Benny versus Willie. The Toe Wars.

There are lots of things you can take away from this ESPN article about the transformation, earnest or not, of Ben Roethlisberger.

That he is eschewing the bar scene here in Pittsburgh.

That his agent said, “”He’s human. He reached the point where he said to me, ‘I’m OK if I never play another down of football so long as people perceive me to be a good person.'”

I’m sorry. Where we we before that totally made up quote?

That the writer thinks people “rarely leave” Pittsburgh. Tell that to the census bureau or 85% of Florida’s population.

The touching story of Ben and John Challis, may he rest in peace.

But here’s what I’m taking from this story.

When Colon spent some time with him, he realized how much they were alike. How they were both from small colleges, both intensely competitive (they competed over who had the longest toenails.)

First, ew. Did they also braid each other’s armpit hairs?

Second, somewhere Rex Ryan just read that toenail line and either violently vomited or got incredibly turned on.

(h/t Pamela)


  1. AngryMongo
    January 21, 2011 4:54 pm

    I can’t say I’m convinced either. It will take a couple years of modified behavior on and off the field to prove rehabilitation.

    However, consider the amount of fame and responsibility thrust upon him in 04. Rookie year, trusted to lead a team out of necessity, and all the trappings that go with that kind of exposure.

    Maybe he wasn’t old enough to understand his place in the scheme of things. Maybe the NFL or the Steelers didn’t do enough to identify the signs of letting it all go to his head early enough, but this should have been the wake up call that was needed.

    Whether or not he treats this like a speeding ticket and follows the rules of the road for awhile, gradually speeding up again, who knows. The one thing that actually makes sense in that article was that “He could own the city.” He could.

    Look at Troy or Mario or Sidney. They have it what it takes on the field and they conduct themselves off the field with the same amount of humility.

  2. Joe K.
    January 21, 2011 5:07 pm

    Interesting article on ESPN. I have a really hard time with the “skipped out on bar tabs” stories because it all seems like a lot of hearsay and it’d be the easiest thing in the world to make up that claim and have it get around. I also don’t care if he brushed off people for autographs, people aren’t entitled to autographs.

    I might get flak for this, but I’ve also given Ben the benefit of the doubt because I don’t believe anything remotely resembling a crime happened in Millegeville. But if it caused him to re-focus, then so much the better.

    “People don’t leave Pittsburgh.” Depends on what they mean by that. I can’t remember the stats, but a high percent of area residents are native to the area.

  3. Rocky
    January 21, 2011 5:08 pm

    Rehabilitated my a$$! Can anyone say “narcissistic personality disorder”. The chances of rehabilitating from that is oh, just about zero.

  4. Sheila
    January 21, 2011 5:38 pm

    I agree with Joe. No one mentions that the guy who apparently pissed off every member of the media in the past got the Chief award this year for cooperation with the media voted by the Pgh pro football writers. He’s obviously headed in the right direction so let the guy do what he needs to do. Sorry Ginny – but this is the line you should have had Calvin laughing over..

    “Baranowski is known as sort of the Norma Rae of bar owners in Pittsburgh”.

    You’re kidding me right?!

  5. Jaime
    January 21, 2011 7:30 pm

    I actually took the “People don’t leave Pittsburgh.” line as a compliment. I was born and raised in Pittsburgh but have lived in Erie since college. My heart has never left Pittsburgh and I’m still a ‘burgher at heart.

    Its too soon to tell whether Ben has changed. I have a feeling that he could save a dying child and most readers would still think its a PR stunt. At the end of the day he won’t have to answer to me but to a higher power. Isn’t it better for the city if he does change? I think so.

  6. Ms.7
    January 21, 2011 7:59 pm

    I think a super bowl ring is the equivalent of a 4 million dollar I’m sorry ring a la Kobe Bryant.

  7. bluzdude
    January 21, 2011 9:06 pm

    I agree with Jaime… I think it’s more like our hearts never leave Pittsburgh. It may have been better to say, “Pittsburgh never leaves them.”

    I’ve never had the highest opinion of Benny, off the field. But I make room for anyone to seek redemption, one way or another. Our country was built on the principle that people can screw up, pay for their transgression and come out with a clean slate.

    I say we cut the guy a break. Give him a short leash, but give him a chance to put things back together.

  8. cindy
    January 21, 2011 11:35 pm

    Isn’t Baranowski the same bar owner who had more than a few issues with health code violations at his establishment and then lied about the repairs to the city? I’d take what he says with a grain of salt.

    Also, where are the stories in the press about the Jets quarterback and his actual arrest for rape back in ’06. Let’s drag that up, we still have a couple days left before the big game!

    Equal time!

  9. cindy
    January 21, 2011 11:36 pm

    Isn’t Baranowski the same bar owner who had more than a few issues with health code violations at his establishment and then lied about the repairs to the city? I’d take what he says with a grain of salt.

    Also, where are the stories in the press about the Jets quarterback and his actual arrest for rape back in ’06. Let’s drag that up, we still have a couple days left before the big game!

    Equal press time I say!

  10. Ms. Redd
    January 22, 2011 10:28 am

    Hmmm… hope toenails isn’t an euphanism for some other part of the anatomy….

  11. unsatisfied
    January 22, 2011 10:40 am


    “norma rae”???

    I’d say some writer is stuck in 1983.

    in other news, I’d say that time will tell with ben roethlisberger…..

  12. YinzerInExile
    January 22, 2011 2:35 pm

    Random, meaningless, but interesting trivia:


    “Mark Sanchez rape” = 108,000 hits
    “Ben Roethlisberger rape” = 81,800 hits

    I was sort of surprised, as I expected Large Benjamin to win in hits since nobody on the interwebz can say his name without proceeding it with “rape” whereas the remainder of webbians seem intent on never ever associating Mark Sanchez with the alleged sexual assault *FOR WHICH HE WAS ARRESTED* charge he rung up as a freshman.

    So, neither player was ever charged, though Sanchez was actually arrested, and while #7 will likely never shake the association, Sanchez never really even had to deal with one.

    One of the first articles that comes up under the Sanchez Googlage rather specifically examines (with no considerable degree of journalistic scrutiny, I grant) why everyone’s been so willing to look the other way for the Jets QB.

    The conclusion: dimples. Sanchez is cuter. And had a successful photoshoot with GQ.

  13. don
    January 22, 2011 7:50 pm

    Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. We give convicted felons second and third chances. Yet some refuse to relent with their slander of someone just accused of inappropriate action.

    Maybe the ” I am purer than you” crowd should shut their pie holes and let Ben play ball.

  14. Jason
    January 23, 2011 1:08 pm

    Don summed it up. No matter what Ben says or does to prove he’s changing the haters will never be satisfied. If you don’t like Ben, go root for the Cleveland Browns;)
    Let it go haters. It was time to move on ages ago. Now, let’s go win another Super Bowl. Go Big Ben, GO STEELERS!!!!!

  15. empirechick
    January 24, 2011 1:22 am

    People think Ben is a jerk because he has proven himself a jerk. I have met him in person, and he was a jerk. HOWEVER, he isn’t being paid millions to be nice to anyone. His job is to win football games, and that he does.

    I sincerely hope he has turned his life around, although so far it looks an awful lot like a PR job to me. But if I only have to see him on the news for what he does on the football field, that will be a success. GO STEELERS!

  16. unsatisfied
    January 24, 2011 4:17 pm

    @jason — just because someone is a “hater” of how ben runs his private life does necessarily not make them any less of a fan. if you want to have a blind eye to that, that’s your choice.

    fer instance, I am a huge fan of john lennon’s music….even though I deplore the fact that he was a womanizer, abandoned his first wife and first child and was fairly hypocritical. but, he also wrote some damn fine songs.

    see, I can separate how I feel about john lennon as a man and john lennon as an artist. same with ben.

    and, no, I am not without sin. none of us are. I am also sure that there are people I know who don’t like the way that I live my life or some of the choices I’ve made. that’s fine. but, I can’t recall during my boozed-out 20s being accused of raping a woman. and, I don’t think that too many people are not giving ben another chance. I am. time will tell what he does with it.

  17. cheryl
    January 24, 2011 5:22 pm

    Even those of us who left Pittsburgh, never really left it in our hearts. After 12 years in Florida, western PA is still ‘home’. And that is why the Steeler Nation covers the world – everyone who did leave took a little bit of it with us. Steeler bars all over the place will rock Super Bowl Sunday!

  18. Jason
    January 24, 2011 7:40 pm

    I understand your point. I don’t judge Ben or anyone else in their private life. I have no right to. As a big Steeler fan, I can only judge his play on the football field. What anyone does in their private life is their own business and not mine. My only gripe is that no matter what Ben does or says, many will never be satisfied. If Ben does something good for the community they say it’s a PR stunt. Well, if he’s not doing good or being kind to people, then exactly how DO they want Ben to act to prove he has changed? It’s a no-win situation. I believe in second chances and feel the accusation charges taught #7 a huge lesson and scared the living shit out of him. It made him realize just how blessed his life is and how quickly it could all easily be lost. Yes, only time WILL tell, but so far I would give Ben an A+ and can’t ask for any better behavior. I’m rooting for #7 ON and OFF the football field. GO STEELERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Megan
    January 25, 2011 11:45 am

    When I moved back in 2001, after living in other states for 18years, there was an article (maybe Beaver Times or Sewickley Herald?) with statistics on those who returned to Pittsburgh. 95% returned within 20yrs and 98% raised their own families within 5miles of where they were raised. This included burbs, of course, but it was neat to read.