There is a famous saying in the NFL, according to Tiny Tom Jackson, and it goes like this.
One is a fluke.
Two is a pattern.
Three is a serious problem.
This rule is applied to any series of disturbing or upsetting behavior regarding a player. The last time I heard Tom Jackson invoke this rule, he was talking about Jake Delhomme and 7+ turnover games. We all know how that story ended. Carolina handed him $12.5 million to walk out the door.
How about Ben Roethlisberger?
Big motorcycle accident screws up the 2006 title defenses.
Accusations of rape in Las Vegas a few months ago, leading to a civil lawsuit.
Accusations of rape in Georgia, with a criminal investigation in progress.
One is a fluke. Two is a pattern. Three is a serious problem. Are we at 2 or 3?
Roethlisberger is the Steeler franchise right now. He is already the best QB in Steeler history. In terms of pure field performance, he is an underrated guy, not an overrated guy. He also happens to be one of the highest paid player in the league. In 2008, the Steelers forked over $27.7m to Big Ben.
Most experts believe Roethlisberger will beat the rap. Rape charges are tough to prove, especially when there is a powerful defense attorney in play. It's even harder to obtain a conviction when there is no genetic evidence in hand.
But what if Roethlisberger looses this court fight? What then? What happens to the Steelers? And what if he wins? The Steelers are not famous for tollerating this kind of behavior. Historically, the Steelers are definitely not the Raiders. They have shit-canned a lot of players for off-the-field conduct.
According to ESPN's John Clayton, the Steelers are not happy. Have a look at that video .
With this in mind, consider the fact that Mike Tomlin took a personal interest in Tim Tebow at yesterday's UF ProDay. Consider the fact that he spoke with him at some length. Consider that Tebow is known for a pattern of behavior...shall we say...quite different from Roethlisberger's.
Rumor has it that Tim is saving himself for marriage, so he knows how to keep his snake in his pants.
Consider that both Colin Cowherd and Herman Edwards agreed that the Steelers are showing interest in Tebow. Consider the fact that the Steelers have firm plans to host Tebow at Steeler HQ. Consider the fact that in the Super Bowl 43 highlight film, you can see Tomlin slapping Roethlisberger on the butt (after Ben's goal-line run) and say "You looked like Tim Tebow on that one!"
My, my, my...can you imagine Big Ben's reaction if the Steelers take Tebow in the 2nd round? Can you imagine the reaction on ESPN or the NFL Network? The Steelers just selected Roethlisburger in 2006 with the No. 11 pick. This seems to have paid off handsomely with two titles. Ben should be entering the absolute prime-time of his career right now. These are the choice years.
Such a move would indicate that Roethlistburger is officially on probation. Tebow won't be ready to go a year or so, but his mere presence is provocative and threatening. It suggests the Steelers are preparing to go, and would be willing to go in a different direction if Ben continues to screw up. It would light a match under his arse as well.
Certainly, it is a good thing to light a match under a veteran's ass. John Elway was re-ignited by the arrival of Tommy Maddox in 1992. Joe Montana was ignited by the arrival of Steve Young in 1987. Bobby Waterfield was ignited by the arrival of Norm Van Brocklin.
Lighting a match under Ben's ass might not be a bad idea, but if the Steelers do make this move, it means they are concerned about the future availability of Ben Roethlisburger.
Last night on NFL Total Access, Jason La Canfora gave us a report from inside the Steelers organization. The segment began with an ominous quote from Art Rooney II, the President of the Steelers. The iron fist was veiled, but it was there. Due to our position on the calendar, the Steelers have the luxury of time.
At a different position in the calendar year, the Steelers might have to do something different. At the moment, they are going to wait for the case to play out. This is the essence of the quote Art Rooney II gave to the press in Pittsburgh.
La Canfora did not mince words when he reported the the position of the Steeler front office. The Steelers are outraged by this humiliating embarrassment. There are many in the front office who say that Ben has burned his last strike.
If he is in the wrong place at the wrong time again, or in the presence of the wrong company when some unfortunate event occurs, or brought up on any other charges for any reason, the Steelers will shit-can Ben Roethlisburger. He will be let go.
You should have seen the look Rich Eisen's face when he heard this. He looked like Eisenhower being given the initial reports on the battle of the bulge. Shock and dismay. That was dramatic, buddy. As dramatic as anything I've seen on the NFL Network. I think it is fair to conclude that Ben Roethlisburger's career with the Steelers is on the ropes.
Of course, if convicted, he will be going away for awhile, and the NFL will suspend him indefinitely.