What’s at Stake in this SuperBowl? Merely the Existence of a Just God
February 6, 2011
I’m an agnostic. Let me say that right up front. I don’t believe in God, and even if I did, I would hope that he or she had more important things to do than watch a football game.
But if the Pittsburgh Steelers win this Super Bowl, that will be the final piece of evidence I need to conclude that there is no just and loving God in the heavens.
I know, there are lots of Steelers fans out there. Forgive me. I know as well that football teams are big — 53 men on a roster. This game isn’t about just one person. Except that it is. Super Bowls almost always wind up being about the quarterbacks and once again the Steelers are led by Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger, for those of you who don’t know, missed the first four games of the season due to a league suspension for personal misconduct. It seems Big Ben, as he is sometimes known (I assume much to the chagrin of British citizens everywhere), doesn’t really understand that when a woman says “no,” this isn’t some code meaning she actually wants to be sexually assaulted.
Twice Roethlisberger has been implicated in sexual assaults, once in 2008 and once in 2010. In neither case were charges actually fined, but the 2010 accusations were compelling enough to make the NFL bench one of its star players even without legal action — a telling indictment. Already there is talk in the media of how this game gives Big Ben a chance to redeem himself, and that’s enough to make me want to throw up. In what way does a Steeler win offer redemption to the women Roethlisberger has brutalized? If a season that began with Roethlisberger sitting out games because of his repulsive behavior and ends with him holding the Lombardi Trophy, it will simply reinforce the notion that, in America, if you’re rich enough and famous enough and good enough at those things our culture values, like throwing a football, it doesn’t matter what other crap you do in your spare time.
Playing Luke Skywalker to Roethlisberger’s Darth Vader is Green Bay Packers star QB, Aaron Rogers. Rogers, I’m sure, is no saint. But he is, from all appearances, a decent guy, one who doesn’t hurt people in his spare time. It would be nice to see him win the game, if for no other reason than because it would mean that Roethlisberger had lost.
I doubt that will happen, though. The Steelers are a very good team, particularly on defense. And though I happen to think that as a player Roethlisberger is vastly overrated, the Steelers probably have enough offensive firepower to ride their defense to a win. Which will really be too bad, because while I am an agnostic, it’s nice to wonder now and then if there might be a divine being, merciful and just, watching over us.