The Roethlisberger redemption tour continues 

A little of this, and a lot of that ...

- Just six days from a showdown with Aaron Rodgers in Dallas, the Ben Roethlisberger redemption tour marches on, as the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback gains new fans and admirers with each passing day.

This is the same treatment Michael Vick received after a few MVP-like performances for the Eagles in the regular season, and it’s enough to ask sports fans if there’s any disease at all that winning won’t cure.

If a convicted animal torturer and a suspended player accused of multiple sexual assaults can win back the fans by throwing a few touchdowns and winning some big games, one has to wonder how O.J. Simpson, Rae Carruth or Lawrence Phillips would be received if given a chance to strap their helmets on in today’s NFL.

- As for the Super Bowl matchup itself, the game should be an instant classic. Two of the most storied franchises in history will square off with nine Super Bowl wins among 12 appearances between them.

If the Steelers’ defense has any vulnerability at all, it’s at the cornerback position, and Rodgers has some of the best receivers in the game with which to exploit them. One piece of bad news for the Packers, however: Pittsburgh is here without its all-world safety, Troy Polamalu, making a single huge play in the 2011 playoffs. That will not last. Steelers 36, Packers 31.

- It’s not something they talk about at staff meetings, but executives at the Golf Channel are privately worried about what liability they may face for airing the latest season of “The Haney Project” featuring swing coach Hank Haney and his new protégé, Rush Limbaugh. Left-wing bloggers, along with copy editors at MSNBC, have already determined that the next lunatic who stabs someone will have been influenced by Limbaugh’s “vitriolic” slice to the right with his short irons.

- Speaking of swings, Tiger Woods’ underwhelming performance at his season opener this weekend at Torrey Pines has done nothing to inspire confidence that he’s ready to return to the form that once dominated the PGA Tour.

Perhaps he could borrow some cash from Elin Nordegren to buy a couple more sessions from Haney.

- With pitchers and catchers just a fortnight away from reporting, what’s the most exciting thing about the upcoming MLB season? The Giants beginning the defense of their World Championship? No. The revitalized A’s returning to prominence in the AL West? Sorry.

For me, the best part is that this is the first year in what seems like decades that the Yankees will report to Tampa, Fla., without trotting out the biggest fish in the offseason free agency pond. Congrats again, Philly, on foiling the Evil Empire.

- Speaking of the Empire, how about Yankees’ president Randy Levine on the Texas Rangers and CEO Chuck Greenberg: “If he really wants to impress us, then he can get the Rangers off of welfare and show how they can be revenue-sharing payers, rather than recipients for three years in row,” Levine belched.

Hey, Randy: If you really want to impress the rest of us, spend a few years as president of a club that doesn’t have billions in revenue generated from the YES Network, and show us how successful you are. Until then, keep trying to figure out how the wealthiest franchise in the history of team sports managed to lose the AL flag to a team eating government cheese.

- A final thought on Bears quarterback Jay Cutler: Perhaps Maurice Jones-Drew, Darnell Dockett, Mark Schlereth and Deion Sanders don’t have the right to question Cutler’s toughness, or his willingness to play through pain to help his team win. On the other hand, Jay: Kerri Strug is on line two. She’d like a word with you.

Bob Frantz is a freelance journalist and regular contributor to The Examiner. E-mail him at bfrantz@sfexaminer.com.

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