Pittsburgh Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger Still Gets Cheers—As Long As He Wins

Mike MuellerContributor IIOctober 18, 2010

Ben Roethlisberger shines in season debut against the Browns
Ben Roethlisberger shines in season debut against the BrownsGregory Shamus/Getty Images

After watching the Steelers game over the weekend, I came to one conclusion—Ben Roethlisberger is the luckiest man on the planet. The guy should seriously start playing the lottery—not that he needs to with that $102 million contract. Big Ben is pretty much untouchable. He’s survived a motorcycle crash, two separate sexual assault allegations and a public image crisis in a town that bleeds black and gold.

It wasn’t that long ago when everyone pretty much hated No. 7 in Pittsburgh. They were taking his jerseys out of stores, ripping his posters off walls and bashing him on national TV when ESPN would roll into town. I guess time heals all wounds, even in Pittsburgh where its franchise quarterback was accused of sexually assaulting a 20-year-old girl back in March.

All of those haters failed to show up Sunday at Heinz Field, and all is apparently forgiven now that Big Ben led the Steelers to a 28-10 win over the Browns.

Maybe it’s the fact that the Steelers are winning. Maybe it’s because the team is currently ranked dead last in the league in passing. Whatever the reason, Big Ben has gone from zero to hero in a heartbeat.

Things worked out perfectly for his season debut, which was delayed four games for violating the league’s personal conduct code. Thanks to the bye week, Roethlisberger had an extra week to prepare for the lowly Browns. The suspension also saved him unnecessary hits that he would have taken against teams like the Falcons and the Ravens. No one has been sacked more times than Big Ben over the last four years (189), and keeping him hit-free through the first six weeks of the season will only benefit the Steelers down the stretch.

Finally, I’m sure Big Ben was the first one to text Brett Favre and thank him for drawing the entire national spotlight away from his return. Grandpa is under fire for allegedly sending some naughty text messages to a New York Jets hostess. Roethlisberger wasn’t the big story line heading into the weekend and was able to comfortably return home to the friendly confines of Heinz Field.

Big Ben was a little rusty in his return. He was 16-27 for 257 yards with three TDs and one interception. Still, it’s good to have No. 7 back under center, especially considering the fact that the Steelers were down to their fourth-string QB.

A run to the Super Bowl is definitely not out of the question for Pittsburgh, and having a guy who’s already won two rings back in the lineup will only make this team better in the end. The Steelers can finally stretch the field with Mike Wallace and Hines Ward, making Rashard Mendenhall and that black-and-gold running game even more potent.

Bottom line, everyone deserves a second chance. We are a forgiving society as long as you own up to your mistakes and say you’re sorry.

Big Ben’s on his third or fourth chance, but it really doesn’t matter, just as long as he keeps winning. That’s why there was only a small group of about 20 people protesting his return before the game. The best way to make people forget the past is by creating a new future, and if the Steelers continue to win with Big Ben, all will be forgotten. It apparently already has considering all the “We Love Ben” signs at Heinz Field.