Distractions, they're everywhere in life. While we may not look at them as a negative at the time they're taking place, make no mistake about it, eventually they start to take their toll.
Take Ben Roethlisberger for example. He is the quarterback of the most recent SuperBowl winning team. He is in the prime of his career. But as we have learned in the past, his distractions can have potentially tragic results.
ABOVE: Big Ben accident scene. We almost lost him that day.
In fact, if there can be a trend identified in the thus far enormously-successful career of the "Large One", it can most likely eventually be said that distractions, not anything that may happen on the gridiron, may be his biggest challenge towards reaching his self-proclaimed goal of winning five SuperBowls and becoming the most successful quarterback in Steelers history.
ABOVE: Is she a rape victim or gold-digger? On the news today, Andrea McNulty's attorney announced that he is seeking sanctions against Big Ben. Do you think that might lurk in the back of your mind, or the front?
Right now, Ben has a rape charge (albeit very shaky) hanging over his head. If that's not enough of a distraction, he recently took on the added chore of hosting "Monday Night Raw" for the WWE, an appearance that I'm sure thrilled the NFL marketing gurus in New York.
Not only did Ben fly to Wilkes Barre himself, being the great team guy that he is, he also took along all of his offensive linemen to appear. So now, instead of just one guy's focus being affected, like the swine flu, the distraction is spread to seven other guys.
Now I'm sure that there are those of you reading this who are saying, "Get a life, it was his day off." While this may be true, a day off is a day to rest, not take on the added pressure of hosting a live program in front of thousands of fans and millions of viewers. That's not rest, that pressure is like playing another game without the hits.
As if this isn't enough, Big Ben the tv celeb will be appearing on Jay Leno's sinking ship next week. When will it end?
Probably when Mike Tomlin puts his foot down, that's when. Tomlin doesn't want to appear the "killjoy" right now and start fining guys $1,500 for taking water out of a hotel room refrigerator a la Eric Mangini. But this is different.
Tomlin needs to explain to Ben that these distractions will always accompany a successful NFL quarterback. How well he manages them will, to a large measure, factor in to his success and ultimately, the team's reaching its' goals. The NFL season is difficult enough, why allow these distractions to go on now?
ABOVE: Ben can be a party animal, especially after winning his first SuperBowl. But as he now knows, being drunk, with three women hanging all over him, is a potential recipe for disaster.
While there is a fine line that must be drawn when a business starts telling a man what he can or cannot do on his day off, the NFL season is clearly different. These guys take such a beating, their bodies desparately need the time to physically relax. Besides, there are six other months of the year when games aren't being played when these appearances could be scheduled.
ABOVE: Ben gives the thums up sign after suffering a potential neck injury against the Browns.
Like a moth to a flame, Big Ben continues to be drawn into these distractions to the allure they represent. Maybe someday he'll realize that the Jay Lenos, WWEs, motorcycles, and yes, even women, can all bring him down where maybe a blitzing linebacker can't.
Then again, maybe he won't. That's where Mike Tomlin needs to comes in. He should talk to Dan Rooney about how Chuck Noll handled distractions in the 70s. He was loathe to them and constantly reminded his players that the reason they were winning was because they were a team and were focused on only one thing...winning.
ABOVE: This is the image we most like to see: Ben smiling after a good day of practice.
The Steelers have games the next two weeks against Detroit and Cleveland, two of the worst teams in the league. How they perform in these games against two inferior opponents should tell us all how focused this team really is. I hope I'm wrong, but where there's smoke, there's usually a fire somewhere. That fire could be manifesting itself today in distractions. Let's hope that Mike Tomlin pus on his firehat before the season spins out of control. This team is too good to let that happen.
ABOVE: While Tomlin needs to don a firehat, this is probably what Ben has in mind.