Ben Roethlisberger stated earlier this week that there is no way that he is missing the birth of his first child for a game if it happens on a Sunday.
“I’m not missing the birth of my child,” Roethlisberger told Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “There’s no chance. I know some fans probably don’t want to hear that, but there’s no chance.”
See. I told you he said it. You probably didn’t believe me.
Well, I thought, this is exactly something that I can prove empirically, and something about which I’m a bit of an expert. Last year, I broke down the value of a pizza relative to Reggie Bush. Now, I’ve eaten more pizzas in my lifetime than I’ve had children, but it’s close. So I thought to myself, “Self, there has to be proof about how appropriate this statement is.”
Let’s start with the Big Ben missing a game part of the equation, regardless of the reason. A few years ago, Doug Drinen looked at what a starting quarterback was worth, and the answer was about 2.3 points per game. We can also look at Roethlisberger specifically in Pittsburgh. Since 2004, he has missed 15 starts, almost a full season. Pittsburgh has scored 21.9 points in games his replacements started, and 22.9 in games he started. That’s a difference of one point.
If that seems low to you, well, just realize that you probably overestimate the worth of a starting quarterback or any one player on the outcome of one particular game. You want to say 3, you want to say 1, it doesn’t matter.
At the other end, the birth of your child is priceless. I’ve seen lots of extra points and none of them are worth missing that. I’ve seen plenty of field goals too. Not even close. Touchdowns? You have to realize that most touchdowns are not really worth 7 points. I know, I know, we are getting a bit geeky here, but you have to consider the expected points from a particular point on the field. That one yard touchdown run? Definitely not worth the birth of a child. A 99-yard pass like Brady to Welker last year? Now, we are (wife walks in room) . . . No way, not even that.
I mean, we are talking the first child here. We are talking the empirical value of being there, seeing that first cry, watching the crud get wiped off, cutting the umbilical cord like a real man. Being in pictures holding a baby that looks like it spent several days in Jersey working on its tan. You cannot put a value on that, and if you did, it would be worth at least 12 points. Now, once you get to four? You can’t even find visual proof that you were there for the birth of what’s his name. Let’s move on, though.
All that doesn’t even take into account the negative winning at life expectancy for missing such an event. I mean, it doesn’t even have to be because of a dumb football game. Hypothetically, you could have gotten really hungry and decided to take a walk to the cafeteria for a candy bar and missed something. In such a crazy hypo, would you be reminded constantly of that? I’m guessing yes. No single reminder would have too much impact–like maybe 0.1 points per event–but the cumulative effect would add up like 2 yard runs on 3rd and 1. Not worth it, man.
So the point is this. It’s not worth somewhere between 1 and 3 points to miss something that is
worth at least 20 points in your life priceless. The math is clearly on Roethlisberger’s side here.
Of course, this is all pointless. There is no way that Roethlisberger’s doctor is letting his wife deliver on a Sunday. The doctor’s probably a Steelers fan, and if there is any chance that such an event could interrupt his afternoon football viewing, you couldn’t even get Vegas to offer odds on the doctor scheduling an induction at 7 am on Friday. It is so guaranteed it’s off the board. Those Sunday afternoons after a long week of looking at birth canals are worth at least 25 points over replacement.
[photo via US Presswire]