In the midst of the Second Impeachment, I had a brief moment of hope.
I read a headline on my phone that said, “Ben Roethlisberger Gives Up Pro Football For Politics.” I tell you what, I was incredibly excited. Big Ben’s going into politics! Finally, he’ll retire and give us a chance at getting a new quarterback. Maybe his retirement can Make The Steelers Great Again! (MTSGA hats, copyright Andrew Bundy). And, yeah, there’s the possibility of him being in politics, which I assume would have some sort of impact, but that’s secondary.
And then I read the article, which is a thing I do instead of just getting my information from headlines. The Hail Mary of my hopes got dropped at the one-yard line.
As it turns out, President Trump’s lawyer Bruce Castor got Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s name wrong. Castor said Ben Roethlisberger was in on that phone call that sounded exactly like you’d expect a mob shakedown to sound. Only, by the way, the second time the previous president had a call that sounded like that, not that it means anything.
And then Steelers Wire’s tongue-in-cheek headline got my hopes up.
I’ve made no secret that I think Big Ben needs to retire. He’s a Hall of Fame quarterback for sure, and I’m a fan, appreciative of what he’s done, but he needs to know when to give it up. At this point, he’s held together by duct tape and painkillers. He’s 38 – my exact age! In the real world, that’s not THAT old. In the football world, it’s ancient. And keep in mind, he’s not Tom Brady. Brady is 43, and you get a roughing the passer penalty if you breathe too close to him. Ben hasn’t had that kind of ref deference. Instead, he spent much of his NFL career behind an offensive line that was as tough as wet paper, dragging two or three defenders behind him as he tries to throw the ball. If they had treated Ben like Brady, he would be fine as our QB for a few more seasons. He wasn’t treated like a priceless vase his whole career.
You may ask, why would I want someone who has made a living throwing a ball and avoiding the crushing attack of a 400-pound linebacker to go into politics? I argue that he is exactly the kind of person I want in politics! I want someone who, when the moment comes, can stand in the pocket, and do what they’re paid to do, to look at the field and do the right thing: not throw a Pick 6.
For example, after the impeachment managers laid out their play, studied the video, ran the Xs and Os, connected the runs and passes, and even pointed out the dangerous potential blitz of allowing a president to try to overthrow democracy, the Senate acquitted Donald Trump 57-43. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) explained his vote to acquit this way, according to an article on CNN: “There’s no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president, and having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories and reckless hyperbole which the defeated president kept shouting into the largest megaphone on planet Earth.”
In plain words: “Donald Trump did the thing that we just said he didn’t.”
Yes, Ben Roethlisberger needs to retire, and since everyone needs something to do with their time, a quarterback sneak into politics might not be the worst thing Big Ben could do. Over the past 17 years of standing in the pocket while it collapses with big linebackers running at him, Roethlisberger has proven he has something that 43 Senators do not.
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