Quarterbacks are team leaders. They are the face of the franchise and usually hold the attention of fans more than any single other player. This is a double -edged sword. While they have all the attention and the lion’s share of the praise, they also get most of the flak that comes at the team. “With great power comes great responsibility.” In this post I am going to explore the transformation of two of the biggest quaterbacks playing today. Big Ben Roethlisberger, the brash and brazen wunderkind who helped the Steelers once again become a defensive and offensive power house, and Michael Vick. Vick of course is the maliciously murderous malcontent who while his skill at being a dynamic quaterback are amazing, will most likely be remembered for his exploits off the field. Seems pretty clear who is the hero and who is the villain right? Well lets find out!
I will start with Vick. He started to gain acalades from as far back as his college years. He set an NCAA record for a freshman and established single-season school records for highest yards passing per completion (20.4), per attempt (12.1), highest completion percentage (59.2) and most yards per play (9.3). [Per Wikipedia]
After that he joined up with the Atlanta Falcons where he performed well enough to get younger me, who had no time for silliness like football, to know who he was and actually watch a few games just for him. I should express a bit of a bias. I was a fan of Vick for a long time, which made what happened in 2007 very hard to watch. After an investigation Michael Vick was found to be staging dog fights. While this is deploable in its own right what they did to the dogs who did not perform well was worse. If you lost multiple fights you could expect to be electrocuted, hung, drown, or just beaten to death. Mindless slaughter of man’s best friend brought on a full Federal case. His star QB status did nothing to allivate the book that was thrown. He admitted guilt and went to prison.
He spent his time in prison, then went on to be under house arrest due to a failed drug test during probation. Now I want you to think of that. A celebrity who was not only found guilty but served their time in full. It is basically unheard of in this day, and those of you who say Fatty Arbuckle I say, that was profiling and not relavent to this discussion.
Once he got out it was thought that Vick would never play in the NFL again. He was a black sheep that would cause massive numbers of people to boycott any team who picked him up. Lucky for him and the Eagles, they had stones enough to bite the bullet and pick up the poisoned player. After getting back into shape Vick was the starting QB for the Philidelpha Eagles. He was back to the job he loves and was made for. In 2010 he was awarded NFL’s comeback player of the year. Basically Vick was back on top of his professional life, but that was not what caused him to be branded a murderer and all around bastard.
Michael Vick has been working ever since he got out of prison to make amends for his action. He has donated money to animal charites and done tours of schools talking out about the horrors of dog fighting. He even lobbied Congress on behalf of a new anti-dog fighting bill that would make it a felony to bring children to any fights. It also makes just attending one of these bloodbaths a jail worthy crime. Basically he seems to be making an attempt to fix his past. Yes he did horrible things, but he served his time and is working to make it right.
Vick might have been a bad dude, but at least in this fan’s eyes he has become a beacon of redemption against the morass of Teflon coated players. It is refreshing to see a star take responsibly for their actions.
Now on to Big Ben. When I made metion of Teflon coated superstars, on of those I was referencesing is none other than Steelers quaterback Ben Roethlisberger. His actions on the field of glory made him a star. His is big, his name is Ben, and he as the skill of a star. A nickname and persona were forged almost immediatly.
He has records, awards, and rings enough to make any player in the game jealous. He is a man of extreme talent. Professionally he is one of the best quaterbacks playing today. I am not a huge Steelers fan, mostly due to annoying Steelers fans at my work, but I like the way Big Ben plays.
But like Vick trouble off the field has made Ben more infamous rather than famous. He has a habit of having a bit too much to drink and then accidently sticking his penis into unreceptive women. Seriously this dude has escaped not one, not two, but three seperate rape charges. In once case the doctor who took the rape kit was all but convinced that the woman has been violated. Fortunately for Ben, the NFL protects their own in non-Federal cases. Strong arm tactics, armys of lawyers, and general bulling on th part of the NFL have caused any legal trouble he might have face to just wash away. Teflon baby, nothing sticks.
In fairness, rape is hard to prove even when the assaulter is not a multi-millionaire star quarterback, but still. These women felt violated so they deserve some just right?
In closing I want to say this was an opinion piece. I have become a fan of Vick again due to his redemption and lost lots of respect for Roethlisberger because of his failure to accept responsibility. If you hate either one of them, or just don’t care. I love feedback and discussions! Contact me to yell or agree with me either way I look forward to it.