According to a recent poll, Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be the most disliked player on the field this Sunday, when his Steelers take on Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV. Coincidentally, Roethlisberger is also the only player on either team who has received multiple allegations of rape. I'm just going out on a limb here, but maybe these two facts are connected somehow. Maybe...
Oddly enough, Roethlisberger is actually the fourth most disliked player in the league, behind fellow quarterbacks Brett Favre, Michael Vick, and Tom Brady (who I have been known to hate on). Chalk it up to the overwhelming popularity of the Pittsburgh Steelers brand that someone accused of multiple acts of rape could be more tolerated than an attention-starved sexting machine (Favre), a guy who electrocuted dogs but served a two-year prison sentence (Vick), and a dude who's really good at throwing a football and impregnating supermodels - who might be kind of a jerk (Brady).
I suppose it's worth pointing out that this poll was conducted before Roethlisberger's smilefest on Tuesday's "media day," where he joked around with a kid reporting for his school's newspaper, referenced his Christianity about a billion times, and dodged questions about his checkered past like they were opposing linebackers. Roethlisberger has clearly rehearsed with what I imagine is a small army of public relations consultants; maybe Tuesday's display of media savvy would bump him down the list even further - who knows.
Some other interesting findings from the poll:
- Seventy-eight percent of Americans (and 89 percent of males) plan to watch the game.
- Most Americans are rooting for the Packers (45 percent) over the Steelers (39 percent).
- Seven out of ten people say they watch the Super Bowl for the commercials, not the game.
- American men look forward to Super Bowl Sunday more than their anniversary, birthday, or Thanksgiving. Only Christmas takes the back seat to the biggest day in pro football.