PITTSBURGH (93.7 THE FAN) — It’s really difficult to feel good about anything coming out of the Steelers’ victory in Cincinnati on Monday night.
After all, any night that ends with a 25-year-old lying in a hospital bed trying to regain feeling in his legs is a terrible one. A victory on the scoreboard that keeps the Steelers No. 1 in the AFC Playoff race doesn’t salve the emotional wounds of fearing for a young man’s independence and livelihood.
If there’s one thing to feel good about though, it’s that even in the stark, brutal world of professional football – “AFC North football,” to be more specific, as Ben Roethlisberger was after the game – the universe can still mete out its own cosmic justice.
Vontaze Burfict got what was coming to him.
After years of purposefully injuring opponents, celebrating over their prone bodies, spitting in fellow union members’ faces, kicking people in the head, causing brain injuries – and accusing the injured of “faking it,” – and all the while celebrating the image he’d built of himself as some football bad boy (until it got him ejected from a game – then it was the officials’ fault, don’t ya know?), Burfict finally received his comeuppance.
His chickens came home to roost.
His just desserts were served – and cold.
By a kid who just got his driver’s license, is barely old enough to drink, but has already cemented a legacy in Steelers history by simply punching the bully in the mouth; or more accurately, blocking him in to next week.
“Karma!” Antonio Brown yelled as rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster stood at his locker trying to explain to the media what he’d done to Burfict.
“Disgusting and disturbing,” described Monday Night Football color analyst Jon Gruden.
This from a guy, who along with his play-by-play partner Sean McDonough, sang the praises of Burfict as if he were on the streets of Calcutta earlier that morning curing the blind and healing lepers.
Let’s be clear: Vontaze Burfict is a bad person. Kicking others in the head, spitting in their face, trying to injure them – and celebrating when successful – are all evidence of this.
Sometimes, bad people get what’s coming to them. Smith-Schuster’s thundering block is evidence of that.
Until the health of Ryan Shazier is made clear (and as of Monday morning, he was reportedly regaining feeling in his lower extremities), and until the NFL stops celebrating violence out of one side of its mouth while talking up “player safety” out of its more disingenuous end, let’s take solace and try to feel good about something coming out of last night’s game.
Vontaze Burfict got what he deserved.