by Alex Poletti
Photo by Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
A man later identified as injured Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was tackled and detained outside of Heinz Field on Saturday after being mistaken by security as a drunk, roaming mall santa. The situation was quickly cleared up, and no charges were pressed against the security guard, as it was considered an objectively reasonable mistake.
“I was standing outside when this plump man with a large beard started sauntering on over,” Marcus Watson, the security guard involved in the encounter, recalls. “I told him to stop where he was and that he wasn’t allowed any further. He started screaming, “Do you know who I am!?” at which time I had no choice but to detain him. It wasn’t until he tried to throw a bottle at me that I knew it was Big Ben—I haven’t seen a throw that lazy since he went down in week two.”
Watson could not be faulted in this encounter; given the time of year, men with Roethlisberger’s facial hair and stature are a dime a dozen, and it would be more unusual if a Yinzer Santa wasn’t shitfaced seven ways to Sunday. The cold weather gave the Pro Bowl quarterback’s cheeks and nose a jolly red tint, which only added to the illusion.
“I still can’t believe he didn’t realize it was me,” the 2004 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year says. “I was acting as I always do: belligerent, indignant and drunk. How could he get me confused with any other citizen of Pittsburgh?”
With the season on the line following an abysmal loss to the New York Jets, the Steelers enter a must-win game against the first-seed Baltimore Ravens to clinch a playoff berth. This looks very unlikely, given the strength of the Ravens defense and a quarterback duo less efficient than the “Rise of Skywalker” screenwriting duo of Chris Terrio and J.J. Abrams.
That’s where Roethlisberger enters. Despite still being listed on the injury reserve, Roethlisberger was ready to come back and lead his squad to the victory. However, he made this decision drunk and alone, so Watson had no reason to believe the Pittsburgh Captain would arrive for practice on Saturday.
“Of course I’m a Steelers fan, but I know we need a Christmas miracle to upset the Ravens,” the security guard of five years continues. “I just didn’t realize the Christmas miracle would come in a quarterback who has consumed more cookies in the past few months than Santa Claus himself.”