Ben Roethlisberger: NFL Wants to Protect its Star Quarterbacks
The NFL is a multi-billion dollar business and its star players are some of its greatest assets. After Tom Brady was injured the first week of the 2008 season and ended up missing the entire year, the league made changes to its rules to protect quarterbacks from late hits. Some quarterbacks appear to be favored by the protection rules more than others.
Michael Vick complained earlier in the season that he doesn’t get enough calls from the refs. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t appear to get as many calls as say, Tom Brady, but he’s not complaining.
“I’ve probably thought about [not getting as many calls] behind closed doors, but it is what it is,” Big Ben said during an interview on Jim Rome is Burning Wednesday. “I’m not going to complain about it. I’m not going to throw my hands up when I get hit or if I get a call or don’t get a call. The first time they’ll throw a flag when a guy’s just holding onto me, and I know that I can break the tackle. For me, it’s not worth complaining. I just go out and play the game.”
Asked why some quarterbacks get more calls than others, Roethlisberger offered the following explanation.
“I think, in part, because the league doesn’t want certain games to be played without certain quarterbacks. Who’s going to watch, and this is no offense to any of the other Patriots, but who’s going to watch the Patriots without Tom Brady? And the Saints without Drew Brees? That’s just the way it is.
“They want to protect those guys because they’re the marquee guys in the league,” Roethlisberger said. “They don’t want them to get hurt.”
Roethlisberger doesn’t believe the NFL has deliberate conversations on the matter, but that the referees already know who the marquee players are that need to be protected.
“Ratings and people want to watch those guys play,” he acknowledged.
It’s no secret that the NFL wants to protect its star quarterbacks. What Roethlisberger said is completely accurate. Far less people want to watch Colts games this year now that Curtis Painter is their quarterback instead of Peyton Manning. Fans want to see high-quality, entertaining football, not quarterbacks who struggle to score points. But that doesn’t mean certain players should receive special treatment; all penalties should be called equally.
And if you’re wondering why Roethlisberger might not get as many calls as other quarterbacks, it’s probably due to two reasons. One, he may be a victim of his toughness; being able to absorb punishing hints might tell referees that he needs less protection. Secondly, his multiple sexual assault allegations have kept him from being considered one of the league’s darlings.