As a St. Louis native, I went eight seasons without an NFL team. So, you can imagine how ecstatic I was, when the Rams, in their first season in St. Louis in 1995, won their first four games behind the outstanding play of quarterback Chris Miller. But Miller was knocked silly in the Bears game and was never the same again. The Rams would go on to win just three of their final 12 games that season to finish 7-9. It would prove to be Miller's last season with the Rams. St. Louis wouldn't produce another standout quarterback until former stockboy Kurt Warner emerged during the 1999 season, but that's a different story.
The point being, I was devastated when Miller got hurt. The collective hearts of St. Louisans broke, even though we knew it wasn't Miller's fault. He got hurt playing in a game, for us. I couldn't imagine how irate I would have been if Miller's injury would have come off the field as the result of a motorcycle accident.
I won't even begin to understand Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger's thought process. He just signed a 6-year, $40 Million contract in 2004. His health on the field could spell the difference between a Super Bowl Season, and a 6-10 season. What a selfish act to put the hopes of the entire city of Pittsburgh, as well as Millions of dollars of someone else's money on the line, just because it makes you "more free" to not wear a protective helmet while riding one of the most dangerous machines on the road. Of the 323 people in Texas who died in motorcycle crashes, 207 were not wearing a helmet. That's nearly 65%!
The motorcycle Roethlisberger was driving was a 2005 Suzuki Hayabusa, which has a top speed in excess of 200 miles per hour! Why it's legal to ride a motorcycle without a helmet in the first place is beyond me. But, CHOOSING to not wear a helmet while riding on something that moves faster then a Nextel Cup stock car, is just stupid. Dale Earnhardt, may he rest in peace, died while moving at 200 miles per hour, and he was not only wearing a helmet, but he was strapped into a roll cage designed specifically to save his life!
Miraculously, Roethlisberger's doctors say he will not only survive his injuries, but he will most likely play professional football again this fall. Here's one person who believes that if he even THINKS about riding on a motorcycle again until his career is over, then he should have to give back every penny he makes on the football field. We'll see how many motorcycles he can afford then...