Ben Roethlisberger: the most controversial player of Super Bowl XLV

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Yes, Ben Roethlisberger has changed. He’s been a different person since he teetered on the brink on an investigation for sexual assault last summer. He changed his behavior, he seems to have changed his priorities and he’s definitely changed the way he handles the press. He’s become a new person, and make no mistakes about it: this new Ben Roethlisberger has been a major factor behind the Steelers’ Super Bowl push. If Pittsburgh manages to win the Big Game, it will successfully put yet another major nail in the coffin of their quarterback’s “bad guy” image. And that will be despite NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s apparent efforts to breathe new life into the story again.

Last season has pretty much been a psychological case study for the rehabilitation of various players. Michael Vick has been another protagonist as with his dog killing and torturing days behind him, he put together the season of his life performance-wise. It is interesting how the media is willing to forget and to forgive a player when he plays well. There’s definitely a line between character and performance here, even as NFL players seem to be held to much lower moral standards than their NBA and MLB counterparts.

When a baseball player cheats, he never fails to create general upheaval. When a football player cheats, what we’re likely to see is more of a collective shrug than anything else. That’s right, we just shrug these guys off and had  Roethlisberger not been part of a category which is an exception from under the shrug-off rules, he may have gotten away with what he did with a mere footnote. NFL careers are usually so short that individual players simply fail to connect with their fans on a meaningful level. For a quarterback though, who is the face of his team and franchise, being sheltered from the media is never an option. This is why uncomfortable questions continue to rain down on the Steelers’ QB, granted that he has been able to answer all of them blandly and continues to do so every time his story is pulled from the shelves and dusted off again. Do you think you’re a good guy? I think I am…

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