I grabbed your attention with that title, didn't I? The reason I say Ben Roethlisberger needs to go is not the reason you may think and not the Ben I think needs to go. All will become apparent.
Opening Sunday against the Ravens, and again against the Colts, made me really think what I have been thinking for some time: the media is ruining my quarterback. I started seeing it last season at the Super Bowl. Last off season all we heard was about Ben's bad behavior and 'Ben is a douche' and things of that nature. His teammates hated him, the fans hated him, the list goes on. Well I, as a Big Ben fan, supported him and did not buy into the media bull that Ben was a bad guy. I looked at it as Ben being human and humans make mistakes. He was faced with a lot of obstacles and he overcame them and become a better person for it. Love the new and improved off season and the off field Ben. But that is not the Ben I love on the field.
The media before this past Sundays game had been singing the praise of Ben and even dropped the word "elite" and "one of the best." But I have always thought that, even when the media was bashing him for his style of play. Look, lets face facts: Ben rarely has the sexy fantasy stats. But Ben has something that set him apart from other QBs, he has heart and he has a drive that willed him to win. He can take a blown up play and turn it into a big play. Usually. The guy I saw was a man trying too hard to be the hero and to save the day, only to have it bite him in the end against the Ravens and almost again against the Colts. That was not the Ben that I expect to see on the field, that I love to see on the field. He keeps trying to do it on his own, but he can't.
So what I am getting at is that "Gentle Ben" needs to go. The guy that does and says all the right things and plays the way the media and fantasy players think football should be played.
Ben came back last season from all of this and played what I felt was his best football to date. He played with a purpose and played well. Yes, in '07 he had a great statistical year, but stats don't win championships. "Big Ben" does. But then when he played lights out in the playoffs and helped the Steelers to another SB championship, the media machine reared its ugly head again and dredged up all the past off seasons' problems and even made a big to do about him being out with his teammates. That again falls back to him being a human being who is entitled to have a life outside of football. That was when I first saw the emergence of Gentle Ben.
That is why I want Big Ben back. The Steelers need Big Ben back. You know, that bad ass on the field who could care less about style points and pretty plays. The Big Ben that had that arrogance to him and the rebel side to him on the field. The one that held onto the ball a little too long and, if a play broke down, that made the big play that people talked about. No, it wasn't always pretty, but it worked. That Ben did not care about stats and things of that nature. All he cared about was winning-winning championships and Super Bowls.
Big Ben did not care what the media or anyone else thought. Big Ben just did his thing on the field and was great at it. Big Ben kept his private life to himself and didn't care what the fans or media thought because it was his life, not theirs. Some fans just need to realize that even though he plays for the Steelers, when he walks out of that locker room and gets into his car, then he is just Ben. That is the Ben he corrected and I applaud him for it. But the guy under center didn't need correcting.
Yes, I know Ben had his struggles because of the Big Ben persona, and almost lost things that were important to him because of it. But he matured. I just don't want his style of play to be ruined because of it as well. That would be a travesty. While I know it is one of those "damned if you do and damned if you don't" kind of things, but it needs to happen.
So my solution is for Gentle Ben to stay off the field, but please bring Big Ben back on the field. That is the Ben I want to see. Yes, he still needs to be the man he promised to be and he has been so far. The more mature Ben. But leave that guy at home. When he gets in his car and pulls into the parking lot of Heinz field or gets off the bus to an away game, he needs to get his "Big Ben" on. I know he is still in there somewhere, and I for one, and I know others will agree, I hope he makes his appearance soon. Because I miss that guy.