Good for Ben Roethlisberger. The Pittsburgh Steelers may be out a few thousand dollars, but Big Ben came out and said what Steeler Nation has been complaining about for quite some time now -- that certain NFL quarterbacks receive preferential treatment when it comes to officials protecting them in the pocket. I shouldn't misquote Roethlisberger, though, so here's his specific comment:
"I think in part because the league doesn't want certain games to be played without certain quarterbacks," Roethlisberger said. "No offense to the other Patriots, but who's gong to watch the Patriots without Tom Brady and the Saints without Drew Brees. That's the way it is. They want to protect those guys because they are the marquee guys of this league, and you don't want them to get hurt."
Does Roethlisberger believe that the league actually talks with officials about ensuring that guys like Brady and Brees are healthy enough to play each Sunday?
"That's a good question," he said. "I think they know who are the marquee guys and they want to protect them."
I do not have any statistics to either help validate or refute Roethlisberger's comments, but I don't think too many Steelers fans, myself included, think that he's delusional or off-base with the remarks. Big Ben is as big a name as there is around the league -- not necessarily because he's so well-liked, of course -- but he definitely takes his fair share of hits in the pocket. Yet I really can't remember but a few instances when a flag was thrown near the ground he had been knocked to.
What do you think? Will Roethlisberger face a fine for his comments? If so, is it a small price to pay if it means the league might try to refute his comments with a flag or two in the near future after the hits he'll inevitably be taking from oncoming defenders?