April 14, 2010
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My grandfather used to tell me, "The bigger they are the harder they fall."
Back then, he was talking about the physical end of the games that I played and my willingness to lower the shoulder and hit someone harder. But had he lived to see the year 2010, he could have been talking about sports stars impaling themselves on their own stupidity.
If Grandpa was right, then Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger has fallen from lunar orbit to the depths of hell in less than a month.
I don't normally listen to many radio talk shows. I just can't stand the sound of people screaming, ranting, and raving about a subject they know nothing about. (That happens on both ends of the conversation, by the way.)
But while driving around on Tuesday, I found myself listening to a handful of people doing just that on sports talk shows. It made me want to vomit.
The Steeler Nation is having a nervous breakdown of epic proportions right now over Roethlisberger's transgressions, and I fear that the damage is permanent on multiple levels.
Caller after caller after caller fairly screamed about hating Roethlisberger, being angry with the Rooneys for "not doing something right now" about the situation, and even warning that there were racial overtones to his treatment when compared to that of now former Steeler Santonio Holmes. As each hour passed, the rhetoric got more heated and the logic diminished.
Here's a warning to Steeler Nation: If you don't sit down and relax for a minute, this is going to boil over into some real trouble for you and for the team that you supposedly love.
Despite the mad thoughts swirling about in your brains, the situation is under control. The Rooneys and Roger Goodell have spoken at length about the situation and have largely agreed upon a course of action. Roethlisberger will still be a Steeler this season, but Dennis Dixon is going to be your opening day starting QB.
Yes, the Rooneys are angry about what Ben has done and they have told him so repeatedly. His contract is going to be reworked, he's going to be fined, and he's going to be told in no uncertain terms that the next time he so much as gets a traffic ticket they are going to trade him to the Oakland Raiders. He's about to hear that from Dan Rooney himself, just to make sure that the point is firmly made.
The Steelers are not going to trade Ben and take Sam Bradford or Tim Tebow with the first pick in this month's draft. First, nobody knows what Ben is really worth on the open market because nobody has traded a franchise QB in the prime of his career during the salary cap era.
Secondly, there is nobody in this draft that comes close to his potential. Bradford played in a conference where nobody could play defense, and Tebow isn't an NFL QB.
The Rooneys are businessmen who are in the business of running a successful NFL franchise. Successful NFL franchises don't throw away franchise QBs because they don't come along every day. There are exactly three of them in the game right now, and they own one of them. Yeah, they're mad, but they're not stupid.
Oh, and that business about what Terry Bradshaw said yesterday? Oh was that rich.
Terry always had a knack of saying what people wanted to hear. Yeah, he and Ben don't get along and never did; he got that part of it right.
But the part about not going out in Pittsburgh because he was afraid of what might happen? HA!!!
Want to know the real reason Terry didn't go out in Pittsburgh? It was because he HATED Pittsburgh. Yeah, HATED. It's taken him a decade of therapy to come to grips with that hatred.
Therapy is seemingly where Steeler Nation needs to head right now as well. You are going to have to get this out of your system and get on with it. Training camp is coming in July, and you have until then to get your heads on straight and deal with the reality of the situation and not the fantasy land in which you're presently living.
All of this will be OK, trust me. More sane people than most of you are in charge.
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