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stlrz d
12-29-2009, 11:14 PM
Roethlisberger saves the day for youth football team

By John Santa, Daily News Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ben Roethlisberger has made a career of making game and season-saving plays since being drafted by the Steelers in 2004.

In his six NFL seasons, Roethlisberger has brought the Steelers back to win a game in which they either trailed or were tied during the fourth quarter or overtime 19 times.

Now he's taken his act on the road.

Rather than making a big-time, game-saving play on the NFL gridiron, Roethlisberger stepped up to save the day for the Thomas Jefferson Youth Football League's 10-year-old team.

With Roethlisberger's charitable contribution of $18,000 to cover hotel rooms, airfare and game jerseys, the Jaguars will be able to play in the Big Dog Bowl sponsored by rapper Snoop Dogg.

If the Steelers quarterback had not stepped up, the team would have been unable to afford the cross-country trip to play in the tournament, TJ youth football coach Jim Nassida said.

"The way that I worded it and put it into perspective for our boys is that you root for your sports heroes and never did you think they'd be rooting for you," the coach said. "It's one of the greatest things an athlete can do."

The Big Dog Bowl is a youth football tournament comprised of 26 league champions from across the nation. Many of the teams are sponsored by current and retired NFL teams.

"Their coach contacted my agent and told me they weren't going to be able to play in this tournament," Roethlisberger said. "They lost something like two or three games over the past couple years. It was unfortunate. I know if I was a kid playing and didn't have the opportunity to do that that I would look forward to someone being able to help."

TJ, which won the Suburban Youth Football League Super Bowl over West Allegheny, qualified for the tournament with an 11-0 record. The Jaguars will open play in the Big Dog Bowl against a team from Glendale, Ariz., Jan. 9 at Redlands High School in Redlands, Calif., with kick-off set for 2 p.m.

"It's great what Snoop is doing for youth football," Nassida said. "We appreciate that here in Western Pennsylvania where football is king. You can't have a national championship without a team from the East Coast."

And Nassida's team just may be the perfect representative for the eastern seaboard.

This season, the young Jaguars accumulated more than 4,000 yards in 11 games. Defensively, TJ allowed five touchdowns all season.

Over the past two years, the Jags have thrown 50 touchdown passes.

Even with all of his team's success, however, it is still hard for Nassida to believe his team actually will get the chance to play in the Big Dog Bowl.

"It was actually almost intimidating at first," said Nassida, who is assisted by coaches Don German, Rick Zandier and Tom Vigna. "Not the fact of the players on the other team ... but representing the quarterback of the Super Bowl-winning team."

But, the pressure has not gotten to the young Jaguars.

"These guys are a super group of guys," Nassida said.

Aside from the help from Roethlisberger, TJ also has received contributions and support from various people and institutions around the area.

Green Tree Sports Complex has donated time for the 24-player team to practice, while Allegheny County Controller Mark Flaherty donated $550 for the team's registration.

The Jaguars also may be receiving new uniforms donated by Reebok.

Still, everything goes back to the enormous first step taken by one of the finest professional quarterbacks in the NFL.

"I just really want to thank Ben Roethlisberger for doing this for the team and providing these kids with the memory of a lifetime," said Dominic Serapiglia, who helped to organize the event and also has a son playing on the team. "If Ben Roethlisberger wouldn't have stepped up to the table for the kids, the kids wouldn't be going."

The pleasure, though, has belonged to the Steelers signal caller who has become the team's biggest fan.

"I actually got to see Snoop last weekend and I started talking trash to him already," Roethlisberger said. "I just wanted to help out some kids who just love the game."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/dailyne ... 59835.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/dailynewsmckeesport/s_659835.html)

Wolfhound45
12-29-2009, 11:20 PM
What a jerk! Cut him!

:P

Ozey74
12-29-2009, 11:29 PM
Ben should be spending all of his free time this week watching game film of the Dolphins. This stupid youth football team is cutting into Bens prep time for Sunday! Say hello to 8-8!


:P

NJ-STEELER
12-29-2009, 11:39 PM
"red light" ben

bostonsteeler
12-30-2009, 01:12 AM
Ben does a lot of this stuff, but its the stupid McNultys who get reported big time across all media.

Its not just Ben -- 8 out of 10 NFL players are good to very good people. Many of them run charity organizations, sponsor schools, sports teams, college scholarships, what have you. When Katrina happened, they rallied around like nobody's business.

Yet the media is only interested in the one-off weird behaviors than in the good stuff..

Mister Pittsburgh
12-30-2009, 08:36 AM
Go TJ Youth Football! Represent the East Coast! :Clap

And, way to step up Ben!

NorthCoast
12-30-2009, 10:57 AM
Ben does a lot of this stuff, but its the stupid McNultys who get reported big time across all media.

Its not just Ben -- 8 out of 10 NFL players are good to very good people. Many of them run charity organizations, sponsor schools, sports teams, college scholarships, what have you. When Katrina happened, they rallied around like nobody's business.

Yet the media is only interested in the one-off weird behaviors than in the good stuff..

Not to down play what they do, but this is as it should be. You make $100 million it behooves you to give some back in return. Would like to read more of these news items instead of the wife-beatings and whore affairs...

RuthlessBurgher
12-30-2009, 11:02 AM
When these kids spend time with Snoop and come back as foul-mouthed pot smokers, it will be all Ben's fault.

:stirpot :lol:

Sugar
12-30-2009, 11:32 AM
Great to read! It doesn't matter if you make $20 or $200 Million, you don't "owe" anybody anything unless they are on your payroll. It's good to see a report of generosity by someone that's been blessed as opposed to the other types of reports we constantly see.

SteelCzar76
12-30-2009, 11:35 AM
Soooo,.....rightfully paying forward the blessing of being able to play in the NFL to children automatically places one not only in the same class as a QB as greats like Marino, but also with the best of ones peers ? (Manning, Brady, Brees and Rivers)

:o :lol:

Jooser
12-30-2009, 11:40 AM
Eh, he prolly just feels guilty about that whole Lake Tahoe incident....

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p262/jooser73/doggy.gif

feltdizz
12-30-2009, 11:52 AM
Great to read! It doesn't matter if you make $20 or $200 Million, you don't "owe" anybody anything unless they are on your payroll. It's good to see a report of generosity by someone that's been blessed as opposed to the other types of reports we constantly see.
I disagree... Unless a player coaches himself from birth I think they should pay it forward. I don't recall any Pop Warner coach getting rich teaching kids how to play the game. Any professional athlete getting a check is not getting it from an owners personal bank account and most play in tax friendly stadiums... Kids and parents make this possible. If the stadiums are empty tomorrow... The money stops. They owe the public much gratitude for their salaries

They get to write it off on taxes too! Ben does a lot and invests time and money.. plenty do and like you said... These should be the headlines not the 5% who are cutting up.

Shoe
12-30-2009, 01:41 PM
Great to read! It doesn't matter if you make $20 or $200 Million, you don't "owe" anybody anything unless they are on your payroll. It's good to see a report of generosity by someone that's been blessed as opposed to the other types of reports we constantly see.
I disagree... Unless a player coaches himself from birth I think they should pay it forward.

I agree with that--pay it forward.
A person can pay it forward in innumerable ways. Just being THAT person who flashes a smile to everyone they meet, is a form of paying it forward even. It's about uplifting your fellow man, and in turn they are compelled to help someone else, etc. I think professional athletes, they don't "owe" anything... but they should feel that obligation if that makes sense. That's gratitude. That's what paying it forward does.