Friday, January 06, 2012

Is Roethlisberger really the "ultimate team player"?

At ESPN.com, John Clayton engages in question-begging...
Credit Roethlisberger with being courageous and for being the ultimate team player by staying on the field with an injury that would sideline most players.

Here's the question that he begs - is a one-legged Ben Roethlisberger actually better than a two-legged Charlie Batch? Or is he actually demonstrating that he's the ultimate "me-first" player, gathering plaudits and accolades for being tough and "courageous" while hurting his team? After all, if he doesn't go out and play quarterback, they don't forfeit - they don't automatically lose or go home for the season. The next guy in line goes out to play, and the next guy in line is an actual real live professional NFL quarterback. Obviously, if he were better than a two-legged Roethlisberger, he'd be the starter, not the backup, but equally obviously, the team is paying him money to play quarterback in the event that Roethlisberger gets hurt. Well, Roethlisberger's hurt. And, since he got hurt, bad.

Of course, it's Mike Tomlin's decision, in the end. But praising Roethlisberger for being "the ultimate team player," means assuming that a) the team has a better chance with Roethlisberger hurt than Batch healthy and b) no other NFL QB would be willing to play with a bad ankle sprain. Both assumptions are questionable at best.

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