It was a rough offseason for Big Ben Roethlisberger. Unseemly sexual assault allegations after a little too much partying one night led to a six-game suspension from the NFL (ultimately reduced to four games). Still, he regrouped himself in time to lead the Steelers to a Super Bowl berth.
I understand the DA's decision not to prosecute him. I wasn't there that night in Georgia and don't pretend to know what truly happened. But for better or worse, you need a lot of concrete evidence to generate a sexual assault conviction and it doesn't sound as though there was enough in this case.
That does NOT, however, mean I think Roethlisberger is without blame. Whether he crossed the line into sexual assault or not, I think it's pretty obvious he acted like a boorish asshole that night. I've hated the Steelers for years, but even if I didn't, Roethlisberger makes it pretty easy for one to develop a hatred of the Steelers.
Thus, I'm pretty pleased with myself for yesterday's blog, in which I predicted that "I can see the Packer defense dominating and watching Roesthlisberger wear that douchebag look on his face all evening as he throws two or three untimely interceptions." Indeed, Roethlisberger threw one interception in the first quarter that was run back for a touchdown, and a second in the second quarter that led to a touchdown.
But despite Roethlisberger's asking people to judge him on his actions since his suspension, despite his politeness, addressing former Steelers great QB Terry Bradshaw as "Mr. Bradshaw," I've said all along that the real test of Roethlisberger's resolve will come when he faces adversity. And, with two minutes to play, the Steelers trailed 31-25 against a Green Bay team that, in the 2009 season, Roethlisberger lit up for a Steeler-record 500-plus yards passing, and led his team down the field under almost exact same circumstances (2 minutes left to play, trailing by six) and threw a touchdown pass as time expired.
(An aside: why in the world did the Fox broadcast team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman not mention the parallel circumstances between 2009 and last night, ESPECIALLY since they broadcast that game too. That was a pretty glaring omission by them.)
This time, Roethlisberger led his team to one first down, and then feebly wasted away after a dinky 5-yard pass and three other incompletions. Game over. Packers win the Super Bowl.
It's called karma. I'm sure some of the Packer players are a-holes too. But nobody wants to see a boor win it all. It was refreshing to see Big Ben turn into Small Ben when it mattered most.