackle against the Colts that only a precious few players in the league would've made.

Hyperbole alert. The NFL is full of elite athletes: fat offensive linemen who are surprisingly nimble on their feet, running backs and wide receivers who can change direction without losing speed, defensive backs who are even faster than the wide receivers, linebackers who are able to shed blockers and then make tackles, and defensive ends who are able to blow by tackles and get to the quarterback in mere seconds. And you want me to believe that Ben Roethlisberger, a quarterback, is one of a precious few players who could have made the tackle on Nick Harper?

Let's say that by precious few, O'Connor meant fifty NFL players could have made that tackle. Watch the tackle for yourself and see if you think Roethlisberger did anything spectacular that only fifty other NFL players could have done.

Some of the credit has to go to the Pittsburgh lineman who got in Nick Harper's way as soon as Harper picked up the fumble and forced him to the inside. The rest of the credit has to go to Harper himself who foolishly cut back inside to where Roethlisberger was waiting for him instead of running along the sidelines.

Why would he ever suspect that he would be propelled into the air by a car driven by a 62-year-old woman, and that he would land head-first into the worst day of his once-charmed life?

The worst day of his life, huh? Worse than, say, this...?

His mother was only 34 when she perished in a car crash while driving to her ex-husband's home to pick up her eight-year-old Ben.

You're right. Losing a couple of teeth and having to go through a seven-hour surgery is probably worse than losing a parent.

Roethisberger's battered sense of invincibility will never fully heal.

If I were Roethlisberger, I would feel even more invincible. It is not every day a person headbutts, sans helmet, a car's windshield and manages to sustain no worse injuries than Roethlisberger suffered.

Roethlisberger would've never lined up against Ray Lewis without wearing a helmet, but the streets of Pittsburgh were supposed to be more forgiving than any given Sunday inside the AFC North.

He wouldn't be allowed to since a player has to keep his helmet on at all times while on the field or incur a 15-yard penalty.

Someday, somehow, Big Ben will be back behind center as a lunchpail hero in a lunchpail town.

Somehow? You can't really be serious. We all know how Roethlisberger is going to be back under center. He will wait until he has healed from surgery, then he will put on his uniform, and stand behind the center.

Don't act like his recovery will involve some sort of voodoo or African witch doctor or shaman. People have come back from far worse than a few broken facial bones to play professional football again.

As an addendum, everyone is harping on Roethlisberger's idiotic decision to not wear a helmet while riding the fastest production motorcycle in the world, and rightly so, but the real question is why the hell a 62-year-old woman is allowed to drive on public streets.


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