Big Lead Sports Bar

8/02/2007

ESPN.com to Big Ben: You Suck

If I'm ever a Super Bowl-winning quarterback, I hope I never have two near-death experiences in the same offseason. Because I've seen what it's done to the perception of Ben Roethlisberger, and it's simply unreal.

On June 18, I wrote waaaay too many words about Peter King's slap in the face to the Steelers QB in his "2007 Quarterback Rankings". He ranked Roethlisberger as the 17th-best QB in the NFL in 2007, behind such luminaries as Jon Kitna and Jay Cutler. Worst of all, he said his rankings took winning into consideration. Only three QBs in the league have won more playoff games than the 25-year-old Roethlisberger: Favre, Manning, and Brady. In the regular season, Roethlisberger was 14-0 as a rookie starter in 2004, and 9-3 in 2005. And two of those three losses were to Manning and Brady (the third was to Baltimore). It was a ridiculous argument.
The latest Roethlisberger diss comes from ESPN.com, in an article entitled, "Cantonized". It's a list of 50 players the WWL believes will be enshrined in Canton someday. Three Steelers made the cut, including #23, Alan Faneca; 31, Troy Polamalu; and 43, Hines Ward. Other than "the big three" QBs I mentioned above (Manning, Brady, Favre), other quarterback they believe will have a bust someday included Carson Palmer (38), Vince Young (39), and Matt Leinart (41). The list even had rookies who've never played a down in the NFL, such as Calvin Johnson (40) and Adrian Peterson (50).
Who was left off? I'm sure you know by now. And to safeguard themselves from columns exactly like this one, they had a response ready for why they left Ben off their list:
At first glance, it might seem preposterous to slam the Hall door in Big Ben's face so soon. But upon closer inspection, it makes sense. Roethlisberger proved to be an effective game manager in his first two pro seasons, and he has a Super Bowl ring to show for it. But his Super Bowl performance (9-for-21 with two picks) was dreadful, and then he regressed in 2006. Now the Steelers are losing personnel from their championship team, and nothing to this point suggests that Roethlisberger can carry an undermanned team on his shoulders to playoff success.
Notice something missing in this paragraph? How about "near fatal motorcycle accident", "appendicitis", and "serious concussion"? Or how about no mention whatsoever for Roethlisberger playing his best football in the 2005-06 playoffs? No, we'll just casually sweep that under the rug.
They categorize Ben as a "game manager", a backhanded compliment for a crap quarterback that can't help his team win games. While Roethlisberger did not have a great Super Bowl, he downed the aforementioned teams of Palmer AND Manning on their turf in the 2005-06 playoffs, in addition to beating a tough Denver team on the road. And he was a difference-maker.
ESPN would rather put their stock in Carson Palmer, a guy who's led his team to one winning season and two 8-8 seasons; Matt Leinart, who plays for the NFL version of the Pirates (perennially rebuilding...I know, THIS is the year!); and Vince Young, a running QB who could be the next Steve McNair...or the newest model of Kordell/Vick.
If that's not bad enough, they have Roethlisberger lumped in players who've accomplished nothing in the NFL on their list of players who missed their cut: Eli Manning, Tony Romo, Brady Quinn, Tony Romo, Jamarcus Russell, Vick, Mario Williams, etc.
This article isn't so much about what Peter King thinks or what ESPN.com thinks about Ben, because everyone's entitled to an opinion. This is more about how the country collectively seems to be so down on Roethlisberger. I can only hope that Ben reads or somehow hears about all the doubt lingering in the media. I feel like I've gone out on a limb in the offseason, because I seem to be in the minority of those who still believe in him. But somehow I don't think I'm crazy. When you consider what happened to him last year, I just can't imagine Palmer, Leinart, or anyone else having a great season after that. I simply feel that Ben gets zero respect for his accomplishments pre-accident. They're like ancient history. It's time to give Ben Roethlisberger some credit for what he's done in his short career. Tony Romo and Vince Young can only dream of such a level of success.

23 comments:

Cotter said...

Really this just means ESPN sucks...it's too bad what began as a really good idea has morphed into a front-running fluff network.

Good news is Big Ben is #1 in my book...wait, is that good news?

William said...

Did Big Ben really down Palmer? It seems more like von Oelhoffen that downed him, then the steelers beat the Kitna-led Bengals

Stoosh said...

They contridict their own rationale in this so poorly, it's not even funny. More proof of the joke ESPN has become. If this is really what they say it is - namely, their predictions on the 50 active players who will actually receive a jacket and a bronze bust - we need to start renaming that place in Canton as the "Hall of Pretty Good".

They legitimize Freeney's inclusion by pointing to a Super Bowl win, a hefty contract and three Pro Bowl selections, yet they ignore his declining tackle numbers AND sack numbers over the last three years (and if I told you Freeney averages 2 tackles and 0.7 sacks a game for his career, would you still think him a HOF'er?). And I'm sorry...the day we use a player's contract to legitimize his spot among the game's greats is the day we start working on bronze busts for Brian Bosworth, Eric Steinbach and Derrick Dockery. They were once among the highest-paid players at their positions as well.

In the same vein, they devalue Ben's Super Bowl win, overall track record as a starter and seem to overemphasize his poor Super Bowl performance. No mention made of the FACT that he also completed 68% of his passes for 680 yards, 7 TDs and one interception in the three ROAD playoff games before Super Bowl XL. Ridiculous.

Palmer and Leinart have the numbers and play in offenses conducive to producing big QB numbers. We'll talk HOF when they start winning some meaningful games, too.

Vince Young has a ways to go before he's even mentioned in the same breath as Randall Cunningham, let alone Steve Young...you know, running QB's who could actually play. And I don't see anyone from ESPN arguing for Cunningham's enshrinement. Again, inclusions like this in light of the reasons they left Roethlisberger out just reek of contradiction.

Larry Johnson? At the rate he's probably going to break down, you can't include him without also enshrining Terrell Davis. Or Jamal Anderson, for that matter. Johnson will probably break down in much the same manner that they did.

Boldin on the bubble? I'm not even sure he's the best receiver on his team. And if he's in, why is there no mention of Larry Fitz? Or Reggie Wayne?

What a joke.

TJ said...

Its just preposterous to me how you can put players that haven't even played yet in front of those who have already delivered the goods. It's no secret that I'm dyed-in-the-wool Browns fan and even I spat coffee all over my monitor when I read that Ben shouldn't make it.

How this list is not half as long is beyond me; how guys like Calvin Johnson are in the top 40 just makes it absolutely ridiculous. I think the writers of this article forgot that this isn't the Pro Bowl voting; you actually have to have an absolutely STELLAR career to make it to the HOF. Hype alone doesn't get you in.

But again, it's ESPN - the only time that stats matter to them is if there's an arguement for/against the Yankees, Red Sox, Belichick/Brady/New England, etc. Other than that, it's all about "Who's Now". I seriously wonder how these empty suits look at themselves in the morning and feel good about themselves. They must be soulless.

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

Quick fact check here: Tommy Maddox started the game we lost to Baltimore in 2005, not Ben.

The third loss was against the Bungles (not sure if someone mentioned that).

But yeah, ESPN does suck balls.

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

Oh yeah, and also... didn't Leinart kind of suck in his rookie season? But he suuuure does give ESPN a lot of good segments to run during Sportcenter!

Also, about the perception of Ben this far.

Do I think that Ben deserved all of the credit he got after his phenominal rookie season? Probably not, he did play for a good team.

But by the same token, he probably doesn't deserve all the shit he's getting right now.

The real Big Ben is somewhere between the "football prodigy" (ESPN's own words back then) that had the amazing rookie season, and the bum he apparently is now.

GMoney said...

I played against Ben in high school and was at Miami when he was there. Even though I am a die-hard Skins fan, I freaking love the guy. Why people beat him down is beyond me.

They guy did in 2 years what Dan Marino never did and Dan had better teams. Let the guy play, he'll prove the critics wrong.

Percey Fever said...

Only one quarterback led the league in interceptions last year. That's right, Big Ben. But because he's a coveted Pittsburgh Steeler, he can't do no wrong. The motorcycle accident messed up his jaw, not his throwing arm. Your appendix is not in your arm. And Steve Young had more concussions than Ben had touchdowns last year, and he never led the league in interceptions. I agree with the article's perception of Big Ben. He needs to prove to people he's not just a two-year wonder. (like Kordell, Tommy Maddox)
Steeler fans will always find somethin new to cry about.

tecmo_bowl_bo_jackson said...

Hey Percey, doesn't multiple surgeries affect your weight? And preparation time? And reaction ability? Just cause he didnt injure his arm doesnt mean other shit wasnt affected. I want to see you get into a motorcycle accident, have an emergency appendectomy (sp?) or get blindsided by Bart Scott. Pick one, rather than all three in rapid succecssion.

tecmo_bowl_bo_jackson said...

...and then try to lead a productive NFL team (sorry, hit post too soon). Carson Palmer got hit in the knee, not arm, and led the Bungles to an 8-8 record. But he's going to Canton.

Roy Hobbs said...

Adventure, excitement. Recognition from the fucktards at ESPN. A Jedi craves not these things.

Sky Davis said...

I agree with Percey, I'm no doctor, but all three of those injuries were unrelated to his arm, and some of the lame ducks he threw up there last year were horrible. I dont care if you can't see straight, or your tummy hurts, some of those passes were just unexcuseable. He's not always gonna have that running game to bail him out, especially once faneca leaves and willie is shit out of luck.
I don't see him in canton, and to be fair, nor do i see Carson Palmer, Vince Young, or Matt Leinart. The only current qb's going to canton are Brady, Manning, and Favre.

Dirty Sanchez said...

This isn't a discussion over whether Ben is a good QB, it's whether he's HOF caliber. At this point, considering that most Steeler fans hold their breath when Ben drops back on 3rd and long (let's be honest folks), I'd say no. I still think he's closer to what we saw in the first two seasons rather than last year, and let's not forget that it's only his 4th year in the league.

I just want to see him get his confidence back and get comfortable in the new offense. I have big hopes for Ben this year; he sounds VERY happy about the coaching changes and the trust that is being placed in him.

Don't get me wrong, the ESPN article is complete horseshit on the level of "Who's Now". Vince Young, Matt Leinart and Carson Palmer? Please.

Cecil from Cecil Twp. said...

Percey Sledge:

You're wrong. This Steeler fan has nothing to cry about. Walking out of Ford Field after the Steelers won their FIFTH SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONSHIP (5 is more than 4 and less than 6 for you Penn State grads), my brother and I agreed that we would not complain about anything Steeler-related for at least 3 seasons.

Now go back to your Cleveland Browns message board and talk about Brady Quinn's boyish good looks.

hollywood wags said...

I'm trying to think of a good player on the Browns and a not-over-rated player on the Bungholes.

Nope, can't do it...

Fuck the media, they hate Da Burgh, always have.

was watching the 95 playoff game against the Colts, the asshole Simms and fuckwad Macguire went on and about how the Steelers had no way to counteract the powerful Colts offense and defense.

they've always pulled this shit.

It's not like the Steelers suck like the Browns do or have morons and disappearing-in-big-games loudmouths like the Bungholes.

Dennis said...

I'm not going to take any article seriously when they say guys will be in the HOF who haven't even played an NFL snap.

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

Wait wait wha wha wha whaaaaaat?

We have trolls now on Mondesis House?!

It's true!

(BTW, having your head banged to shit most certainly can affect how you play. It can be argued that a QB's head is just as important as his arm. I'm not making up excuses for the guy, because whether he'll be good again or not remains to be seen and isn't up to me. I'm just giving him a fair shake... but just this once.)

Dennis said...

BTW, I won't argue that there are a TON of Steelers fans who see everything through black and gold glasses and would defend a Steeler even if he was holding a bloody knife over a dead body...but I don't think this is one of those times.

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

I'm not just blindly defending the guy because he's a Steeler.

I mean c'mon, if you almost die due to massive head trauma, arm injury or not, it's gotta make playing football harder.

But that excuse won't cut it if he stinks up the place this year.

Dennis said...

No I wasn't saying you were at all...just saying that Steelers fans like to defend their players through anything.

mai wen said...

It's funny how people quickly and conveniently change their expectations. The expectations for Ben were high after the Super Bowl win, then they went extremely low after his motorcycle accident. I mean, after I heard about it I didn't even expect him to start the season let alone play amazing! After the appendectomy and of course the concussion, I'm confused as too what the media expected from him. To say he regressed is just ridiculous and completely idiotic.

Oh well, in the same way sports shows will spend endless and useless analysis on the most ridiculous scenarios just to have something to talk about, I think they typically go for the easy/sexy choices when they make such lists... which is why I stick to a certain group of trusted bloggers who not only know their shit but write what they actually think instead of trying to please readers to make more money. Sports writing is slowly becoming BS which is why sports blogging has become so big.

mai wen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mai wen said...

P.S. An interesting article on Sports Blogging:

Sports Blogging