So, what’s the deal with Ben Roethlisberger? We all know now that he told Peter King that he played in the Super Bowl with two broken ribs, but it wasn’t anywhere to be found on the official injury report in the lead up to the game, and there hasn’t been any independent confirmation that this is true. Would Big Ben lie about broken ribs just to seem like a bigger man? ESPN.COM notes that he has “previously exaggerated or misstated injuries he supposedly suffered during his five-season career.”
PRO FOOTBALL TALK seems to have the biggest problem with all of this because, if it’s true that he had bad ribs and had in fact had an x-ray prior to the Super Bowl, it should have been on the injury report because NFL rules require teams to disclose injuries (for gamblers, of course). All Ben admitted to was having an x-ray “somewhere”, and Mike Tomlin said he “hadn’t heard” anything about an x-ray. This all was probably concocted to keep the Cardinals from going right after his ribs and forcing Byron Leftwich into the game. But the point of the injury disclosure rules are to identify which players are injured. If the Steelers deliberately misled the media and the league about Roethlisberger’s injury — even if he 100% intended to play in the game — doesn’t that break league rules?
PFT’s Mike Florio has a lot to say about the matter, and here’s a summary:
The reality, however, is that the individual teams are more concerned about competitive advantage or, more importantly, disadvantage. If, as it appears, the Steelers took pains to conceal the fact that Roethlisberger received an X-ray on his ribs and that, as Roethsliberger said, “I knew all along there was something wrong,” they did so in order to prevent the Cardinals from targeting his midsection early and often, in the hopes of knocking him out of the game.
It appears, then, that the NFL is striking the delicate balance between the integrity of the game and notions of competitive disadvantage by making the injury report an issue of availability only, not of effectiveness and/or potential for aggravation.
Thus, there’s a loophole in the injury report. A player can be injured, and his team can avoid reporting it.
And, consequently, there’s an incentive for folks inclined to place and/or accept wagers, legal or otherwise, to attempt to develop relationships aimed at getting to the truth.
The way the Steelers are reacting to this news, it’s hard to figure out if they’re trying to avoid embarrassing their QB by not calling him a liar or if they really were covering up a possibly serious injury. It begs the question, though: if the public knew that Big Ben had fractured ribs, what would the line have been? Might it have been less than, say, four? The decision to keep it under wraps may have cost Steeler bettors a bunch of cash.
In Indiana, the Pacers stunned the Cavs 96-95 in one of the more bizarre endings you’ll see. It was so contentious that it caused Cleveland coach Mike Brown to say this afterward:
“I went back and I watched the last two plays and that last call on LeBron was the worst call I’ve ever been a part of… We didn’t play particularly well. But that was a bad call that was predetermined that determined the outcome of the game. Simple as that. They can fine me for this crap. I don’t care. That was the worst call I’ve ever been part of. I’m talking from little league on up.”
The call? LeBron James was called for a phantom foul on an alley-oop pass to Danny Granger with 0.1 seconds remaining in a tie game. Granger made a free throw and the Pacers won the game. But with 0.8 remaining and the Cavs trailing by two, Granger was called for a nearly identical foul on James that enraged the Pacers and the Conseco Fieldhouse crowd. Brown implied that referee Joey Crawford deliberately called the foul on James to compensate for what he felt to be a bad call by Bernie Adams on the other end. Here’s the video:
• Antonio Margarito isn’t going to be fighting Shane Mosley again anytime soon. In fact, he isn’t going to be fighting anyone anytime soon as he’s been banned for a year by the California State Athletic Commission for using illegal hand wraps in his fight with Mosley last month.
• The final round of World Cup qualifying starts tonight, and the U.S. is attempting to resume its recent dominance of Mexico on American soil. Luckily, tonight’s game is in Ohio, so only about half the crowd should be rooting for Mexico, as opposed to the 99.7% if the game were played in California.
• Another brutal hockey attack has made its way to the internet. PUCK DADDY has this video of Oshawa Generals captain and Florida Panthers prospect James Delory slashing and attacking Nathan Moon of Kingston. Although, it should be noted that Moon gave Delory a shot first:
• Remember that Bud Light ad from the Super Bowl where a guy is thrown out of the window of a conference room because he suggests that his office give up drinking Bud Light during the work day? Well, it turns out that the creative director of the agency that created the ad actually did jump out of a window and kill himself last year, according to BNET. So maybe that wasn’t very funny after all.
• Sean Avery is now one step closer to starting a sloppy second stint with the Rangers. He’s joined the Rangers’ AHL affiliate in Hartford, but still remains under contract with the Stars.
• Hey, remember how everybody ridiculed Jose Canseco for saying that he introduced A-Rod to a steroids dealer? Uh, oops. Now Jose is saying he wants to help MLB move beyond the steroids era. And, oddly, he might actually be one of the only people who can make it happen.
• Does Danica Patrick still race cars, or does she just do this for a living now?:
• Oklahoma State basketball coach Travis Ford is sorry that he called one of his players a f***ing idiot on Saturday, says the AP. Ford might want to consult Cowboy football coach Mike Gundy about how to deal with any lingering criticism.
• GRANEY & THE PIG (whoever they are) would like everyone to boycott Kellogg’s for dropping Michael Phelps. Yeah, I’m sure a stoner boycott of cereal will go really well.
• BASEBALL PROSPECTUS has come up with its projections for the 2009 season. Oddly, the Pirates are not projected to do well. Even more oddly, the Yankees are not picked to win the AL East.
• Thankfully, all in the cricket world is well after India battered Sri Lanka by three wickets in Colombo. The hosts posted a formidable 171/4 after Tillakaratne Dilshan put up 61 runs on just 47 balls. But the partnership of Yusuf and Irfan Pathan rescued India with 59 late runs, after the visitors had limped to 115/7 and looked to be a little on the ropes. I have no idea what I just wrote.