John - 6/14/2006, 7:47 AM - Victims
From week three of his rookie season on, Ben Roethlisberger was undefeated. Week after week, it was like watching a heavyweight prize fighter go out and just win. Win ugly, win pretty and just win.
Then came the AFC Championship game. After years of heartbreak with born losers like Kordell Stewart and Neil O'Donnell at QB, the Steelers were poised to defeat the quasi-evil New England Patriots and advance to the Super Bowl.
Then Ben Roethlisberger did the damnedest thing a person can do: he did a Chunky Soup commercial.
Sometimes, you wonder: do Tom Brady and the guys in those Visa commercials sit there laughing at how easy this is?
The invincible Steelers, who had earlier in the season turned the quasi-evil New England Patriots into chunky soup, were exposed. Roethlisberger looked less than mortal. Interceptions. Failed drives. A sputtering comeback.
Roethlisberger continued to suffer into the 2005 season. At the tender age of 24, his knees went, a scientifically documented effect of eating Chunky Soup.
A Season Without Soup
But, Big Ben did the one thing you have to do to get beyond the curse: heel and purge.
No more soup commercials.
Slowly, by the end of the season, the Steelers recovered enough to slip in as the sixth seed in the AFC. They were the team no one wanted to face.
The Steelers made short work of the Bengals.
The next week, Roethlisberger showed the world that he truly had rehabbed completely and was now free of Chunky Soup.
Curse Be Gone!
At the end of the game against the Indianapolis Cubs, er Colts, Jerome Bettis, a man slower to recover from Chunky, fumbled the ball on the goaline of a game-clinching drive.
Chunky Soup had it's greatest opportunity ever: Roethlisberger in open space trying to tackle a defensive back running full sprint.
If the Curse had not been broken, the play call would gave gone like this:
"Roethlisber lunges. He gets caught in Nick Harper's legs. Harper breaks the tackle. He ... could ... go ... all ... the ... waaaay!"
[SILENCE FOR SEVERAL SECONDS.]
"Oh, God. Ben Roethlisberger is down. Ben's down. He's clutching his chest and spitting a mixture of blood and Chunky Soup. We're being told that Ben has a collapsed lung and it is quickly filling with Chunky Soup. Our prayers and our best wishes go out to Ben and his family..."
The Curse was gone. Nick Harper fell down, the Steelers defense held Indy to a missed field goal. The Steelers would advance, making quick work of the Denver Broncos (still reeling from the Curse) and the Seattle Sehawks (future recipients of the Curse).
I Think I'll Ride My Bike
In June 2006, Ben Roethlisberger was riding his motorcycle on his way down to the stadium.
But, he had done the most dangerous thing a motorcyclist can do: he signed an endorsement deal with Campbell's.
Chunky Soup, like the Japanese planes at Pearl Harbor, attacked.
To date, it is considered the second most heinous act by Chunky Soup, after the killing of Reggie White.
Chunk Soup sent him flying and smashed Roethlisberger's face into a windshield.
Reports say Roethlisberger had signed a Chunky Soup endorsement deal without wearing a helmet.
Steelers management was outraged.
Dan Rooney, owner, said, "I don't even go potty without wearing a helmet. He signs with Campbell's and thinks he shouldn't wear a helmet? W-T-F, man."
In his first statement after the accident, Roethlisberger was perturbed:
"I'd like to thank God I am alive ... but I can't. Kurt Warner made it clear God cannot protect you from Chunky Soup.
Roethlisberger appears to be recovering.
Hospital officials are on notice to keep all anvils and banana peels in storage, for fear that Chunky Soup may break into the hospital and attempt to finish Roethlisberger off.