February 2, 2009

Ben Roethlisberger

Continuing my recent trend of blogging about sports I know very little about, I was going to mention that a cool thing about 2-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (besides his being Swiss-American) is that his sports upbringing seemed more old fashioned Jack Armstrong-like go-outside-and-play than that of so many of the new robo-quarterbacks who are raised by their fathers from the cradle to be NFL quarterbacks. The Sideline Dad has become as ubiquitous as the Stage Mom.

For example, Notre Dame's quarterback Jimmy Clausen was held back two years by his parents so that as a high school senior at expensive Oaks Christian in Ventura County, he was a 19-year-old man playing against 17-year-old boys, making him the top-rated high school QB in the country. He also had two older brothers who had started at QB in the SEC, and had a former NFL QB as his private quarterback tutor since he was 10.

Quarterback is turning into something of a caste. Now the quarterback at Clausen's old high school, Oaks Christian, is Nick Montana, whose dad is some guy named Joe. But don't worry, there's still hope for boys whose dads aren't NFL Hall-of-Fame QBs. It's said that the Oaks Christian second string QB next season will likely be Trevor Gretzky, the son of an immigrant.

Anyway,
Roethlisberger was this enormous kid (he's now 6'-5" and 241 pounds) with fantastic coordination who played three sports in high school. Basketball was his strongest emphasis in high school, then baseball (where he played shortstop), and then, finally, football. This reminded me of this old series of boy's books I read as a kid, a series kind of like Tom Swift or the Hardy Boys, about a schoolboy athlete named Chip Hilton, with each of the 24 books covering one of his seasons from football as a freshman in high school to baseball as a senior in college. No off-season strength training for him -- just pick up a different ball and play.

In fact,
Roethlisberger didn't play quarterback until his senior year in high school. He'd been a wide receiver as a junior. Once he finally took over as quarterback, he threw 54 touchdown passes in his senior season and accepted a scholarship to a local college, Miami of Ohio, which wasn't known as football powerhouse until he arrived. After three outstanding seasons, he was drafted #11 (behind Eli Manning and Philip Rivers, both of whom have done well in the NFL)

It's a great story, but when I looked into it, it turns out that
Ben Roethlisberger's dad, Ken, won a scholarship to Georgia Tech as a quarterback (although he injured his knee and didn't play in college). And Ben's still kind of sore that his high school coach didn't let him play QB as a junior. Instead, the coach had his own son stay at QB. The coach's son threw 14 touchdown passes, compared to the 54 Ben threw next season. But when the coach's son played Division III college football, he washed out as a quarterback but then succeeded as a wide receiver.

Sideline Dads ...

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

31 comments:

rightsaidfred said...

This reminds me in a roundabout way of Medieval England and the lifetime training it took to operate the long bow. Kids were funneled into games and sports from a young age that emphasized archery, and the long bow had something like a 150 pound pull (damn wicked), so strength training was part of the program, or at least selection for those strong enough.

Eventually the crossbow and muskets came along, so the kids could go back to watching TV.

RF Interference said...

Roethlisberger is also one of the very few quarterbacks to leave early for the draft (not staying through their senior year of college ball) to have success in the NFL.

jody said...

big ben is the only reason the steelers win now that they have such garbage offensive linemen and bruce arians, a retard, as offensive coordinator. roethlisberger's career is being shortened by how many hits he takes due to these guys.

all season the "wisdom" was that big ben "held the ball too long" when in reality it was the crap black linemen on the steelers who could not block anybody, giving roethlisberger approximately 1.54789 seconds to drop back before the defense was on him.

the only time the steelers can move the ball is in the 2 minute drill when big ben is throwing on almost every down. getting bruce arians out of the equation is key. he has reduced the NFL's best rushing team to a team that cannot score when it is first and goal on the 1. the steelers had a positively pathetic 60 yards rushing in the superbowl against the cardinals, the worst rush defense in the NFL.

there was no power rushing, smash mouth steeler's football this year. the steelers even let go of dan krieder, an excellent fullback. willie parker almost led the league in rushing behind krieder's excellent blocking last year. this year? LOL. he had fun running behind slugs like max starks, willie colon, and carey davis.

big ben has his work cut out for him. if he is able to survive another couple seasons, that is.

patrick said...

Sport Illustrated did a cover story about the demise of the 3 sport scholastic athlete a few years ago. On the cover were 2 Univ of Louisville football stars, running back Michael Bush (now with Oakland Raiders) and QB Brian Brohm (now with GB Packers).

The article pointed out that most top athletes pick one sport and play that game throughout the year. The article also harkened back to the old days and refered to Joe Montana and many others who were offered college scholarships in Basketball and Major League Baseball contracts.

Wiki states that Brohm matched the high Wonderlic for QB with Atlanta Falcon Matt Ryan. Didn't state Michael Bush's Wonderlic.

Off topic, but Fla State Seminole DB Myron Rolle was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship. I wonder how he would do on the Wonderlic?

jody said...

speaking to the matter of quarterback being a "caste", the only real caste in american sports is that NFL running backs MUST BE BLACK, NO EXCEPTIONS.

NFL teams will go to great lengths to avoid letting white players carry the football. they will dig up black scrubs from just about anywhere rather than go through the horror of letting a faster, more athletic white player actually attempt to rush for yards.
smaller, slower, less athletic is the battle cry of the NFL when it comes to running backs.

there are 32 starters and 32 backups, so that's at least 64 running backs in the NFL. all 64 are black, a mathematical impossibility in a nation in which only 13% of the population is black and the job is said to be "competitive". in no other sport, in no other field does a similar situation exist.

the NFL tells us that the very worst black running back is still better than the best white running back. it's simply not true. there are several white running backs better than the backup running back on some teams, but they were never allowed to play. the NFL position is clear: no white running backs please, but at the same time, let's make a rule forcing teams to hire black head coaches.

all 32 kickers and all 32 punters are white, but it's because black players are not interested in kicking or punting. find me the good black NCAA kicker who wasn't allowed to play in the NFL? the reverse is not true. there are good white NCAA running backs, but they just aren't handed the rock once they get to the pros. bulk up white guy, you're gonna block for a slower, less athletic scrub.

Xenophon Hendrix said...

I've never had more than a minor interest in sports, but I have wondered what the main component or components of athleticism happen to be that enable some persons to be multi-sport stars at a high level of competition. Is it lots of white, fast-twitch muscle fiber? Fast-twitch fiber plus unusual coordination? Something else?

Anonymous said...

Hey Sailer when are we going to get some ground zero reporting and analysis of the California crisis? Do you sit inside your house and pretend it isn't happening? Prefer not to think about it?

You ought to do a "basic services watch" and a countdown as each state and local government service is interrupted then becomes intermittent and then disappears.

Truth said...

"when in reality it was the crap black linemen on the steelers who could not block anybody, giving roethlisberger approximately 1.54789 seconds to drop back before the defense was on him...the only time the steelers can move the ball is in the 2 minute drill when big ben is throwing on almost every down...the steelers had a positively pathetic 60 yards rushing in the superbowl against the cardinals, the worst rush defense in the NFL."


Wow, imagine if they hadn't just WON THE FUCKING SUPERBOWL!

"Off topic, but Fla State Seminole DB Myron Rolle was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship. I wonder how he would do on the Wonderlic?"

Wwll, I don't know, he did earn a 3.75 in Physiology an earn his Masters in 3 years while playing all-american football; I don't know, 6...7?

green mamba said...

Steve, what did you think of the Boss's halftime show? I was pretty happy with it myself, glad that he played full-length versions of his good, old stuff rather than doing a medley of his more recent, mediocre stuff.

green mamba said...

FWIW, Roethlisberger is good, but I'm heartbroken that the underdog Cardinals, led by the magical Kurt Warner and the peerless Larry Fitzgerald, didn't win. It was great game, though.

Anonymous said...

a local college, Miami of Ohio, which wasn't known as football powerhouse until he arrived

Maybe not a player's powerhouse, but good God, Steve, the place has hatched some of the greatest coaching talent football has ever seen: Ara Parseghian, John Harbaugh, Weeb Ewbank, Paul Brown, Sid Gillman and both Bo Schembechler and Woody Hayes!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cradle_of_Coaches
If the frosty, hard high school fields of upstate NY, Pennsylvania and Ohio represented the nursery of most of the Golden Age playing talent in the mid 20th century, Miami of Ohio was like its grammar school.

Anonymous said...

Both quarterbacks played great under extreme pressure in the 4th quarter. But Roethlisberger was legendary. The Cardinals defensive line was swarming all around him on several key plays. It was an amazing pressure performance.

Roethlisberger's size and strength prevented at least two sacks or fumbles at the end. That violent pump fake under pressure which led to the huge completion on the final drive was insane. That was one of the most devastating pump fake actions since I don't know when. Not only the fake but the quick release after he pulled the ball back in. Hardly anyone can pull that off. On the replay that NBC showed from the camera perspective of a player in the secondary that pump fake was brutal even in slow motion!

ps I don't like the Steelers.

Danindc said...

Steve- do yourself a favor- don't look into Roethlesberger's background anymore and don't talk to acquaintances who know him, just don't

also, no one should look into what Myron Rolle really studied at FSU- just don't- you saw all those ESPN features on the kid- isn't that enough?

Danindc said...

Jody, completely disagree with your ideas that whites don't get a chance to play rb in the NFL....it's a win at all costs league and coaches/scouts/gm's don't have the time to be involved in some nefarious plot against the Craig James' of the world

Lucius Vorenus said...

Steve Sailer: The Sideline Dad has become as ubiquitous as the Stage Mom.

There is nothing new under the sun - what you are seeing here is precisely what Leopold Mozart did with Wolfgang Amadeus and what Johann van Beethoven did with Ludwig [and, more recently, what Adah Tasker Tukey did with John and what Florence Greig Gould did with Glenn, etc etc etc].

PS: If you want to go waayyy back in history, Aëtius's father, Flavius Gaudentius, and Attila's father, Mundzuk, entered into an absolutely bizarre "exchange student" program, wherein Aëtius was sent to live among the Huns, and Attila was sent to live among the Romans.

For those who don't know, Aëtius & Attila would grow up to face off in the most important military confrontation in all of recorded human history.

Anonymous said...

Steve, you're probably remembering the "Chip Hilton" book series.

Anonymous said...

the steelers surrendered around 53 sacks this season. this is the most by any team to ever win the superbowl.

ben roethlisberger won the superbowl for the steelers despite the slow, unathletic backup linemen his team is using. not the other way around. he does it in the same way john elway did it, getting weak teams to the superbowl 3 times in the 80s. anybody who thinks otherwise is a classic, modern american sports fan who loves to bash white quarterbacks because they are white and not "afletes". like the US sports media, spreading the idea that big ben is "holding the ball too long! don't you know you're supposed to throw in 0.75 seconds?!" and never once bashing the black slugs playing offensive line.

if the steelers had tom brady or peyton manning, they would not have made it to the superbowl. those guys can't scramble and would be taking 10 sacks a game.

again, how many yards did willie parker rush for under bruce arians' new "no fullbacks, no good linemen, no scoring touchdowns when we're on the the 1 yard line" scheme? was that steelers football, or did big ben completely bail out the team every time? where were all the 180 yard, clock killing, ball control rushing games from the steelers? 60 yards rushing in the superbowl for the steelers? that's classic steelers football?

jody said...

danindc

i'm sure you disagree, as all americans have been conditioned for about 15 years now to believe the NFL's big lie that "the best players are on the field". the best players generally play in MLB, NBA, and NHL play. but not in the NFL. is NFL is not an international sport, is under no pressure by international players and teams, and is fully in the grip of the modern american black supremacy movement. the NFL wants all the players to be black, but the quarterback position is stubbornly refusing to comply. there weren't enough black coaches for the NFL's taste, so it adopted a rule to force that to happen. when the NFL is running things, like on the NFL network, everything is majority black. most analysts on the NFL network are black. really, blacks are also far superior sports casters?

the discrimination starts in high school now, where good white players are often ignored in favor of worse black players "with potential", and this intensifies at each higher level. white players are still, barely, allowed to play running back in the NCAA game, but by the time they get to the NFL, it's fullback or out of football, white guy. who cares if you were bigger, faster, stronger, and more productive in NCAA ball? YOU ARE WHITE, YOU BLOCK NOW.

today, even white quarterbacks are being greatly downplayed. tim tebow can't do better than vince young or tarvaris jackson? he should be a fullback? silly, silly black supremist NFL garbage.

even worse is the idea that every team is trying equally hard to win. how any sports fans could, by their late 20s, actually believe that is beyond me. several owners in every major sport are not even trying to win, only trying to turn a profit. the owner of the arizona cardinals accidentally got the superbowl. if you actually think bill bidwell has been trying to win as hard as jerry jones for the last 20 years, you must be 12 years old.

i grew up in pittsburgh, and it's awful what the pittsburgh pirates owners are doing. it's insulting that anybody could think they're actually trying to win the world series as hard as the other teams. they simply are not, and run the team to turn a profit. nothing more.

the "win at all costs" idea is pure BS. plenty of NFL coaches are not trying to win, they're just trying to keep their jobs and get a promotion to the next higher position by taking as few risks as possible. the NFL is the most conservative, "take the least amount of risk possible" league in america. who is going to get fired for having an all black team if the team fails?

do you honestly believe this stuff, danindc? that every single one of the 64 jobs in a competitive field could go to the same race? please cite other examples of a similar labor market.

Danindc said...

Jody- Yes, I think 64 running back jobs could all go to blacks- Why would the last 64 100 meter Olympic finalists all be black...no coach determines who gets into those. What about cornerback- is there a plot against whites at that position as well? Jason Sehorn and Brian Davis are the last two.

you ask "find me the good black NCAA kicker who wasn't allowed to play in the NFL?"

Can you name a great cornerbacks or running back that was denied a chance to succeed?

I think the white victimization card is pathetic much like I think affirmative action is unnecessary.

Anonymous said...

Ehh, he lauds Palin, and her taking six years and five different universities just to graduate college. I wonder how Sailer would feel if that was the Obamas biography. Can you imagine the gnashing of teeth, and the outrage?

Instead, we get an idiot who got by on her looks and her tribe of stupid kids, and she has a "lust for life". The Obamas at least played by the rules, went to good schools, managed to graduate on time, and get decent jobs. If Michelle Obama was a Princeton legacy, and that is why she got in, why do we care. Do we care about other people who got in as legacies? Especially since she isn't even running for office?

patrick said...

An outstanding high school white runningback usually gets switched to Linebacker, fullback, or safety once at college. There are plenty of white guys that can run the ball (Mike Alstott, Blake Ezor, Tommy Vardell).

College and pro teams are not looking for the grind-it-out type of back like John Riggins or Mike Alstott. They seek the elusive and shifty backs, which usually are black.

Put it this way, if Brian Urlacher were switched to RB and given the ball 25 times per game behind a decent O-Line, he would probably excel due to his speed, size, and hardness (balls). But Urlacher (who played safety and returned puints in college) gets made into a linebacker in part because he is white.

Anonymous said...

In Britain there was a time when some professional footballers (proper football ie soccer!) would play professional cricket in the off-season.

Or vice-versa.

The last one I can name would be Ian Botham who was a top cricket player but also played football at one point.

Truth said...

"But Urlacher (who played safety and returned puints in college) gets made into a linebacker in part because he is white."

your'e not totally wrong, but you're not right either, Urlacher played LB in college (I've lived in New Mexico half my life, including now.) I believe he was recruited as a safety, but then he grew. At 6-5 he is very tall to be a running back, as a matter of fact, he would be the tallest in the NFL, if not NFL history. This would lead to more low hits and probably knee injuries...if, he had the elusiveness to begin with, he was never anything special as a returner.

The reason Urlacher plays linebacker is probably the reason Ray Lewis, Lawrence Taylor, Mike Singeltary, etc...etc. do; because that is what their combination of skills make them best at.

dave in boca said...

Big Ben looked like Paul Bunyan pretending to be Fran Tarkenton because of an O-line that was average & a couple of receivers who are just better than average. Let's face it, Ben is a true all-round athlete in the Q-back position---if he could run a little faster, he'd be one of the best ever.

Plus, he kept praising his O-line after the game, just like every other QB. Gotta keep them happy & as long as he wears a helmet on his Harley, he'll be around for a good while longer.

BradG said...

Does Peyton Hillis of the Broncos count as a white RB?

(I'm Australian and only have a casual interest in the NFL so excuse any ignorance)

Svigor said...

This would lead to more low hits and probably knee injuries

A lot of racial iconoclasts overlook black bone density, maybe? Just wondering out loud, since they don't ever mention it and it would seem like the sort of thing that would give boxers and running backs a big edge.

One thing's for sure, if coaches are discriminating against whites in football there'll be no hue and cry.

Danindc said...

Urlacher at Rb is the dumbest thing I've ever heard....and if you can only come up with Blake Ezor, well then point made

patrick said...

Urlacher's height at 6'5 may not make him an ideal RB. However, Brandon Jacobs of the NY Giants is listed at 6'4 265, very similiar to Urlacher's stature.

Zach Thomas may be a better example. He was a standout RB in high school. I'd argue the same about Thomas, if given a decent line, 25 carries per game, and he would be a very good back like John Riggins (Hall of Famer).

But whitey does not get to carry the ball any longer. BTW, Blake Ezor was a stud on a very good Mich State team. Maybe you did not see him play?

DAJ said...

But Urlacher (who played safety and returned puints in college) gets made into a linebacker [instead of a running back] in part because he is white.

How many black college safeties become running backs in the NFL?

DAJ said...

Put it this way, if Brian Urlacher were switched to RB and given the ball 25 times per game behind a decent O-Line, he would probably excel due to his speed, size, and hardness (balls).

If so, could not the same be said about many of the best black NFL linebackers if they were put in a similar circumstance?

Danindc said...

i remember ezor very well- he was a good college rb who didn't make it in the pros and not bc they wantedhim to play midde lb- he just wasn't good enough- like all the others...btw Riggins still holds the 60 meter sprint record for high schoolers in ansas the man was a freak of nature- watch how he pulled away from the dbs in the super bowl 17 long run