Ben Roethlinsberger has been accused of rape by two woman, has a reputation for sexual harassment and was suspended for four games this season for his atrocious behavior (tough punishment), but as with Michael Vick, the only thing that really matters to most of his team's fans is whether or not he can score touchdowns. When he does that, whatever harm he has caused to others is forgotten.

by Jim Harris

Pennsylvania’s most famous groundhog has once again been ceremoniously wrenched from his slumber, and his prediction for the Super Bowl game this coming Sunday is as follows (drum roll, please)… Pittsburgh 41, Green Bay 17.

Bet the farm on it. Punxsutawney Phil may be biased in this case, but he knows football far better than I do. Of course, even the cheerleaders know football far better than I do. In fact, I hear that the teams’ star players sometimes send pictures of themselves to the
cheerleaders (out of uniform, literally). And who says professional athletes aren’t nice?

My entire involvement with football, which lasted all of five minutes, occurred in 1958 when I tried out for the Holy Cross Grade School team in Mt. Airy. I was wearing a helmet that was three sizes too small (I have a huge head), and on the very first play from scrimmage, I got knocked unconscious.

When I came to, the coach was standing over me, yelling, “What the hell were you doing in the backfield? You’re supposed to be a lineman!” I had no idea what he was talking about (I still don’t), but his deep concern for my welfare contributed greatly to my decision to pry off the helmet, go home and swear off competitive sports for life.

But enough about me … oh no, wait, there’s more. I’m having another Super Bowl party, and YOU’RE ALL INVITED! (Wild applause). I’ve already put out preemptive traffic cones on my street to ensure ample parking for guests.

Jim Harris’ dog, Casey, a 6-year-old Chihuahua/Jack Russell Terrier, is a passionate Pittsburgh fan. That’s because Steelers’ quarterback, Ben Roethlinsberger, and Casey are both dogs. (Photo by Jim Harris)

In the spirit of full disclosure, I must say up front that my over-the-air TV reception is less than perfect. The picture freezes whenever it rains, my dog barks or a plane flies overhead. But not to worry. If this should happen during the game, I have action photos of all the players that we can pass around (although they’re probably not as dynamic as the ones that the cheerleaders have received). I have also subscribed to a service that sends me text-message updates every time the score changes. That’s about as high-tech as I get.

But while I may not have FiOS, I do have Fritos and a number of other quality American-made snack foods as well. There will also be witty badinage (no sports clichés); a live, free-roaming petting zoo and another installment of my especially designed alternative halftime entertainment for cultural connoisseurs. Last year we did Kabuki Theater, which everyone seemed to enjoy.

This year, my guests and I will head over to the Wawa, where we will pretend to be getting coffee, then suddenly start playing “Carmina Burana” on kazoos. Just like one of those artistic flash mobs that have become so popular of late. (Please, keep it under your hat.) Then it’s back to my place for the exciting second half of the game.

And just in case some National Football League executives are reading this article (we all know that they subscribe to the Local), I’d like to propose a few minor additions to the players’ uniforms that I think could really spice things up: 1) Jockstraps outside instead of inside their uniforms. 2) Sidecars carrying their agents.

Picture this: fourth quarter, tie score, the ball-carrier breaks free, opponents bouncing off of his thick arrest record, nothing but 80 yards of open field between himself and the goal line. His agent phones the team owner: “We’re at the 50-yard line; how about renegotiating that contract? I’d hate to see a fumble happen here. What’s it gonna be — deal or no deal?” High drama.

Maybe we would all do better to run our lives like pro sports teams: “Kids, I’ve called this family conference because I have an announcement to make. Grandma’s been traded. HEY! NO CRYING!” In the end, though, sport’s greatest gift to humanity is that it provides us with a structured, socially acceptable alternative to looting and pillaging.

And just in case you didn’t know, since Philadelphia is not in the Super Bowl this year, we fans are contractually obligated to throw our support behind the second most famous city in Pennsylvania, even though their quarterback apparently enjoys assaulting women as much as throwing touchdown passes. So take a deep breath, Eagle fans, and say it with me — GO STEELERS!