View Full Version : Wake-up call: Roethlisberger's crash hopefully will provide lesson

06-16-2006, 09:29 PM
Just in case if you haven't read


What struck us first about him was his maturity level. His otherworldly poise and all that calm and cool under a helmet. He seemed to react and see the field well beyond his years, as if he had been there and done that long before he actually had. He possessed the arm, the head and that special grace for the game, and it somehow appeared he was born with experience on his side.

At least on the football field, that is. But Ben Roethlisberger sure could have used a little of that innate wisdom and vision away from the field this offseason, to see that the rewards didn't justify the risks he was taking in playing the role of Easy Rider in Pittsburgh.

As it turns out, in defending both his ownership of his beloved motorcycle and his refusal to don a helmet when he rode it, the Steelers' franchise quarterback, for once, was acting his age. And like so many of us in youth, Roethlisberger now has acquired a few scars to remind him of lessons learned.

Let's face it: Monday morning's news flash out of Pittsburgh could have been far darker and more costly than it was. In sustaining only a broken jaw and nose after being thrown off his 2005 Suzuki, Roethlisberger was lucky. In a way, maybe he was just as charmed as he has been during the first two magical seasons of his pro football career.

But even Big Ben should know that nobody can count on luck full-time. At some point you have to play the percentages, and the numbers we're talking about have nothing to do with the ratio of Roethlisberger's completions or his gaudy win-loss record.

There's a reason the words motorcycle and accident seem to be almost synonymous in our heads. It's a dangerous hobby. Always has been, always will be. I never thought I'd say this, but Terry Bradshaw -- that raving, talk-first-and-think-later fount of wisdom that he is -- was right. Motorcycles and NFL playing careers just don't mix.

Can I hear a great big old amen, Kellen Winslow?

Having just gone on the ride of his life from a quarterback's perspective -- which is what a Super Bowl-winning run always is -- Roethlisberger should have made sure it was the only ride we had reason to talk about this offseason. He should have heeded the plentiful advice he got to stay off his motorcycle and chosen another way to kick-start his adventurous side. For Roethlisberger, who already has achieved civic-treasure status in Pittsburgh, the only bike that makes sense to climb on at this point is a stationary one. At least until his playing days are over.

But maybe Monday's crash, or something like it, was inevitable. Maybe this is what happens to a young star quarterback when he wins his first 15 NFL starts and has a Super Bowl ring by Year 2 of his career. He gets that indestructible, nothing-can-touch me feeling about everything. But the state of invincibility is a dangerous place to reside.

You have to find some irony in Roethlisberger's eschewing wearing a helmet on his motorcycle, seemingly an indication that he considered himself almost immune to disaster. After all, would he choose to go helmet-less in football? In Pittsburgh of all places, a hard-hat town if there ever was one? It would be scantly less dangerous than his bike-riding stance.

Upon hearing the news Monday, I couldn't help but wonder if Roethlisberger's accident was the first twist of fate, the first break to go against Pittsburgh in 2006 as it begins its defense of its Super Bowl title. True, Jerome Bettis retired and Antwaan Randle El moved on in free agency, but those moves were not unexpected, and every defending champ has personnel challenges to overcome.

But will we look back in seven months' time and say the whole strange trip the Steelers took this season began when their star quarterback went over the handlebars on a June morning in downtown Pittsburgh? As omens go, a motorcycle crash by your most indispensable player, seven weeks before the start of training camp, is no small potatoes. Time will tell if it's the initial sign that the karma the Steelers were infused with late last season has moved on to another team.

Roethlisberger, once his injuries are healed, will face enormous pressure to give up his bike once and for all. The Steelers will likely enforce some kind of contractual prohibition of the practice. It won't take much maturity this time for Roethlisberger to realize the right choice and go the responsible route. His playing career has a relatively brief window. His motorcycle-riding days could last decades after retirement.

Chances are it won't take another face-first encounter with the pavement for him to reach that conclusion. When he's done with football, we'll even bet somebody buys Roethlisberger a helmet and paints the Steelers' logo only on one side of it, as long as he promises to strap it on every time he cranks his bike to life.

For now, Roethlisberger and the Steelers should feel fortunate. He learned a valuable lesson, apparently without paying a dramatically steep price. On the football field, Roethlisberger is a quick study, rarely making the same mistake twice. In this case it's his hard-earned experience off the field that will prove most instructive. This time it's more important than ever that he recognize the situation and make the right call.

06-17-2006, 07:58 AM
Ben was correct when he stated that through the grace of God he was spared his life. Let's now hope he's learned his lesson, and will use this life lesson to teach and inform others. I still think he needs me as his nanny...(lol). :smile:

06-17-2006, 08:16 AM
Ben was correct when he stated that through the grace of God he was spared his life. Let's now hope he's learned his lesson, and will use this life lesson to teach and inform others. I still think he needs me as his nanny...(lol). :smile:

Depends on what kind of nanny you're talking about. :smile: Well since he isn't married, I think I kind of know what kind you're talking about. LOL :smile: