Column: He Got Next

By Jon Gluskin

So often in sports, we hear about the “Next.” no matter who that might be. All we’ve heard since MJ retired is “Vince is the next Jordan,” “Kobe’s the next Jordan,” “LeBron’s the next Jordan,” and so on. Or “Sidney Crosby’s the next Gretzky.”

These comparisons help provide context for what defines greatness. On Sunday, we will see the evolution of “The next.”.

Ben Roethlisberger will become the next Tom Brady.

The comparisons are undeniable. It’s perfect.

Since the Jets knocked out Drew Bledsoe five seasons ago, Tom Brady has won the hearts of football fans across the nation. He’s captivated America with his three Super Bowl rings, the ice water in his veins, his swagger and GQ looks.

He’s already solidified a spot as one of the all-time great quarterbacks, despite being a sixth-round pick, and getting the job done without gaudy, Peyton Manning-like numbers.

But now it’s Big Ben’s turn.

Like Brady, Roethlisberger isn’t going to throw 35 touchdown passes a year or wow you with finesse and mobility. But like Brady, he will simply get the job done.

Since he started in Week 3 of last season after being drafted No. 11 from Miami (OH), all he’s done is win 25 regular season games and three post-season games.

He’s lost a total of four. Two have been to Brady and his Patriots. Nevertheless, that’s a career win percentage of .875. Ridiculous.

And on Sunday, when he leads the Steelers to a Super Bowl victory, he will enter Tom Brady status – he will be the new golden boy of the NFL.

For better or worse, what makes someone a legend is championship rings. It’s what separates Dan Marino from Joe Montana, Peyton Manning from Brady.

But once you get that ring, you are given elite status.

That’s all Ben needs to be Brady. Yes, I know, even if Ben gets ring No. 1, Brady will still have two more.

For the time being, though, that doesn’t matter. He will have the most recent one. Ultimately, that’s what matters in the sports world.

The six-foot-five-inch, 241-pound Roethlisberger will have no problem fitting into Brady’s shoes. Roethlisberger has the personality and grace that Brady has. It’s exactly what sports fans are quick to latch onto.

Roethlisberger’s young, composed and has an aura about him – he’s not arrogant, just confident in himself and his abilities. Plus, he’s never chewed out another teammate, done shirtless crunches on his driveway or been caught on a sex boat. So he’s obviously got a lot going for him.

It’s time for a change. If you haven’t figured out from some of my other articles, I can’t stand Brady. On a sidenote, I hope his hernia surgery goes well and he has a speedy recovery.

I don’t think he deserves all the recognition and adulation he receives. Why must he be in every commercial? Why can you not watch any professional or college football game without hearing the announcers proclaim Brady as the greatest thing since sliced bread?

This is what’s going to happen with Ben. Like Brady, he has a wonderful defense and a great coach – two of the main reasons Brady has three rings.

And every time people brag about Brady being a winner, I’ll bring up Trent Dilfer’s and Brad Johnson’s name as also having rings. Come to think of it, had the Bears beaten the Panthers, I think Rex Grossman would be a Super Bowl Champion come Sunday.

But when it comes down to it, both Brady and Roethlisberger are winners and great quarterbacks. I’d be naive to say otherwise.

So next year, I’m already bracing myself for Ben to be seen in every NFL ad, every Nike commercial, every Chunky Soup commercial and probably some credit card commercial, too.

Move over Tom Brady. Enter Ben Roethlisberger.

Now that that’s figured out, who’s the next Roethlisberger?

Jon Gluskin is a senior in Communications. He can be reached at [email protected]