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Roethlisberger Flushing Stereotypes Down the Drain
Nov 7, 2004 - 1:06:00 PM

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Six weeks ago, Steelers guard Alan Faneca was saying how much he dreaded the prospect of blocking for some snot-nosed rookie quarterback whose claim to fame was beating Bowling Green on Homecoming Weekend. The same Alan Faneca, who, as we speak, is probably washing Ben Roethlisberger's car.

Times are changing, and quickly, in the NFL. In September, the Steelers were a rebuilding team trying to bounce back from a disastrous 6-10 season. Today, you could argue they're the best team in the state of Pennsylvania. Which is to say, the best team on the planet.

It's good to be the king, but it's better to be a football fan in Pennsylvania. Well, a pro football fan, anyway. Which reminds me. What do you figure will come first, the Yankees going bankrupt or Penn State winning another game?

The Steelers (6-1) and Eagles (7-0) will play Sunday in Pittsburgh in what could be a preview of Super Bowl XXXIV. But the story in Pittsburgh isn't the Steelers' record. It's their rookie quarterback. Ben Whathisname. The kid who couldn't lose.

Like so many others in today's NFL, where the end-zone facial/louffa scrub/dance contest seems more important than the touchdown that preceded it, Big Ben needs to start acting his age. The kid is 23 years young. What's he doing winning his first five NFL starts?

For that matter, what's he doing breaking a sweat? Everybody knows rookie quarterbacks don't play. They're not supposed to be seen or heard from until December, if then. It's an NFL tradition that dates back to leather helmets and the Raiders' glory days.

Rookie quarterbacks are supposed to carry clipboards and buy doughnuts for the veterans and check out the babes in the seats. In college ball, they call it redshirting. Same thing in the NFL except you get paid over the table.

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