Ben Roethlisberger deserves some slack, because he has fared better than most whose bank accounts and privileges have swollen before their brains reached maturity -- it appears the person he has hurt the most by carelessless has been himself.
Ben could benefit from a few offseason resolutions, however:
First, he could learn a lesson from Barry Sanders, perhaps the most talented running back in American football history. Sanders never played in a Super Bowl . . . primarily because the Lions are the Pittsburgh Pirates of professional football, but in part because Sanders too often ceded yardage (he lost nearly 1,000 yards during his career). A nine-yard loss followed by a 13-yard gain is thrilling, but it also is third-and-long. Fifty-sack offenses must overcome an avoidable incline.
Second, he seemed pudgy this season. One with Roethlisberger's build and constitution can withstand a great deal of stress and abuse before age 30, from poor diet and late nights to hundreds of hits from the biggest, strongest, fastest, meanest dudes around. Roethlisberger, almost certainly without recognizing it, is at or near his physical peak, and extra stress on his joints could make him less productive and injury-prone during his career's (and life's) second half. An unattractive aspect of football transforms exceptional physical specimens into 45-year-olds who can't get out of bed or nevigate stairways without difficulty.
Third, and most important by far, someone should advise him that no amount of touchdown passes or heroic drives or successful scrambles or even youthfulness can begin to excuse anyone -- especially someone with a million dollars in monthly income because he is fortunate enough to play a sport today's public prefers -- who stiffs waitresses, small businesses, and others trying to earn a livelihood. Anyone who can't handle a decent tip or pay a tab is not a big-leaguer, let alone a champ.
Tip like a champion, Ben.
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