If there’s one thing you can count on in the sports world, it’s an almost surreal hatred for Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
I don’t know if it’s because he’s never been a national spokesman for anything his entire career. I don’t know if it’s because he’s never been propped up as one of the faces of the NFL during his 16-plus seasons. Then again, maybe the reason he’s never been either of those things is because of the unspoken, yet totally palpable, hatred for No. 7.
If there’s a quarterback ranking that someone pieces together and then throws up on social media for mass consumption, you can bet that, much like supporters of a highly-ranked college basketball school from a non-powerhouse conference that gets shafted on Selection Sunday, most Steelers fans will be left asking, “Shouldn’t he have been placed a little higher on the list?”
Actually, come to think of it, in the ranking of “Quarterbacks Who Suffer Season-Ending Injuries And Quit On Their Team By Refusing To Come Back And Play That Same Year,” Big Ben is number one with a bullet.
At least according to Chargers linebacker Thomas Davis, a man who is apparently auditioning for a career as a football analyst and did so by appearing on NFL Total Access over the weekend. During his appearance, Davis contended that Roethlisberger, who suffered a season-ending elbow injury in Week 2 of last year—an injury that placed him on Injured Reserve and required the re-attachment of several tendons—quit on the Steelers.
Yes, that’s right, according to Davis, Roethlisberger could have made it back to play before the end of the 2019 season but didn’t want to because of the lack of offensive firepower that he was accustomed to.
That’s some next-level hatred right there. Actually, that’s some far-fetched conspiracy theory stuff. That’s like the kind of weird propaganda you’d read on one of those far-leaning sites (pick whatever side you hate) that is totally devoid of fact and logic.
Better yet, that’s like some crazy yinzer stuff (use the term for what you call a yinzer in your neck of the woods) you often hear from those “Man on the street” eyewitnesses reporters are always in a hurry to interview whenever something happens.
“Yeah, I seen the fire. And I started hollerin’ ‘It’s a fire! It’s a fire!’ Then my wife come out with the hose and she started sprayin’. Next thing I seen, I seen a Yeti come out of nowhere and steal the hose right out of my wife’s hands and just took off with it into the woods. I couldn’t believe it.”
I don’t know what it is about Ben's detractors, but they sure do turn into crazies when his name comes up.
Last offseason, when all the Antonio Brown drama finally hit the fan, so many of the national pundits were asking questions along the lines of, “What did Roethlisberger do to AB to make him act that way and burn every bridge on his way out of Pittsburgh?”
Even AB got in on the action (maybe he was unofficially auditioning for a future in television). That’s right, in addition to many other damning salvos fired at his old quarterback in 2019, Brown “liked” multiple Tweets that brought up the sexual assault allegations that were levied against Roethlisberger many years prior.
Brown even had a problem with never being invited to Roethlisberger’s home (no mention if he ever invited Big Ben to his).
Last spring, Joshua Harris, a running back who wasn’t even with the Steelers long enough to pour himself a cup of coffee, accused Roethlisberger of fumbling on purpose near the end of a game against the Bengals in Week 17 of the 2014 regular season because he didn’t like the call sent in by then offensive coordinator Todd Haley.
Of course, Davis, with his implication that Roethlisberger had super-human healing powers that he chose not to use, takes the cake.
The scary part is, it’s only February; we have almost six months to go before the start of training camp. What is Roethlisberger going to be accused of between now and then?
Stay tuned. Whatever it is, I’m sure it will be devoid of fact and logic.