Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Super Bowl XLV: The Big Ben Theory

Drew Litton/Rocky Mountain News
We are officially three days into Super Bowl week and somehow I knew that all the talk and media coverage was NOT going to only be about football. I just knew that Big Ben Roethlisberger's past issues were going to come up and come up big time.

And why?

Because we are a society that loves drama. The media loves drama, the fans love drama, everybody loves drama. For the media, drama sells newspapers, it sells magazines and it gets eyeballs glued to the t.v. sets. Sports Illustrated is all over the Big Ben beef this week. The media has taken a comment made by Commissioner Roger Goodell to SI about Big Ben's teammates not having his back and run with it. And now the Steelers players have to answer all these annoying questions about an issue that happened last summer.

I'm not going to get into Big Ben's prior troubles because I think by now everyone knows what went down last offseason which led to his 4-game suspension to start the season.

But my point is, why not just let it rest? He paid his debt. He was never charged with any wrong doing. So why keep beating a dead horse? Why not just talk football? At last check, it's a football game the Steelers and Packers are playing on Sunday. Remember?

Anyway, the Sports Illustrated drama piece reads like this: Chasten The Dream {A humbled Ben Roethlisberger returned from his suspension intent on proving he'd changed. He could win his third ring on Sunday in Dallas, but winning back the fans remains a work in progress}. Oh brother! Hand me a Kleenex so I can wipe my tears. The article also features a picture of a nostalgic Big Ben staring at the heavens with what looks like the Milky Way galaxy in the background. Another Kleenex, please.

Like I said, drama, drama, drama. Even if the Steelers had not made it to the Super Bowl the media would've still figured out a way to inject drama into Super Bowl week. Can you imagine what Super Bowl week would've been like if it were the New York Football Jets (with all their excess baggage) playing instead. And just imagine if it had been Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles instead. What a soap opera that would've been! Heck, even if the Atlanta Falcons had made it, the Mike Vick beef would've found it's way into the headlines of Super Bowl week.

Sean Delonas/NY Post - The Jets lose the AFC Championship Game
 Let's not stop here.

If the Chicago Bears would've pulled off a dramatic comeback and win the NFC Championship Game and would've been here instead of the Packers, all the "Jay Cutler Quit On His Team" drama would've taken center stage. And what if the Seattle Seahawks or the New Orleans Saints would've made it? Somehow I get the feeling the Pete Carroll-Reggie Bush-USC beef would've hovered over Super Bowl week. Or maybe Kim Kardashian's name would've came up once or twice.

Drew Litton/Rocky Mountain News

I just finished reading an article which said that Big Ben and former Steelers-great Terry Bradshaw broke bread together and are now chums after Bradshaw disowned him for being a bad boy. Nice. But what does that have to do with the game itself. Oh I know-- it's good drama.

In the end, let's sum up Big Ben. He likes motorcycles. He has a weakness for booze and the ladies. Hmmm? Should he have been more responsible? Of course. But what are we gonna do? Stuff happens. He's taken responsibility for his actions and claims to be a changed man. So why not move on from all that and talk football instead? Besides, at last check, he's a football player who gets hit (and gets hit hard) for a living in a dangerous and (somewhat) brutal sport. It's not like he's the pastor of a nearby neighborhood church. If that were the case, I can see why his lifestyle would be an issue.

Big Ben is a rough and tough dude and only rough and tough dudes make it in the NFL. I think Commissioner Goodell wants to portray them as alter boys, which ain't gonna work. At the end of the day, rough dudes have rough lifestyles.

But in a drama-driven society, even the lives of our toughest and most-rugged men are turned into soap operas. Did I hear, forget all that (bs) and let's play football.

No comments:

Post a Comment