The Green Bay Packers ruined Ben Roethlisberger's redemption story.
With less than two minutes left in Super Bowl XLV, the stage was set for another dramatic postseason fourth quarter comeback. Just 87 yards and a battered Green Bay defense stood in the way of Roethlisberger being born again. From being baptized and all past sins forgiven.
A touchdown on final drive on the world's biggest stage with the world title at stake not only would put Roethlisberger alongside Tom Brady, Joe Montana and John Elway, but it would place him on the same plateau as Mark, Matthew, Luke and John.
However, four consecutive incomplete passes turned Roethlisberger into a fallen angel.
At the end of the day, that is the way the fairy tale should have ended.
In the days leading up to Super Bowl XLV, much had been written and said about the Pittsburgh Steelers' quarterback being a changed man. A man who had been reformed after multiple unsightly off-the-field incidents the last few years.
There was a belief that Big Ben leading his team to a franchise record seventh Super Bowl championship would erase all the transgressions, poor decisions and controversy for a franchise that has been the standard of excellence since entering the NFL.
To many, winning would be the ultimate dark cloud remover. As it turns out, it wasn't. He never got the chance. Good.
Winning won't take away the memory of Roethlisberger nearly ending his career and life after being involved in a motorcycle accident. Winning wouldn't take away three allegations of sexual assault.
Being a poor person shouldn't be rewarded with a championship. Sure, that accomplishment might cement your legacy as a great football player or even place you closer to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
But not for being reckless.
Three years later Michael Vick, who was arrested and sent to prison for dog fighting, still has not completely returned back to the good graces of the public.
Not even after taking full responsibility for throwing away a $130 million contract from the Atlanta Falcons each time he's been in front of a camera. Not even after speaking out against animal abuse. Not even after warning youth about the dangers of irresponsible decision making.
The jury is still out on Michael Vick. But the verdict has already been rendered for Roethlisberger being reformed even though he hasn't done half of the things Vick has to repair his reputation. Go figure.
It's not hard to see it that way when ESPN has Merrill Hodge, former Steeler and Roethlisberger's friend, throw softball questions at him during a one-on-one interview.
FOX took a page out of that playbook prior to the Super Bowl by having another former Steeler, Terry Bradshaw, interview Roethlisberger. However, that session appeared to mimic the relationship between Tiny and T.I.
Redemption does not come in the form of winning football games or rattling off prepared statements during press conferences. It is a result of a genuine lifestyle change over a significant period of time. Respecting yourself as well as others. It is not earned over a 16-game season or because a couple of columnists or TV analysts with an agenda say so.
I guess throwing two interceptions in defeat means Roethlisberger now is the immature, self-centered wild man he was at the time of his six game suspension prior to the start of the regular season, right?
The feel good story everyone wanted to tell at the conclusion of Super Bowl XLV about the embattled quarterback turning his life around was for not.
And that is a just ending.