"Two years ago in the snow in Pittsburgh, he threw two touchdowns in the fourth period to win by a single point. That night he checked into the hospital with a fractured jaw. There wasn't a pass he couldn't throw, a team he couldn't beat, a pain he couldn't endure, or a woman he couldn't fuck, given the right time and combination of pieces."—Peter Gent, North Dallas Forty
Near the beginning of the most brutal game of the most overtly violent season in the history of the National Football League, Ben Roethlisberger broke his nose. You could see it happen, because after being sacked by an angry swarm of Baltimore Raven defenders, Roethlisberger tore off his helmet and a rivulet of blood cascaded from his crooked proboscis. Weaving toward the sideline, a towel pressed to his nostrils, Roethlisberger looked a little like DeNiro playing Jake LaMotta, punch drunk and vacant, limping along on a badly injured foot that appeared to have been mummified by the trainers before the game.
Roethlisberger came back into the game, of course, because this is what Ben Roethlisberger does. If Tom Brady is the epitome of quarterbacking grace, and Peyton Manning is the prototype of quarterbacking subtetly and misdirection, Roethlisberger is the quarterback who epitomizes the brutality of his chosen profession.