Tag Archives: Pittsburgh Steelers

Watching the NFL bail the Steelers out…

The Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger have accepted Big Ben’s suspension and will move forward.  Luckily for them, the NFL has set them up to still be very successful next year and they aren’t afraid to capitalize on Big Ben’s transgressions for which they were so quick to punish him.

By reminded that Roethlisberger’s ban is six games long with the option of being reduced to four with good behavior.  Now let the following just sink in for a second:

The Steelers’ first six games: one 2009 playoff  team (Baltimore), zero games in primetime

The Steelers’ final ten games: six 2009 playoff teams (Cincinnati twice, Baltimore, New Orleans, New England, New York Jets), five games in primetime

Did the NFL expect the sports world to read the above with anything but a puzzled look?

Two things are clear:

1) The league wants to protect the Steelers to allow them to have a fighting chance at making the playoffs.

2) The league wants to capitalize on Big Ben’s return by putting him in primetime.  (By the way, if Roethlisberger’s suspension does go the full six games, the first three games he plays in upon returning are all in primetime).

Unfortunately for the league, the schedule was released a day before the suspension was handed down to Pittsburgh’s quarterback.  That meant that when Roethlisberger’s ban was unveiled, fans immediately looked to see what games he’d miss, when and where he’d return and how the schedule would shake out for the pride of western Pennsylvania.

What they found when looking down the schedule was six winnable games while Ben is on the sidelines.  If he misses all six, his first game back then comes in Week 8 at New Orleans on Sunday Night Football.  Ironically, the game is on Halloween Night.  Hopefully, fans in the Crescent City will come to the Superdome dressed as everyone’s favorite sexual assaulting quarterback.

The more realistic option is that Ben misses four games, meaning his return comes in Week 6 at home when the Browns come to town.  That means Roethlisberger would have two “tune-up” games against Cleveland and Miami before getting into the real teeth of the Steelers’ schedule starting with that big game in New Orleans against the Super Bowl champs.

If one looks deeper, the NFL continued to have the Steelers’ best interests in mind when make the 2010 schedule, seeing as they conveniently gave Pittsburgh their bye in Week 5.  If Big Ben is reinstated after the four games, head coach Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh offense would have two weeks to reacclimate and get themselves straight in practice before they take the field with their starting quarterback in the lineup again.

Surely, these situations can’t all be coincidental, right?  The NFL wouldn’t be trying to protect one of the league’s most prominent franchises?  They aren’t looking out for the Rooney family?  Ask a Bengals fan those questions and see what they say.  Can we honestly say that if this happened to a team with an owner who has been a thorn in the side of the league (say, Jerry Jones), that things would be fair and equal?

(I bet that if Tony Romo were suspended for the first four games of the year that the Cowboys schedule would go Eagles, Giants, Saints, Vikings.)

The most nauseating part of all of this is the way the NFL is capitalizing on something that they have professed as being abhorrent and irresponsible.  To put the Steelers on national television for what could potentially be Roethlisberger’s first three games back and to have  them in primetime for five of the final ten weeks of the year reeks of foul play.

After sitting him down for his discretions, the league is not afraid to capitalize on the publicity and viewership that can be had with Pittsburgh’s high-profile position in the NFL’s primetime lineup.  Surely, Roger Goodell cannot think that Big Ben is the right face to have on the NFL’s product moving forward, at least not until Big Ben stops exposing himself to college students in bathrooms.

But Goodell’s advisers must not have been moved by the commissioner’s suspension and stand against sexual assault.  Or maybe they were just too focused on the financial windfall that could come from Big Ben’s return to the league in primetime, in the home of the Super Bowl champs, on Halloween no less.  Cash is king.

Anyway you look at it, the NFL dropped the ball with this one.  They effectively served their fans a cow pie sandwich, with the Big Ben suspension sandwiched between the schedule release and the NFL Draft.  Now that we have it digested (yummy), the real aftertaste of what the NFL did for the Rooney family and the Pittsburgh Steelers is far more sour than sweet.

Most teams need to pay millions of dollars to get offensive lineman to provide that kind of protection.  The Steelers got a little for free for the 2010-11 NFL season.

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Filed under Athletes' Behavior, Ben Roethlisberger, Football, NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers

Watching Tiger’s new best friend…

“Did you hear the one about Tiger Woods and the cocktail wait-”

“Yes, we’ve heard it.”

“Oh…how about the one where Tiger walks into this bar and-”

“Heard that one, too.”

“Well did you hear the one where Ben Roethlisberger hired a bodyguard and…”

As his friends around the table leaned in and soaked up Randy’s every last word, he made sure to pour extra gusto into the punchline…

“…and then Clarice said, ‘That’s why they don’t sell pants!'”

The crowd went wild and Randy basked in the glow of a joke told right and a fan base inspired.  That night Randy took solace in the fact that Ben Roethlisberger helped prove to himself that he indeed “still had it.”

And somewhere Tiger Woods is smiling, practicing golf and smiling some more.  Why?  Becuase now that Ben Roethlisberger elevated the game of athletes committing sexual misconduct to level five, Tiger is just a golfer again.

Sure, he’ll play in a  tournament next month that will bring some of the talk back, but it won’t be as bad as The Masters, right?  It can’t be.  And then another major will roll around and he’ll face some scrutiny about pressure at a major, but it will be calmer than Augusta.  Before you know it, most people will forget about what he did (besides he only cheated on his wife…a lot).

And who does Tiger have to thank for some of this alleviated pressure?  None other than Big Ben.

Roethlisberger went ahead and trumped good old Tiger by doing everything he could to disgust America’s sports fans by having one single incident in a club bathroom go awry.

Most Americans don’t care that Tiger Woods may have been beaten with his own golf club by his wife, Elin, in front of his house.  Especially when you consider that Big Ben exposed himself to a 20-year-old college student in a club hallway.

Sports fans can ignore the fact that over a dozen women claimed to have “been with” Tiger when they consider that Roethlisberger hired Pennsylvania policemen to guard his tryst with the Georgia college student (one of those police officers has since resigned).

Amateur golfers can find solace in the fact that Woods only had naked pictures taken of him by one of his mistresses to use as  blackmail, while Roethlisberger’s escapades have left Steeler fans with an appetite for dried meat snacks, wondering how they will be able to live without Big Ben’s Beef Jerky, Roethlisberger’s signature line of meaty snacks.

ESPN’s coverage of Tiger Woods has gone from DEFCON 5 to a flatline in the wake of the Roethlisberger scandal.  Surely, Ben should keep checking his mail for a thank you card from Tiger, maybe he will even refer him to his sex rehab facility.

When it comes to sex scandals and athletes, the way out used to be to win a championship (think Kobe Bryant) and make everyone forget.  Now that they are so common, offenders need to just wait for the next one to come up and their own scandal will eventually blow over.  There is only one lesson to be learned from this astute analysis:

When it comes to sexual misconduct, there are no winners…unless you’re Tiger Woods.

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Filed under Athletes' Behavior, Ben Roethlisberger, Football, Golf, NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tiger Woods