It was not a festival of football yesterday. The Titans and Ravens were at least passionate and close, though at times it resembled two old rhinos fighting for hours at the zoo because they were bored. You might have thought after watching Mitch Trubisky and the Bears that offensive football couldn’t get worse. And then Ben Roethlisberger took the field, and it was as if he and the Steelers were desperate to answer the question, “What if you had Phillip Rivers at QB but before he took the field you broke his arm and made him shit his pants?”
Oh, the numbers will say that Big Ben willed the Steelers into a contest after they were down 28-0. But just about anyone, and a half-dead Roethlisberger barely qualifies as “anyone” anymore, can pile up points against a prevent defense, missing half its starting secondary and coaching staff, that also haven’t practiced all week thanks to COVID protocols. It was a car crash, just as it’s been the past month or two as the facade of the Steelers’ undefeated start (they were once 11-0) crashed to Earth with a thud that could move mountains.
It started with the very first play from scrimmage, as Roethlisberger chased down a wild snap like Abe Simpson trying to get to the starin’ window. Then there were interceptions that looked like he belched the football out more than threw it. There were bad throws or misses, or more balls that should have been intercepted.
Sure, he didn’t get much help from a Steelers defense that ended up giving up 41 points and approached tackling Kareem Hunt or Nate Chubb in the same fashion as if they had to gut a fish with their bare hands, though some of that was being backed up by various Roethlisberger uh-ohs.
Still, it leaves the Steelers in a bad spot. It’s clear what Roethlisberger is and isn’t now (mostly isn’t), and he costs $41 million against the cap next year. That’s assuming he doesn’t just retire, but he’s the exact kind of shithead who won’t know when it’s over and would keep playing just to spite “the haters,” even though his performance next year is sure to make his “haters” even more tumescent than they already are. Cutting him would still see $22 million of dead money on the Steelers cap, but that’s probably better than $41 million for a dead quarterback. There’s certainly no Plan B on the roster now or we’d know about it. And it’s not like defenses are going to forget that he can’t throw the ball far enough or hard enough to break a sheet of paper. It might even cost Mike Tomlin his job.
The NBA continued its theater of the absurd, as the Celtics-Heat game had to be banged thanks to the Heat not having enough players needed to field a team ( you need eight). This was on the same weekend that both the 76ers and Celtics nearly had to have games postponed for the same reason.
So far, the NBA’s honchos are continuing through the minefield, figuring the harder you press down on the pedal, the faster it’ll all be over.
Either the NBA doesn’t realize that no vaccine is going to get to players and staffs in time to save this season from becoming a study in pratfall, or they have some secret plan to jump the line and get vaccines before the general public does, which would be sick if it weren’t so perfect for this point in history. They’re going to lose more games, and the only way to not is to loosen their protocols, which will end with more cases anyway.
And the NHL jumps into this brackish pool this week. It’s postpone-a-palooza!
It’s not exactly encouraging when the PGA acts faster than Congress, but we should appreciate that someone somewhere gets it.
The PGA pulled next year’s PGA Championship from Trump National Golf Course in New York. These things are chosen way ahead of time, as that course was picked in 2014. Of course, the president of the PGA, Jim Richerson, couldn’t really hide the motive, coming right out and saying it would be bad “for their brand.” Brand Uber Alles.
Still, when an organization that is built by and for the people who have profited most from the utter crimes and lunacy of the past four years decides it has to wash its hands of this shit, you know we’re all face down in the muck.