Since being accused of raping a woman in a Georgia nightclub last month, Big Ben’s world has started to crumble.
This is Roethlisberger’s second rape allegation in nine months. In July 2009, Roethlisberger was accused of raping a woman in a Lake Tahoe casino in June 2008.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is pissed. Steelers owner Art Rooney is pissed. Pittsburgh Steelers fans are pissed.
Super Bowl rings don’t matter when your ethics, behavior, and reputation are tarnished.
There is a lot of speculation as to what Commissioner Goodell will do. Goodell has the reputation for running a tight ship, and with this being Roethlisberger’s second offense, Goodell will likely come down hard.
He suspended quarterback Michael Vick and cornerback Adam Jones (both black athletes—you can figure out why some people would get upset if Roethlisberger gets off easy) for an entire NFL season after their legal trouble.
Art Rooney says that he will work with Goodell to find a fitting punishment, likely a suspension and a fine, for Roethlisberger’s conduct.
Recently, Rooney gave the okay to trade troubled Super Bowl MVP WR Santonio Holmes, accused of hitting a woman in a bar, to the New York Jets.
Holmes is suspended for the beginning of the 2010 NFL season.
If Rooney wants to continue to build a reputation as a morally-strong franchise, he should trade Roethlisberger, just like he traded Holmes.
And there may be one NFL franchise crazy enough to take on Roethlisberger.
The Dallas Cowboys have become known for taking on players notorious for making trouble in the locker room or for their legal troubles: Terrell Owens, Tank Johnson, Mike Vanderjagt, and Adam Jones.
When the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Ben Roethlisberger with the 11th pick in the 2004 NFL Draft, he became one of six quarterbacks to be selected 11th overall in the draft, joining Billy Kilmer (1961), Greg Landry (1968), Jerry Tagge (1972), Daunte Culpepper (1999), and Jay Cutler (2006).
When Andre Summersell was drafted by the Oakland Raiders with the last pick in the draft, it left Tony Romo in the company of Kurt Warner, Warren Moon, Jeff Garcia, Dave Krieg, and Jim Zorn of undrafted quarterbacks trying to make a name for themselves in the NFL.
Roethlisberger, replacing the injured Tommy Maddox in the second week of the 2004 NFL season, won a rookie-record 13 consecutive starts, leading the 15-1 Pittsburgh Steelers to the AFC Championship game. Among Roethlisberger’s key victories was a victory against the New England Patriots, snapping their 21-game winning streak.
The Patriots would beat the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game.
Tony Romo, after signing with the Dallas Cowboys, sat on the bench the entire season behind Vinny Testeverde and Drew Henson.
By the end of the 2005 season, Roethlisberger was the Offensive Rookie of the Year, set an NFL record for most wins to start a career (15), became the youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl (XL), became the first quarterback to start two AFC Championship games in his first two NFL seasons, set records for highest passer rating (98.1) and completions percentage (66.4 percent) for a rookie, and also set an NFL record for lowest QB rating for a winning Super Bowl quarterback (22.1)
Romo was still sitting on the bench.
Entering the 2006 season, Roethlisberger had a 22-3 record as a starter, completing 65% of his passes for 5,006 yards and 34 touchdowns.
Romo almost matched those numbers in 2007 alone.
Romo became the Cowboys starting quarterback in 2006, taking over for Drew Bledsoe in Week Seven.
Although he started only ten games in 2006, Romo’s individual numbers were better than Roethlisberger’s in his previous two seasons. Romo threw for 2,903 yards and 19 touchdowns, whereas Roethlisberger averaged 2,503 yards and 17 touchdowns his first two seasons. Romo was elected to the 2006 Pro Bowl Team.
Both quarterbacks had breakout seasons in 2007. Roethlisberger threw for 3,154 yards and a career high 32 touchdowns. Romo threw for 4,211 yards and a career high 36 touchdowns. Roethlisberger was elected to his first Pro Bowl, and Romo was voted to his second.
Both quarterbacks have almost identical numbers, except for one important statistic.
Romo has one playoff win. Roethlisberger has eight, including two Super Bowl championships.
Although you can’t credit every playoff win to Roethlisberger (he had one of the best defenses in the NFL), you can credit him for keeping his teams in games, including throwing the winning touchdown in Super Bowl XLV with 35 seconds left.
The only wins that matter to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones are playoff victories, and he will stop at nothing or bring anybody in that will help him achieve his goal.
Romo hasn’t had any off-the-field issues either, unless you count his love life. Besides his two sexual assault allegations, Roethlisberger made headlines in 2005 when he crashed his motorcycle without wearing a helmet. Big Ben lost two teeth, had a nine-inch gash on the back of his head, and according to paramedics, was minutes away from dying due to a ruptured blood vessel in his mouth.
To put it simply, Tony Romo dated Jessica Simpson. Ben Roethlisberger prowls bars and nightclubs.
But let’s go easy on the guy. At least he didn’t kill puppies.