United States Finally Embraces The Rooney Rule

Rooney Obama - courtesy Washington Post

History.

Last night, our country finally embraced the Rooney Rule on a national level when they elected Barack Obama the 44th President of United States. As you can tell by the picture above, Dan Rooney is probably pretty happy about the result. Regardless of your political leanings, everyone should feel at least a little pride in the historic event which took place yesterday. When a man of mixed heritage, a man raised by his mother and grandmother, a man with such a diverse cultural background can rise to the level of President, it really says a lot about how far we’ve come as a society.

Of course, we all know who President-elect Obama has to thank for his victory.

The Pittsburgh Steelers.

By defeating the Washington Redskins on Monday night, Obama’s victory was all but guaranteed. Forget the polls. Forget Zogby. Forget CNN. The best indicator of who will win a Presidential election is the Redskins. For the last 30 years, with only one exception, the Redskin Rule has been 100% accurate in predicting the outcome. If the Skins win their last game before Election Day, the party in office stays in office. If they lose, the opposing party takes control. Therefore, by pulling out the win, the Steelers made it a lock for Barry O.

Speaking of history, those who don’t learn from it are doomed to repeat it. Two seasons ago, the Steelers were defending Super Bowl champs but QB Ben Roethlisberger ran afoul of a Gray Hair on the Seventh Street Bridge while on his motorbike. Then, the last week of preseason, he was felled by an emergency appendectomy. Replaced by Charlie Batch for the season opener against Miami, the Steelers won easily while Batch had an outstanding game. It was his last action of the season as Ben came back the following week against Jacksonville. He muddled through a terrible performance where neither team scored a TD, ending with a 9-0 loss. He played pretty poorly for several weeks, including in a loss to the hapless Raiders, a team which would only win 2 games all year.

After the loss to the Jags, disturbing rumors surfaced. Some said Ben played the game with a 100 degree temperature. Others said his stitches were so fresh that one of the sacks had caused them to pop. There were other rumblings that the head trauma from the accident had caused a sort of punch drunk effect where Ben was unable to think and react as quickly as before. The question became why was Coach Bill Cowher starting him?

I’m not privy to behind the scenes info so I don’t know exactly what was true and what wasn’t. But I do know Ben didn’t seem right. And not being right cost us at least one probably two games. You know how many games we missed the playoffs by that year? ONE.

That brings us to this year. The press is reporting the MRI on Ben’s injured right shoulder showed no significant change from past weeks. If that’s true, how was he playing before yet couldn’t on Monday night? Are they saying that he’s constantly playing through this excruciating pain, except that one time when it became a little more excruciating? Why would you take a valuable player like Roethlisberger, a player you invested close to $100 million in, and potentially threaten his health and longevity by allowing him to play when he’s seriously hurt?

Not to mention the fact that current coach Mike Tomlin can spin things however he likes but the injury IS affecting Ben’s play. Our offense wasn’t this bad last year under the same set of coaches so you can’t lay the blame entirely on them. I applaud Big Ben’s toughness and desire to help his team but if you’re playing with a crippling injury and it’s affecting your game, you’re actually hindering more than helping.

That’s why I’m hoping Tomlin learns from history and starts Byron Leftwich this Sunday in Indianapolis. The Steeler might get a bye (if they make the playoffs) but otherwise there are no more breaks from here to the end of the season. Ben clearly needs some time off and rest to get his body somewhat back together and this week is just as good as any. You want him ready to go for important games like division match-ups or against Dallas. This week is the perfect week to give him some rest as it’s at home against a rather mediocre Indy team that Leftwich knows very well after playing them twice every year when he was in Jacksonville.

I don’t want to lose games we should easily win because our quarterback is a functioning cripple. I also don’t want him to prove his toughness by playing through a nagging injury that eventually turns into a big huge season ending injury. We need Ben for the stretch run and we need him for the playoffs. But for this week, he needs to ride the bench.

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Tags: Afc Barack Obama Ben Roethlisberger Bill Cowher Byron Cowher Power Dallas Dan Rooney Dolphins Election 2008 Gobama Jacksonville Jaguars Leftwich Lord Byron Miami Mike Tomlin Nfc NFL Pittsburgh President Obama Presidential Election Raider Nation Raiders Roethlisberger Rooney Rooney Rule Tomlin

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