I’m a sucker for stories of adversity that is overcome by a heroic effort by an individual. That’s why this Monday I will be nothing more than glued to my TV to watch our Steelers duke it out with the 49’ers.
Big Ben has an opportunity to more than just solidify himself as a tough guy or iron man this Monday night. He has an opportunity to cement his persona in Steelers history as the toughest SOB and greatest player the Steelers have ever had as part of their organization. He already has notoriety for his two Super Bowl wins – none better than the last second TD pass to Santionio Holmes in SB 43. But, a win lead by Ben in San Fran against the surging 10-3 ‘Niners coached by Jim ‘Shake My Hand’ Harbaugh with a chance for the Steelers to slip in and take the lead in the AFC North would be absolutely monumental.
There are some out there that say the Steelers and/or Ben are embellishing his high ankle sprain. Have any of those people ever had a high sprain like his? I haven’t so I can’t say from personal experience, but I do know someone years ago who did. And, they were laid up for almost 2 months – I know, that’s normal person vs. athlete. But to think that an athlete can recover from a sprain in less than 10 days is crazy talk. Roethlisberger practiced for the first time since that sprain on Friday afternoon – 8 days after the injury occurred. Crazy. There’s still a chance that Ben might not play on Monday. I would rather he rest up properly for the long term and playoffs, but yoi would that be something if he were to play… and not only play, but win convincingly.
The ‘Niners rank 14th in the league with 32 sacks on the season. Not great but not bottom basement either. The offensive line will certainly need to step up and help Ben out since he won’t be able to scramble like he usually does. Expect lots of shotgun on Monday. The offense will still have all its other weapons, so to think that they would be anemic with Ben injured and on the field is just ridiculous. The team has really begun to master the quick screen and quick outs – mainly due to the o-line not being able to block since day one.
If Ben plays Monday, I admit that I will be really excited to see how the game goes. If Ben plays and the Steelers lose, for the rest of the season we’ll hear ‘They should have sat him!’ like some nightmare from A Christmas Story – ‘Youuuu should have saaaat him! Youuu should have saaaat him!’ And we’ll see Trent Dilfer dressed up like a witch and Christ Carter as a joker. God I think my son’s teething and not sleeping at night have made me delusional. Next thing you know, I’ll be saying things like John Harbaugh is a classy guy… *shaking head vigorously* Now where was I?? Oh yes…
If Ben plays and the Steelers win largely in part of him being on the field, then I think this will go down as one of the great games in Steelers lore. I can hear John Facenda in the background poetically describing Ben’s Herculean efforts to avoid would be tacklers, the grimace of pain with every step and touchdown throw after touchdown throw. Eat your heart out Tony ‘cracked up’ Romo and Mike Vick. Go to bed Brett Favre and the Manning brothers. There’s a true Iron Man in the league right now who gets the crap kicked out of him every week and still wins and plays the next week.